!!

Not Registered?

Welcome!  Please register to view all of the new posts and forum boards - some of which are hidden to guests.  After registering and gaining 10 posts you will be able to sell and buy items on our N'porium.

If you have any problems registering, then please check your spam filter before emailing us.  Hotmail users seem to find their emails in the Junk folder.


Thanks for reading,
The NGF Staff.

Author Topic: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.  (Read 10971 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline fisherman

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 503
  • Country: 00
  • Gender: Male
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2014, 04:22:54 pm »
all good tips... mine is.. 'don't expect  to  get it   right  first  time'

take  the shot  , download it onto  the computer, view it  full  screen  size and  then  look  for   any tweeks  in  the  subject itself,  the  focus, the framing and,  especially  the  lighting. If   you  are   shooting   rolling  stock or  locos etc  a   small , simple diorama which  can be  taken  outside  is   really  useful.
<o({{{<<

Offline Tdm

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 951
  • Country: es
  • Gender: Male
  • *******************
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2014, 06:02:53 pm »
Interesting thread this one with some good tips.
Once you have got your picture onto your PC you can improve it considerably if you have a half decent image editor with plenty of options to choose from, including both automatic and manual brightness/contrast/levels exposure adjustment.

I Import pics from camera to PC using Picasa3, but then use Microsoft Digital Editing Software to try and improve it, using both automatic and manual editing options and crop most of my pictures to some extent so the eye gets drawn to the subject matter, and often "soften" the edges of the photo.

Online Dorsetmike

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • N Gauge Society Number: 2365
  • Posts: 3042
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
  • Grumpy old fart
    • Skype
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2014, 06:26:23 pm »
I plug the card from the camera in the card reader slot on the PC and use Windows Explorer (NOT Internet Explorer) to transfer the files. I create a new folder for each day's work saved on the E partition of my hard drive. I hate the way Windoze tries to save everything in My Photos, My Music or My Documents, takes ages to find anything there especially when I probably have over 10,000 photos and hundreds of music tracks!

I view them first in Picasa 3 using it to straighten and crop as required then save any changes but retaining the originals. I do any further processing in an image editor. When I remember I back up to an external drive.
Cheers MIKE
(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)


How many roads must a man walk down ... ... ... ... ... before he knows he's lost!

Offline d-a-n

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 803
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2014, 11:17:45 pm »
I find with most photographs, getting down at the level of your subject is important, then filling the frame with whatever you need. Cropping into a jpeg/RAW/TIFF to make the subject appear bigger will mean noise/grain will become more apparent and you will have less detail in the image, making it seem less sharp. The lens will resolve the sharpest detail in the middle for most lenses, be it the lens on a cheap compact or on a dedicated macro lens for a film SLR or DSLR - except better lenses can be sharp right to the edges! This means it's important to know where your lens is still acceptably sharp so your subject is clear, especially if the subject's point of interest is off centre. Try to fill the frame.

Your raw materials in any photography are light and time.
Light the subject with natural light or artificial constant lighting. More light is better to give you more options and diffused light (softened with tissue, cloth, opaque plastic etc) is even better. The closer your source of light is to your subject, the harsher the shadows. This may be a help or hindrance, only you can decide. You can use flash, off camera is best but this isn't always an option. If you only have on-board flash (normal type of pop-up/built-in thing on a compact/bridge) try to use more constant light so the on-board flash isn't required. If it is diffuse with what you can, a rizla, a bit of milk carton plastic etc. Off camera flash can be achieved with a hotshoe cable to flashgun (or speedlite), a wireless/radio transmitter to flashgun or using the cameras on-board flash to trigger a slave flashgun. If you're in possession of these things, I won't go on, you probably know how they work. I have taken long exposures (30sec to 2 minutes) which has given me the time to just flash the speedlite at the subject from differing angles without any form of connection to the camera. The photo below was lit in such a manner.
The other part of the equation mentioned is time. In order to get sharp images, you'll need to overcome camera shake from handholding the camera at too slow a shutter speed and unsteady hands. Bypass this problem and use a tripod or bean bag or put the camera on a steady surface so it can't wobble. If I'm being too lazy to get my remote shutter trigger out, I'll set the cameras timer to take the picture after 10 seconds, giving the camera enough time to finish any wobble it may be incurring from me pressing the shutter button.
If you have a compact, put it in macro mode. If you have an advanced compact (Canon G15 et al), bridge or DSLR, set it to aperture value or manual mode and select the smallest f/ number you can - f/22 or f/32 or so - NOT f/2.8 or f/4!! A bit of exposure compensation may be necessary if you're in aperture value. Shutter speed will vary.
If you can, set the ISO to 100 (or 50 or 64 if you can) to reduce noise and keep image quality high. This low ISO will mean longer shutter speeds but as mentioned above, the tripod/beanbag will solve this.
The focal length you choose will probably be dictated by how close you can get to the subject while remainingable to focus and how much you want in the frame. The longer the focal length (the more zoomed in) the shallower the depth of field (more blurry behind the bit in focus). If you are lucky enough to have a DSLR, depth of field will be a problem, especially with a full frame camera. DSLR lenses don't tend to focus that closely (with the exception of macro lenses.) Your average kit zoom lens only has a magnification factor of 0.25x to 0.35x and a minimum focus distance of about 0.25m to 0.30m so you need to set it to the longer end of the zoom range. If you have a dedicated macro lens, I probably don't need to go on here.
Most compacts will only focus using the center point which may not help your composition. Try to focus on the front of the subject - focussing halfway down the loco will give it a blurred front. No good. Some cameras will have an array of focus points which you can choose; these can help your composition.
If you have a DSLR, I find using Live view and manual focus to be the best method - its the only time I use this feature and it's time consuming but it is what the sensor's seeing which eliminates any front or back focussing issues which are exaggerated with macro photography and it's associated shallow depth of field. Some DSLRs let you magnify the area in which you're focussing which is even better for precise manual focus.
As mentioned before, you can set your camera's white balance to a pre-set temperature rather than trusting the auto white balance which will usually leave your pictures too warm/orange. Tungsten bulbs have a temp of about 3000-3200k which is more orange than daylight's 5000-5500k. I shoot in RAW and alter white balance in post processing.
Once you've shot, if you have one, check your histogram, it's a little chart which tells you if the photo is over or under exposed - this is easier than transferring over to the computer only to find it's too dark/bright. Again, if you shoot RAW, you can recover this but it can come at the expense of image quality. Try to get as much right in-camera as possible.

(Sorry, but you are not allowed to access the gallery)

I shot this on a Canon 7D crop sensor DSLR for about a minute, f/22 at ISO 100 with the plastic 50mm f/1.8 prime and a cheapo close-up filter, propped up on CDs using the 10 second shutter timer method as I couldn't be bothered getting a dedicated 100mm f2.8 L series macro lens, tripod and shutter trigger out. I don't use my full frame DSLRs (which I use for work) for this as the depth of field is too shallow, I don't want to put unnecessary mileage on the camera and the images are never for publication!

Hope this is helpful. Any further questions about any aspect of this, I'd be happy to answer.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 11:24:48 pm by d-a-n »

Offline MalcolmAL

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2162
  • Country: gb
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2014, 11:50:43 pm »
and once you have sorted out how to use the f/ratio to control your depth of field
may I suggest having a play with focus stacking.

Hours of fun and amazing results can be had by taking several shots, firstly focused on the track in front (everyting else will be badly out of focus), then another shot on the buffer beam, then some on the boiler bands, the cab, the tender, the first coach, second, etc all the way to the background.

Pop all the pics into one folder(directory) and run CombineZM* on them.
Magic ! Everything is in focus from front to rear.

* clever freeware
Other newer versions of Combine are available with a host of gizmos but they seem to be more sensitive to mis-aligned frames (there are auto-aligning options in them) , so need a tripod or similar whereas ZM seems to me more tolerant of hand holding of my wee bridge camera.

(OT)
Not just for models and macro but for general use, eg. blades of grass 2" from the camera lens thro' to mountains in the background can all be dealt with in the same end frame.
(/OT)

Offline Tdm

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 951
  • Country: es
  • Gender: Male
  • *******************
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2014, 12:15:17 am »
I am afraid I am rather lazy and impatient when it comes to taking pictures and rely a lot on my Canon Rebel XTi DSLR to do the work for me followed by further simple editing using a picture editor such MsDigital Image.

Most of the time I have the camera set on either Auto or Close Up mode for photographing engines etc., on my Layout, and now and again AV, and using the standard 18-55 Lens that came with the camera.

A composite of 4 pictures I have taken of recent purchases appears below, and although by no means perfect, I am quite happy with them.

The pictures feature a) a lighted buffer stop, b) A Farish J39, c) a Dapol Class 27, and d) my very first N gauge purchase - a Class 08.


Offline MalcolmAL

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2162
  • Country: gb
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2014, 07:09:39 pm »

Pop all the pics into one folder(directory) and run CombineZM* on them.
Magic ! Everything is in focus from front to rear.

* clever freeware
Other newer versions of Combine are available with a host of gizmos but they seem to be more sensitive to mis-aligned frames (there are auto-aligning options in them) , so need a tripod or similar whereas ZM seems to me more tolerant of hand holding of my wee bridge camera.

I made a mistake, I should have typed CombineZ5

At the time I made that post I intended to follow it up with an example, however it is amazing how quickly stuff gets buried and lost on my drives ! I have now found the pics taken back in May.

These are of my entry into the world of N
Unfortunately the set had to be returned :(
so there will not be any more pics till I decide what I want to get next (it was the last set in stock and it has been discontinued :( )

Front focus


----------
Rear focus


----------
4 images stacked


There is a bit of "camera shake" present in the rear of the focus stack due to the demise of my tripod and thus me hand-holding the camera, but I think it is just about good enough to demonstrate the clever CombineZ. Sorry about the over-exposed white number on the front.

So, in conclusion, when photographing a model to illustrate a particular feature then the usual use of aperture/depth of field is a good idea, but when trying to give the illusion of a real world setting it is good to be able to get a similar 'real' depth of field.

You never know - one of these days I may advance to the stage of model terrain and scenery :)


Offline NeMo

  • Trade Count: (+2)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • N Gauge Society Number: 23720
  • Posts: 2362
  • Country: gb
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2014, 07:33:18 pm »
So, in conclusion, when photographing a model to illustrate a particular feature then the usual use of aperture/depth of field is a good idea, but when trying to give the illusion of a real world setting it is good to be able to get a similar 'real' depth of field.

Absolutely. And getting everything in focus isn't always the aim. Below is a picture I took the other day, and obviously the autofocus honed in on the foreground. But you know what? I think this image is really nice. Crop away some of the woodwork, and add some sort of cameo on the rocks, such as a small group of rock climbers or some wild animals, and you'd have something with lots of atmosphere if not much detail.

Cheers, NeMo


Offline Bealman

  • Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • N Gauge Society Number: 23151
  • Posts: 13222
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Whoops back we go
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2014, 06:05:05 am »
I agree. That is atmospheric. Worth posing a cameo there.

I've always been a fan of blurred backgrounds, particulaily portraits. I came across an old (1972) B&W pic of a scruffy long-haired Bealman sitting in a pub in Lydney with a pint of scrumpy in hand and (embarrassingly) a cigarette hanging off him.

The background is out of focus but you can see cloth-capped locals lurking there. When I show it to people, I almost invariably get the response, "Looks like a scene from a movie!"

Blurred backgrounds most definitely have their uses in many situations, even in N scale model railways.
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Tdm

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 951
  • Country: es
  • Gender: Male
  • *******************
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2014, 12:20:52 pm »
I too agree - Blurring the background can give you a much more authentic and interesting picture than having everything in sharp focus. Below are 4 pics taken from my layout with the camera setting on Close Up. They feature a recently purchased Class 27, a lonely plank wagon in a siding, and 2 more recent scenic purchases - a windmill and a Nissan hut.


Offline MalcolmAL

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2162
  • Country: gb
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2014, 12:42:51 pm »
Hi all, yes me too :) I like fuzzy backgrounds too, especially for concentrating the eye on particular features/details of a model no quibble :) which is where aperture and speed control comes in handy.

I was not advocating a position either-or

It was just that I had come across CombinZ in some bug macro playings and thort "how might this go in model photography"  and flagged it for anyone here who had not met the software, that was all ! Not insisting you use it :)

I see it of use in the 'make-believe' aspect of model railways
What I mean is, if you look at real world photos from the track side you will see a much deeper relative depth of field, maybe not always from front buffer to last coach/mountain background but much longer than is usually captured in a single model pic.

You always know that it is a model loco cos the tender is out of focus ! But if you want to 'make believe' then stack some :)

Or even do both !?

Another way is to use a pinhole, 40w bulb and a 5hr exposure, but that would be plain silly haha.






Offline Bealman

  • Moderator
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • N Gauge Society Number: 23151
  • Posts: 13222
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Whoops back we go
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2014, 07:20:24 am »
Not if you went and had a kip for 5 hours while you were do in' it  ;D
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline longbridge

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3676
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2014, 07:19:05 pm »
I may be getting old and pedantic but the word Macro on todays digital cameras is wrong, true Macro requires a purpose built Macro lens which usually costs as much or more that the camera body it is connected to, the so called Macro on compact and bridge cameras is really a Close Up setting not Macro.
Keep on Smiling
Dave.

Online austinbob

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • N Gauge Society Number: 23835
  • Posts: 4284
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2014, 07:28:56 pm »
I may be getting old and pedantic but the word Macro on todays digital cameras is wrong, true Macro requires a purpose built Macro lens which usually costs as much or more that the camera body it is connected to, the so called Macro on compact and bridge cameras is really a Close Up setting not Macro.

The true definition of Macro photography is the 1:1 magnification of the image on to the recording media. That means the image on the film/digital sensor is the same size (or larger) than the actual subject being photographed.

In theory it does not require a high quality lens to do this although generally, for acceptable results, the lens does have to have minimal distortion, chromatic abberation and a flat field of view = expensive.
Size matters - especially if you don't have a lot of space - and N gauge is the answer!

Bob Austin

Offline longbridge

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3676
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
    • Awards
Re: How to get better pictures - Close-up Photography.
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2014, 08:04:15 pm »
Expensive is the word, I paid $1,300 or 750 GBP for my Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro Lens 12 years ago, they are cheaper these days.
Keep on Smiling
Dave.

 

Please Support Us!
June Goal: £55.00
Due Date: Jun 30
Total Receipts: £60.00
Above Goal: £5.00
Site Currency: GBP
109% 
June Donations


Advertise Here