Need help photographing models

Started by RBTKraisee, August 03, 2023, 06:40:47 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

RBTKraisee

I need to take some great promo pics of my Coronation Scot kits, but my current efforts have thoroughly missed the mark.

I see so many great photos of people's N gauge adventures I hope you guys can help me! I really need help on EVERYTHING!

I don't have any pro photography gear at all, but everyone says the camera in my Google Pixel is one of the best phone cameras out there.

If there's no other choice, I might be able to afford a used DSLR off eBay, but I'd rather save my beer tokens if at all possible.

I've tried sunshine shots, both intense Florida sun and also overcast diffused light. I've tried building a light box and using all sorts of different lights, from desk incandescents all the way up to a trio of 100W LED floodlights  :o

Even using Lightroom to take the shots, the colours never look right.

I'm running out of options and I'm about ready to start tearing my hair out! Can anyone please help get me on the right tracks?

Cheers,

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars" -Robert Heinlein
An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still an unhealthy shade of "British Tourist White"

Steam Locomotive Wheel Dimensions: https://www.shorturl.at/xAEKW

All my available products are listed in the first post in my workbench thread.

ntpntpntp

Not having a smart phone I don't really know how good phone cameras are nowadays? As far as I'm concerned phones are for talking to people and maybe a quick message :)

If it's for small models you need a macro facility.  I use a 5 mega pixel small pocket camera for most things now but it's still not as good as my best photos taken on an ancient Olympus 2 mega pixel camera getting on for 20 years ago, on a tripod with some lighting.

Nick.   2021 celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!
https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=50050.0

Coyote

I use a 15 year old Canon DSLR, and a cheap external flash mounted on the camera but with a diffuser, all on a tripod. Aperture set to get almost maximum depth of field and an exposure time of something like a minute.

Dave

Visit Mossdale's YouTube channel for a view of a 1920's LMS railway in North Yorkshire or Mossdale Road for some shunting

https://youtube.com/@MossdaleNGaugeRailway

chrism

Quote from: RBTKraisee on August 03, 2023, 06:40:47 PMI need to take some great promo pics of my Coronation Scot kits, but my current efforts have thoroughly missed the mark.

I see so many great photos of people's N gauge adventures I hope you guys can help me! I really need help on EVERYTHING!

I don't have any pro photography gear at all, but everyone says the camera in my Google Pixel is one of the best phone cameras out there.

If there's no other choice, I might be able to afford a used DSLR off eBay, but I'd rather save my beer tokens if at all possible.

I've tried sunshine shots, both intense Florida sun and also overcast diffused light. I've tried building a light box and using all sorts of different lights, from desk incandescents all the way up to a trio of 100W LED floodlights  :o

Even using Lightroom to take the shots, the colours never look right.

I'm running out of options and I'm about ready to start tearing my hair out! Can anyone please help get me on the right tracks?


Can you post an example so we can see where the problem, and solution, might lie?

Nbodger

@chrism has just beat me to it, a photo would be good

Just a suggestion have you tried using a white cloth to sit and surround the subject on, sometimes works well, taking away external distractions.

Mike H

AlexanderJesse

Tripod is for sure a requirement even for phone pics.

Can you set the phone to create the raw pictures (switch off also all AI-:censored: (changed by forum))?

Maybe you could ask a pro-photographer (local to you) for a live-lesson?
=================
have a disney day

Alexander

Remember: vapour is just water and therefor clean

Newportnobby

I use a cheapish Canon bridge camera which takes decent pics and vids. I use 2 pieces of A4 photocopy paper to create a background and ensure lighting (all bog standard kitchen type - nowt special, like) all around. I do have to be careful to ensure my bonce doesn't cast any shadow when I go for a close up of something.



The problem as I see it is your CS set is a loco and nine coaches and a bridge camera really wouldn't have the depth of field focus you'd want to take decent shots so I reckon a DSLR is a must

Bob G

#7
I use two white sheets of A4 copy paper (as @Newportnobby ) behind the subject and a Sony RX100 (other brands will do) on aperture priority without flash and with non-directional daylight (so no bright directional Florida sunshine) and that usually works out at F11 at 1/30 or 1/15 or even 1/8 sec. Then I edit the photo on simple Windows 10 or 11 photo software and brighten the picture by 20% or even 40%. If you are photographing black locos you change the shadow/highlight setting on Windows 10 or 11 to 100% to be able to see the details in the blackness.

Most of my shots on this forum or to sell on EBay have been done this way, hand held. The best thing for depth of focus is aperture priority and to remember that you can't hold anything really stable and blur free under 1/30 sec exposure, or 1/15 if you are a really cool bloke, or half dead. Aperture priority still struggles beyond 6" under these conditions so a Dapol class 121 bubble car is in focus in the front and not in focus at the rear, but folk can live with that. If you are flat onto the object you will do fine.

Whatever Google Pixel claims is probably claimed by iPhone too, but I have found that phone photos are no good for pixel resolution compared to "traditional" cameras. They win hands down in night shots though. Horses for courses and you learn what camera to take with you whether by day or night (e.g. on one of my many cruises...)

HTH
Bob

PS I don't use image stacking which @Nbodger uses as I don't need to bodge my photos any more than I do electronically for exposure purposes :)

Nbodger

Quote from: Newportnobby on August 03, 2023, 10:08:52 PMI use a cheapish Canon bridge camera which takes decent pics and vids. I use 2 pieces of A4 photocopy paper to create a background and ensure lighting (all bog standard kitchen type - nowt special, like) all around. I do have to be careful to ensure my bonce doesn't cast any shadow when I go for a close up of something.



The problem as I see it is your CS set is a loco and nine coaches and a bridge camera really wouldn't have the depth of field focus you'd want to take decent shots so I reckon a DSLR is a must

Mick @Newportnobby not a criticism just using to give my thoughts on enhancing your particular photograph, if you used a white contain sheet/tablecloth in lieu of the paper you would get a better photograph.

Because the locomotive is on a he angle, you loose focus along the length, again if taken fully square on would all be in focus but not as nice composition. The very reason I use image stacking probably taking 3 to 6 photographs at various focal points on the loco, then you would get a photograph of the loco fully in focus.

Also if you can set the aperture to its highest setting and slow shutter speed using a tripod you may be able to get it all in focus but will depend on camera limitations.

Mike H

RBTKraisee

#9
Thanks for the responses so far - quite a few things in there for me to consider already!

Here are a few of my various tests. I deleted most of the pics because they are useless. These are some of the better ones  :confused1:

This is my standard "in front of the keyboard" quick'n'dirty image while working. It gives scale and works for quick updates...


100W Floodlight with white kitchen tissue background. Got banding from the frequency of the LED's...


100W Floodlight pointed at the ceiling, reflected downward...


Light box with white card on all sides. Three light sources - all desk lamps. LED at each side, 1x Incandescent above. All shining through parchment paper for diffuse light...


Kitchen Lights with white card...


Bathroom Lights with white paper...


Outdoors, overcast onto plastic patterned garden table...


That last one is for another project, but it's possibly the best lighting I've had. Just difficult to get overcast conditions here! There is usually only a few minutes between bright sunshine and when the winds rise ahead of a storm.

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars" -Robert Heinlein
An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still an unhealthy shade of "British Tourist White"

Steam Locomotive Wheel Dimensions: https://www.shorturl.at/xAEKW

All my available products are listed in the first post in my workbench thread.

Webbo

To me, the biggest 'problem' with your photos is the lighting. Most of the pictures show shadows in the foreground or along the lower parts of the coach. Looks like your light source is above and behind the subject. Try lighting from the front, but to the side of the camera perhaps even 45 degree angle.

I take my photos with an iPhone. Colour and resolution both entirely satisfactory especially for the likes of EBay. AS for SLRs etc., you can't beat the laws of optics. Depth of field is dependent on lens aperture and focal length no matter what the quality of the lens. 

Good luck with it
Webbo

Newportnobby

Quote from: Nbodger on August 03, 2023, 10:48:40 PMMick @Newportnobby not a criticism just using to give my thoughts on enhancing your particular photograph, if you used a white contain sheet/tablecloth in lieu of the paper you would get a better photograph.

Because the locomotive is on a he angle, you loose focus along the length, again if taken fully square on would all be in focus but not as nice composition. The very reason I use image stacking probably taking 3 to 6 photographs at various focal points on the loco, then you would get a photograph of the loco fully in focus.

Also if you can set the aperture to its highest setting and slow shutter speed using a tripod you may be able to get it all in focus but will depend on camera limitations.

Mike H

@Nbodger Mike - it's a bridge camera. There is no faffing with apertures and speeds 'cos there ain't no such thing.
I hate side on shots. As you say, it tends to be all in focus but composition wise it sucks.
The best I can do is to focus on the middle of the loco and, while holding that focus, move the aim to the front of the loco and then depress the shutter. For such a pic there's no requirement for a tripod but I do use one for panning in my videos. It's not really a tripod, though, more a monopod. (SIRUI P204SR)

chrism

The colours don't look too far out to me but, as previously mentioned, the lighting isn't overly well set up - try with the lighting on the front of the subject and off to one side.

Another thing, you mentioned Lightroom in your opening post, is that Adobe Lightroom?
If so, you can adjust the white balance of a loaded image  by clicking on the eyedropper in the Develop - Basic - Color tools sidebar, then clicking on an area of the image that is, or should be, a neutral shade. In general, white or black is not an ideal area to choose because there can be a wide range of whites or blacks that just look white or black on the screen, try to find a neutral grey area.

Steven B

The photo taken on the laptop is probably the best of the bunch - many of the others had a shadow being cast over the front of the model.

Perhaps try some white fabric over where ever you put your laptop?

Have you tried other background colours? A darker colour will result in less reflections from the white paper or card which will help the camera pick out the detail in the model rather than being dazzled by the reflection.

If the Florida sun is too bright, try earlier/later in the day or rig up a white sheet as a sun shade.


Steven B

RBTKraisee

#14
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll give the lighting another try today or tomorrow, as time and weather allows :)

Some hunting also turned up a used Canon D40 10.1MP DSLR for about $65 shipped to me. Not bad. But if I risk Deb's wrath and stretch just a little further to about $85, there is a Canon EOS Rebel T1i / 500D with 15.1MP and 9-point autofocus, that has only 8,000 shots under its belt. I can even get a one-year protection plan (extra $10). Both come as Body only, but with batteries and charger too.

I already have a few EF lenses from my old EOS 300 film SLR; a 28-105, a 90-300 and a doubler. I've also got a tripod and a remote trigger too, so I really would have everything I need.

I'll take a closer look at all this in the morning after some  :sleep:

Ross.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars" -Robert Heinlein
An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still an unhealthy shade of "British Tourist White"

Steam Locomotive Wheel Dimensions: https://www.shorturl.at/xAEKW

All my available products are listed in the first post in my workbench thread.

Please Support Us!
March Goal: £100.00
Due Date: Mar 31
Total Receipts: £12.34
Below Goal: £87.66
Site Currency: GBP
 12%
March Donations