General Paper Modeling Discussion => Tips and Tricks => Topic started by: Dave Winfield on June 03, 2015, 09:00:41 PM

Title: Taking Photos of your Models
Post by: Dave Winfield on June 03, 2015, 09:00:41 PM
Lots of us like to share our models online,
and that means taking and posting photographs.

Lets just focus on the "taking photos" part, because most of us are not professional photographers.

Many cameras today are simple enough to use.
They have limited controls...just point and shoot...but that doesn't always guaranty a good photo.

And many people today use Phone Cameras because they are convenient and fairly simple to use.
But that definitely doesn't guaranty good photos!

I'm not going to tell you how to be a great photographer, but I've seen some common mistakes
by people using point and shoot and Phone cameras.

So, heres a few Tips:

1. Use as much natural light as possible.
If you can move to a spot with more light, do it! Natural light gives better camera feedback and colour.
Obviously we want to avoid intense light and glare. Try to shoot with the Sun behind you, not behind the subject.

2. If natural light isn't available, try to find as much light as possible around your subject. The more light you have,
the less chance the camera will use its flash, and the less chance the digital sensor will augment the low light condition.
However, cameras today are much better at shooting in low light conditions.

3. Avoid Flash if possible. It will add so many things you don't want to your photos. Shoot without flash whenever
possible. All digital cameras have the option of turning off the Flash. With today's digital cameras, you will be surprised how well they shoot in low light.

4. Choose Solid colour backgrounds. If possible place your subject on and against a solid colour background. The lighter the better
to reflect "back light" on your subject. The less "busy" the background (with objects and patterns), the better your subject
will stand out.

I shoot a lot of models against a simple card base and background.
Light boxes are great...many people build their own, for taking real nice well lit photos.
But if you are like me, and your models vary greatly in shape and size, one size lightbox won't do.
So, I use a Washing Machine.

Don't laugh...I'm serious. My favorite spot for taking photos is in my Laundry Room, on top of the Washer.
Its usually clean and clear...there is a fluorescent light above it...and another one to the side.
(Its actually a lot brighter than this photo shows)
And its the right height for setting up a subject and a tripod for my camera.


For a clean, solid colour base and background, I use two sheets of poster card from the Dollar Store.
They are not attached to anything, that way I can adjust if necessary.
I usually keep a couple of sheets of black and white card, and replace them when they get dirty, damaged or used in a model!


At 2 for a $1, you can't beat it.
And, as I said, its card that I can use in my model building.
Two layers glued together is great for internal formers.


Sometimes, I use magnets (the Washer is metal!) to hold the sheets of card in place.
This way I can use one sheet lengthways...curve it up at the rear...and create a seamless background.
Remove that ugly horizon line across the back where the two sheets meet.
The following photo shows the curved background in place while shooting a small model.
With larger models, it gets tougher to use a curved background because of the shadows from the models.


More Tips:

Avoid zoom lenses if possible...try moving in a bit closer if need be.

Get further away! Move back away from your subject. (I know, I know...I just told you to move closer)
I'm talking about shooting too close, where your camera can't focus.
There is nothing worse than posting a blurred photo online.

Step back and take a wider photo.
You can always crop the photo down later
and it gives you a second chance to frame your subject.
At least the model will be in better focus!

Always use a tripod or support your camera in some way when taking a photo.
This will ensure less blurry and shaky looking photos.
Shaky video is one thing...but shaky stills? No way! We don't like 'em.

If I think of more stuff, I'll post it.

Title: Re: Taking Photos of your Models
Post by: Kevin WS on June 04, 2015, 04:12:11 PM
Sound and sensible advice.

Thank you.

I have a few tips too - will try and share these at the weekend.....
Title: Re: Taking Photos of your Models
Post by: yukonjohn on July 14, 2017, 02:38:43 PM
This is the setup I have now started using.  Got clamp lights on sale 3 for $10 and use 100 watt cf bulbs.  Be sure to roll the cloth so no unsightly fold lines.

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Title: Re: Taking Photos of your Models
Post by: Dave Winfield on July 14, 2017, 02:48:55 PM
clamp lights 3 for $10???  where'd you find that?
Title: oops
Post by: yukonjohn on July 14, 2017, 04:09:03 PM
Sorry to create unjustified excitement  :-[.   I should have said "3 clamp lights on sale for $10 each" - got them at Canadian Tire.

Title: Re: Taking Photos of your Models
Post by: Vermin King on July 14, 2017, 04:13:20 PM
That makes a little more sense.  Should be a good setup