Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Model Photography


Ha ha!  I just realized after typing in the title that this post will likely crop up on a lot of searches having nothing to do with 1/72nd scale aircraft or plastic models...er...never mind.

I've been struggling with photographing my models for the last few months.  Set up the booth and lights, take pictures, then tear down the booth and lights and pack it away.  It wasn't helping with my ability to post here as I would delay taking those photos until I could do a batch.

And then suddenly the quality of the photos was crap.  I mean the lighting was bad, exposure bad, focus poor, depth of field all out of wack.  You name it, it was not coming out well.  I also decided to start putting my builds on line as Works-in-Progress (WIP) and that needed a faster method of photography...too many folks online seemed to be able to quickly take photos (daily) and post them easily on the forums.

So I asked questions.  My biggest hurdle seemed to be hosting the photos.  I could host them here but I'm not sure how long Google will allow that.  I guess, technically, none of us really know how long any of our photos will be hosted given the fine print in the agreements we quickly click through to get on with our lives essentially say the hosting site gets to decide everything unilaterally in the future.  Whenever that future comes.

So I shifted into using my iPhone6 for WIPs and my trusty Canon DSLR (Rebel T3) for the final photos for this blog.  And I started asking for help.  Lots of help.

What have I learned?

Firstly, my background is not quite right.  Mid-blue.  Why mid-blue?  That's the color that came with the portable booth.  Then I realized my white balance was all off.  So I tried using auto white balance but that seemed to make it worse, not better.  Just to my eye, BTW...my wife couldn't see a difference.

I'm looking into a homemade frame made of ??? (PVC pipe from DIY store?) that I can attache a roll of white-ish barrier paper to.  The advantage of the DIY frame is that I can size it for my larger models...the Lancasters, Sunderlands, Liberators and Flying Fortresses.  I won't then be so afraid to build them given I can't photograph them.  Additionally, I can change the background out, if I want.

But until then, I'm watching Paul Budzik's outstanding videos on Photographing Models.  I've already created a gray card for standardizing my white balance for each session / model.

I've set my ISO to 200 to better balance speed and exposure.

I got a remote shutter release to eliminate camera shake.  Okay, turns out the shake is still there from the mirror moving, but I haven't yet figured out how to lock my mirror open.

My f-stop is set to 29 to create a larger depth of field.

I've moved my camera away from the model, and the macro-zoom allows me to frame the subject, capturing enough to allow me to crop it for display on this blog.

I'm still learning, but the photos have already improved.  I still can't move quickly, but it's better.

As for my iPhone6...I'm finding that a strong light on my work surface (already there for modeling) is "good enough" for WIP photos if I position the phone just so.

I'd love to have a dedicated corner of my work room just for photography, but that won't happen.  I'd rather have it for display at this stage.  There is a spot "over there in the other basement room" that would work...but my wife owns that room.

Thanks for looking...


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