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Thread: Help out, Wish to make better photos

  1. #1

    Exclamation Help out, Wish to make better photos

    So the problem I have is that almost all the time my miniatures look a lot better in real life then on the pictures I shot. I am really struggling with that part. When I send the pictures of my minis, and the same people see those minis in real life they always tell me they look a lot better in person. I bought a light box like this with 1 led panel on the top; https://ph-live-02.slatic.net/p/2/40...0c495-zoom.jpg

    I also put on each side led panels that I can choose what to turn on and off. I use my Olympus TG-4 camera or the camera of my Samsung Galaxy S7. I really don't know how to make better pictures and also I read the whole gameworkshop guide for taking photos of 40k minis and googled stuff but still. My pictures look bad...

    So can someone who is a Ace in this check out my pictures and give me some solid advice and tips what I should try or change to make better photos?

  2. #2

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    >ooks like too much direct light. You need to bounce it or diffuse it somehow. Maybe put a layer of white baking paper over the LEDs to soften the light a bit and use a longer exposure time to compensate for the softer light
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zab View Post
    >ooks like too much direct light. You need to bounce it or diffuse it somehow. Maybe put a layer of white baking paper over the LEDs to soften the light a bit and use a longer exposure time to compensate for the softer light
    How do you make those epic cool dark back grounds that you have on your models, yet your model is fully visible. Those look damn good, that's what I am interested in.

  4. #4

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    I use a 2x2ft light tent with a black cloth in the back ground and a light on either side with daylight bulbs. I have my camera or phone on a tripod and i use a timer on 2 sec delay. The camera is on aperture priority not marco. My iso is down at like 100 or 200 and my exposure is way up at like f18-25 depending on the size of the project being photoed. Check out tale of painters tutorials on taking pics with your phone or camera and also massive voodoo has a few good articles on it as well. It's going to be a lot of trial and error until you find a set up that works for you. I'll snap a pic of my set up next time i am taking pics
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CroWarGamePainting View Post
    I also put on each side led panels that I can choose what to turn on and off. I use my Olympus TG-4 camera or the camera of my Samsung Galaxy S7. I really don't know how to make better pictures and also I read the whole gameworkshop guide for taking photos of 40k minis and googled stuff but still. My pictures look bad...
    OK neither your camera or your mobile are designed for pictures of miniatures.
    The Olympus is a good general purpose camera and as such the weighting balance of the exposure sensors are set for more scenic purposes; meaning that the metering will have a tendency to be balanced more towards the centre bottom of the picture area. This will throw off the exposure allowing the back to become an averaged grey and buggering up the figures colours.

    For the phone (same as mine) get as low to level of the figure as possible. Tap the focus screen to centre on the figure and when you get a scroll line to set exposure drop it down to roughly 1/3rd of what’s available. That is what I did to get semi-decent pictures at Scale Model Challenge.

    Now technical bit here;
    There is only one true point of focus for a camera lens, the aperture of said lens can give an appearance of an area of focus called ‘depth of field’ with the smaller aperture (known as f numbers) f22 being the most common smallest aperture around. Now Depth of field extends 1/3 in front of the true plane of focus and 2/3rds behind it, so for miniatures you need to ensure that the backdrop is way outside of the range. (Problem here is that the depth of field varies so much at small focusing distances)
    So plan your lighting so that your mini and the lights form a triangle where the mini can be thought of as the centre point of the letter X and the light beams cross at the mini. The backdrop needs to be out of the illumination of those beams, which you can cut down back spill by judicious placing of card so that only the mini gets hit by light.

    In an ideal world we’d all have DSLR’s with spot metering and connected to our computers to get perfect images every time, but we don’t so everyone has to play trial and error until they are as happy as they can be.
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  6. #6

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    • Move your figure away from your background - this will force more light drop off and darken your black backdrop.
    • Diffuse your lighting and/or turn it down to soften it. You really don't need to smash your tent with light - try to make it as soft and even as possible. You'll need a longer shutter speed but this doesn't matter as long as you're on a tripod.
    • Aperture - just set it at f16 or higher.
    • Resize your images! No point in posting pics that most people can't fit on their screen. Even a 4K monitor only allows you to fit a 2000 pixel image on screen. 1000 to 2000 pixels tall is more than enough unless you're producing a montage of different angles.
    • You can darken your background and brighten your mini to get even better separation in a photo editor.


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  7. #7

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    Lots of good advice but F16 and smaller is not a good choice for a small sensor camera. Even a good lens on an SLR starts struggling at smaller openings. If you need more parts of the mini in focus in most cases it is a better idea to move a bit further back if possible.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zab View Post
    >ooks like too much direct light. You need to bounce it or diffuse it somehow. Maybe put a layer of white baking paper over the LEDs to soften the light a bit and use a longer exposure time to compensate for the softer light
    You are correct Zab. .a direct can place the subject in total darkness.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avelorn View Post
    Lots of good advice but F16 and smaller is not a good choice for a small sensor camera. Even a good lens on an SLR starts struggling at smaller openings. If you need more parts of the mini in focus in most cases it is a better idea to move a bit further back if possible.

    You aint posting these shots full size. The miniscule impact of diffraction will be completely negated once you've resized and sharpened. Pointless even worrying about it. Canon's 50 2.5 macro stops down to f32 and shots are still perfectly usable.

  10. #10

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    Comparisons!
    Pretty easy to spot which ones are shot at a wider aperture.

    7D Mark II, 50mm 1.2 @ f8 and f16:

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    Panasonic GH4, 12-35mm 2.8 @ f8 & f22:

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  11. #11

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    You posted two shots of cameras with big sensors though.

    I don't disagree that much with you on SLR, if the lens you use is sharp that is. Talking SLR lenses I've used my Sigma 50mm macro down to around f/22 without any major problem (after sharpening and resizing)... f/32 would depend on how big the final image should be, for a small overview of a diorama? Then maybe? But it struggles, it does that. My Tamron kit lens is less sharp than my macro and is more affected by diffraction. It is not usuable at all at f/32 I think.

    Anyway to my experience it's better with an SLR to shot at like f/10- f/16 and then move the camera a bit forward and backward depending on how 3D the miniature is. It's often nice to have the background a bit out of focus as well.
    Last edited by Avelorn; 11-16-2017 at 01:13 AM.

  12. #12

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    My photos aren’t perfect, but they’ve gotten insanely better than they were just by building a DIY light box with tissue paper, some poster board and a cardboard box. You can find instructions on how to make one online fairly easily. I take photos with my phone, adjust the brightness a little, and there you go.

  13. #13

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    I can repeat with a compact camera if you really want to labour the point...

    Diffraction is massively overstated. Unless you're making humungous prints or shooting super-high pixel density cameras it's largely irrelevant.

    For web-sized pics of minis it is an utter non-issue no matter how much you want to go on about it!
    Last edited by Spacemunkie; 11-16-2017 at 07:51 PM.

  14. #14

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    First I don't get some stuff you guys are writing since I don't see those options in my camera or I don't get your terms from options., for example f/10- f/16? Also I have a problem and I am struggling to make a nice black background and also have the figure visible. A lot of details get extreme dark shades and then you don't even see the paint job on those areas, for example like my last aggressors that I took a pic of. I don't like it, all of the people who see those minis on pic and then in real life say they look way better when they saw them in front of them then compared to the pics I took. So many details are just lost in the darkness... How to make those pics like you guys do, all around dark yet you see all the things you need in the model? Like Spacemunkie posted above, his pic is epic. Dark yet the whole paint job can be seen on the model...

    I also bought this now, hope it helps when it comes: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Craphy-SL-0...53.m2763.l2649
    I am not going to buy a new camera so like I said. Max that I can do is with the Galaxy S7 or my Olympus TG-4.

    Took the pic like 30-50cm away from them and then crop it.

    The settings I put for the aggressor pic was:
    Aperture priority mode
    Vivid
    Flash Off
    Exposure Comp. -1.0
    WB Auto
    ISO 100
    Single shoot
    16M +RAW

    Last edited by CroWarGamePainting; 11-17-2017 at 07:12 AM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacemunkie View Post
    I can repeat with a compact camera if you really want to labour the point...
    It would be hard work because compact cameras usually don't go below f8-F11. Because diffraction does matter. That's why lenses usually don't go below f/22, except macros. My Tamron being a shining example of the reasons they shouldn't. However as I said I don't disagree that you can use a small aperture, I have just in the past disagreed with your general advice of cranking the aperture down to the smallest setting.

    Anyhow. I don't think this discussion helps the OP who seem to be struggling with lighting.
    Last edited by Avelorn; 11-17-2017 at 09:25 PM.

  16. #16

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    You can disagree all you like. I've already proved that diffraction is a complete non-issue for web-res pics

    Compact cameras don't NEED to go smaller than those apertures because your DOF on a small sensor is so vast. It's simply not necessary - they're already equivalent to f22 or smaller on a 35mm sensor. You will always lose way more resolution through resizing than you ever will through diffraction for stuff posted here.

    Anyway, because I can here is an S95 shot at min and max apertures:

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    Last edited by Spacemunkie; 11-20-2017 at 04:32 AM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by CroWarGamePainting View Post
    Also I have a problem and I am struggling to make a nice black background and also have the figure visible. A lot of details get extreme dark shades and then you don't even see the paint job on those areas, for example like my last aggressors that I took a pic of. I don't like it, all of the people who see those minis on pic and then in real life say they look way better when they saw them in front of them then compared to the pics I took. So many details are just lost in the darkness... How to make those pics like you guys do, all around dark yet you see all the things you need in the model? Like Spacemunkie posted above, his pic is epic. Dark yet the whole paint job can be seen on the model...
    These aren't far off at all!! A couple of points. These are dark/black figures. It can be a struggle to make them stand out from a black background! Looks as though you have a pair of lights each side of the figures. You could probably do with some more light in the centre for this group shot as the middle fellow's arms are casting shadows. The lighting from the RHS is also stronger than the LHS - you could soften it a touch. White paper or card (or a light tent) can bounce light around back on to your figures to help even it out. I use Lightroom to drop the black levels and raise the mids in my pics - they certainly don't come straight out of the camera looking like that - see the Nurgle flying beastie for an example of what they look like before fettling

    It may also be easier to photograph them one at a time and montage them. Lets you get optimal lighting on each figure. Could also try a lighter background with these chaps.

  18. #18

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    Here's a before and after with some (exaggerated) settings from Lightroom. Tweaking the mids and dropping the darks helps to get the sort of separation you're after. Levels and curves in PS or Gimp will do the same thing.

    This was chucked together next to my computer - I'd shoot with a greater distance to the background for a 'proper' shot to get it nice and dark

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