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Old 01-11-2004, 06:40 PM   #1
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HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Photography for the photography challenged.

First I will start off with a few of the commonly used words in photography followed by what they mean.

F/stop – Depth of field (how much of the subjects background and foreground will be in focus) that is what the F/stop adjusts in a photograph. If you want to take a photo and have just one thing to be detailed with everything else to be out of focus you should use a lower number F/stop (most cameras, including new digitals you can adjust the F/stop) the common setting range for it is F 1.4, to F 22. (The lower the number the less detail there will be in the other areas of the photograph) A thing to remember when adjusting this, when you move to a lower number you are letting more light into the camera. So you may need to increase the shutter speed to compensate for the amount of light (so the photo doesn’t look all white, but isn’t all black either)

Shutter speed – How quick the camera takes the photo, it is simple. It is the speed that the shutter moves. A faster speed means the shutter will stay open less and allow less light to enter the camera. A faster speed will also stop the action on something that is fast moving. A slower speed will allow more light into the camera, but it will not stop movement. The normal setting on cameras will vary from M (will stay open for as long as you hold the button) all the way to 16,000th of a second. What speed you want to use will depend on what you are taking a photograph of, what the F/stop is set on, and how much light there is around you and the item.

ISO – The film speed, this is not used as much with Digital cameras. But it is still used. On some digital cameras you can set them to a certain ISO to simulate that speed film while taking photographs. One thing to remember, a lower ISO number will take longer to record the photograph under normal lighting conditions (the shutter will have to stay open longer) but it will have a better quality in the color variation and detail captured. A higher ISO will not take as long to record a photograph under normal lighting conditions but will not capture as much detail in the color variation and finer details of the item you are shooting. It is best to stick with one ISO setting and learn it. I use an ISO of 200 or 400 mostly.

24mm, 50mm, 200mm – Zoom amount, this number has to do with the type of lens the camera has. A rule of thumb, the lower the number the wider of an angle the camera can take a photograph, and the closer you can be to the object, but the more distorted the details might be. A good average lens that will have minimal distortion when shooting items such as cars and car models is a 75mm to 100mm lens. But the others are nice to play around with for different effects.

Telephoto – Zoom lens, Telephoto is a common name for a lens that is adjustable and able to take photographs from a distance, example 70mm - 200mm, 100mm - 500mm, and up to 2000mm they are mostly used for Nature shots and in some sporting events where you either can not get real close to the action. Or do not wish to put yourself in danger by being so close.

Macro – Close up detailed photo, most cameras have a Macro setting now, which allows you to get within an inch or less and take a photo of a specific part or item. It is useful when taking photos to show the details on an engine.

Light – This is very important when taking photographs, you need to make sure you have enough light on the object you are taking the photo of. And make sure the light is coming from directions you want it so. You can control the shadows on an item by moving the item around or moving the light around to get different angles. Or trying several light sources. When you adjust the light. You will also need to adjust your F/stop or shutter speed to compensate. The best condition to shoot is actually outdoors on a bright but overcast day, where there are minimal shadows around you. The flash on the camera is useful as well, but pay attention to how it reflects on the object, you can try to hold up a piece of white tissue paper in front of the flash to soften it a bit and cut down on the reflection and ‘starbursts’

Background – this is very important as well, with model cars it can be harder. But will turn out good if you pay attention to details. Either build a small display that you can use to shoot the models inside, or have some place outside or inside that is a solid color with little to no seams. A good thing to do is setup some white cardboard on a tabletop and bend it up in the back then have some table lights shining on it from straight above and each side to minimize shadows.
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Old 01-11-2004, 06:49 PM   #2
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What camera to use.

There are many cameras out there to pick from. You likely have one that will work now. it does not take a fancy high dollar camera to take good photographs. even a disposible camera can take a good photo of your model if done the right way.

the main things to remember when taking a photograph using a disposible camera or a point and shoot camera (ones that you do not have to adjust anything) is to make sure there is enough light on what you are taking the photograph of and you are not standing to close to it.

if you do have a camera that has other bells and whistles .. like a Macro setting or zoom... that is even better ... a Zoom can be just as useful as a Macro if used correctly ... if you are trying to get detail of one part you do not always have to stand right in front of the part or car .. just stand a decent distance away and zoom into it. till it fills up the entire display on your camera (or the viewfinder window if you are using a film camera) ...

a digital camera is the easiest to use, some of them you will have an option on the quality of photo it takes ... (the total number of photos it will store is affected by this setting) ... it is best to take the photograph on the highest quality setting (will store the least number of photos) .. the advantage of this is once you have the photograph on your computer, you can use the program that came with it to resize the photograph or cut out just the section of it you want to show to others... and it will still be a good quality...

If you have a Wal-mart in your town (some other convience stores with photo labs will have the new equipment as well) they can take your disposible camera or film from your camera and put the images on a CD for you, so you have them to share online...

I will be adding more information to this post from time to time, including more detail in making your own photography display for your models and the lighting needed (all the peices can be bought at Wal-mart or any harware store for under $25) If you have any photography related question that comes up while you are trying to take a photo of your model feel free to hit me up!
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Old 01-11-2004, 08:19 PM   #3
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Going in the How to section!! Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2004, 08:22 PM   #4
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no problem at all glad to help will add more to it shortly .. typing up some other information now .. then will be coming back and adding photos to make it easier to understand.
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Old 01-12-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Really nice write up! Now, all I have to do is buy the camera
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Old 01-12-2004, 11:57 AM   #6
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Not as good but I has some info on my website
http://www.spc.org.uk/tips/photos.html
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Old 01-12-2004, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiroboy
Not as good but I has some info on my website
http://www.spc.org.uk/tips/photos.html
what you have is pretty good ... that is basically what i was talking about with folding up the paper or posterboard to have a seamless background ...
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:07 PM   #8
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a few tips for when you go to buy a digital camera.

Megapixel - the main thing to remember here is this little chart.

Less than 1.0 640 x 480, 800 x 600
Web/e-mail only
Maybe 3 x 5 inches.

1 megapixel 1,154 x 852
4 x 6

1.3-1.5 megapixels 1,280 x 960, 1,280 x 1,024
5 x 7

2.0 megapixels 1,600 x 1,200
8 x 10
Sharper 5 x 7

3+ megapixels 2,048 x 1,536
(8 x 10 or larger) Sharper 8 x 10
8 x 10 with cropping

if you are buying the camera to use to shoot your models or just family gatherings .. and don't see a need for having anything printed up larger then an 8*10 then a 2.0 to 3 megapixel camera is more then enough for you ... any larger and you will be reducing the image down to print it or put it on the web. (the advantage of it being larger like 5 or 6 megapixel is you can crop out half of the photo and it still be a good quality 8*10 when printed out)

Zoom - there are two types of zoom on digital cameras .. Optical zoom and Digital zoom .. try to avoid digital zoom at all costs .. with each x you zoom out you are loosing basically half the quality of the image ... try to get a camera with as much Optical zoom as you can afford. it isnt always needed. but will help you if you can not get close enough to something, or want to get a little more detail from an item...

Battery type - there are as many options for batteries out there as there are camera models ... for your pockebooks sake tho try to find a camera that uses a standard AA style battery .. and pick up a good set of Lithium ion or NMh rechargable batteries ... ( that way if you are someplace and the batterys die you can always hit the local convience store and pick up some others)

built in flash - most all cameras except for some of the high dollar digitals have a flash built in ... that is fine it will help you ... but if you get one that has a location to hook an external flash it will leave more options for you open in the future ...

Memory card - there are several variations of memory cards ... just make sure your computer can either accept that type of memory card, or you have the reader to hook up to your computer so you can download the photos from the camera.

with that being said you can pick up a good decent quality digital camera for around 200 at Wal-mart ...
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Old 01-13-2004, 03:22 AM   #9
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Very good info that should help plenty of people out
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Old 05-02-2004, 12:19 AM   #10
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Lightbulb Photographing models

I made a light tent in which to photograph 1/25 scale models.
The instructions on how to make one can be found at http://www.wgunnell.com on the How To pages.
Enjoy!
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Old 05-02-2004, 12:43 AM   #11
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Light tent is a great idea. Now retired from photography and doing the IT thing but I've been a commercial photographer pretty much all my life (opened my studio when I was 16) and love to see the crisp clean shots Hiroboy (first to come to mind) and others take. It's totally worth it to think about your depth of field and light, before snapping those shots that are going to impress everyone. Some great reading here.
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Old 05-02-2004, 12:59 AM   #12
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

thats the problem with using the Macro setting ... you pretty much wipe out any depth of field ... which will hurt ya if you are shooting a 3/4 view of the car ... the front corner will be in focus but the back wont be ... thats why i prefer to step back and zoom in to fill the frame ...
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Old 05-02-2004, 01:15 AM   #13
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Re: Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flea
thats the problem with using the Macro setting ... you pretty much wipe out any depth of field ... which will hurt ya if you are shooting a 3/4 view of the car ... the front corner will be in focus but the back wont be ... thats why i prefer to step back and zoom in to fill the frame ...
Yep, best bet for shooting the whole car. Otherwise buy a view camera!
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Old 05-03-2004, 12:44 PM   #14
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Re: Re: Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

I certainly appreciate the technical info, but perhaps more useful would be real-world examples (read: pictures) of different angles, etc. i.e. COMPOSITION.

Seeing as how most cameras these days do a fine job with full-auto mode, I feel it more important to share the BASICS of how to compose a photo properly.

High horizon, low horizon, off center, rule of thirds, etc.

I'll have to dig up my old notes from a composition class I took- it improved my photography more than any amount of technical info could.
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Old 05-03-2004, 03:02 PM   #15
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Re: HOW TO: photograph your work (including basics)

thats the next step ... right now i have been finding time to shoot different examples for ideas of composition ...

but composition is worth nothing if the photo if overxposed

when shooting a model it is more important to fill the photo with the model i would say then it is to make sure the horizon is just right ... tho for a final artistic style shot of the car ... then composure can help ...

always start with the basics and build from there ... , a lot of the people on here are using webcams and other low quality cameras to photograph their models ... so i felt it important to fill in the basics first before moving on ...
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