How I take my photos

08-01-2003, 06:01 PM
White Background
Charcoal Grey Background

A lot of you have PM'ed me ask how I take my photos and get those backgrounds
Well I use 180gsm coloured card from an art shop (very cheap)
and take when ever possible the photos outside in sunlight (not direct)
Hopefully the above photos show how to get the backgrounds sorted.
But the most important thing I find is a to use a mini tripod.
Mine is a Manfrotto DIGI-TABLE-TOP model Cat. No: 709 (
Hopefully this has helped some of you.

08-01-2003, 06:11 PM
now that's the est tutorial for foto's i've seen

thanks alot hiroboy:bigthumb: :icesangel

08-01-2003, 06:12 PM
Thanks Steve!:bigthumb: Photography coolness!:sunglasse :sunglasse

08-01-2003, 06:17 PM

08-01-2003, 06:39 PM
Just started to take pics that way about a week ago. Looks great, even when I do it inside.

Nobbys Nuts
08-01-2003, 06:47 PM
Absolutely awesome skills in both modelling and photographics Steve. Love the way you make your photos look like Sales Brochures.
What settings do you find gives you the best results with your camera - e.g. do you use Macro, flash on/off depending on whether you are inside or out, file size 640 x 480, 1280 x 960 etc.
I realize that not everyone has a good enough camera to change all these settings but I think it would make a good how to for AF as it gives us all a guide to professional shots like yours and what to look for in a camera to acheive it.
There has been a lot of posts about what camera do you guys use or what should I buy - they could just be pointed to your "How To Take Pro Photo's" post and there is all the info they need.

08-01-2003, 08:00 PM
I built a table so I don't need to lay on the ground with a mini tripod. I'm an old guy, it's take me forever to getup some days!

Posterboard makes an excellent, cheap backgound. Costs me 33 cents a sheet at Wal Mart.

Great tute there dude!

Tim D.

08-01-2003, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the info :biggrin:

primera man
08-01-2003, 08:24 PM
Nice stuff Steve...i'll add it to the FAQ :cool:

08-01-2003, 08:56 PM
Thanks, Hiro! I was wondering how that was done. I tried taking pics on a blank sheet of paper once, but it wasn't big enough to cover the entire area. I'll give this another try when I take pics of my next model.

08-01-2003, 10:03 PM
Awesome photo's man. But that WRX looks insane, when are we gonna see a thread on the progress of this car?

08-02-2003, 01:34 AM
Oops just found the thread :sorry: The car looks fantastic, keep up the good work.

08-02-2003, 02:54 AM
Thanks for the tips.

08-02-2003, 03:45 AM
cheers dude, i had bought a a1 peice of mounting board in black but think i might try and get some new colours.

cheers again great tutorial

08-02-2003, 04:07 AM

I use the same technique but the camera im using at the moment isnt the best.

I find taking the photos either early morning (just before the sun comes up) or late afternoon, you then will get realy nice even light without any harsh shadows. :smile:

I will have a nice new camera in 3 weeks yay! :tongue: :biggrin:

08-02-2003, 04:18 AM
I do the same when ever i can in the conservatory using a roll of wallpaper laid face down.

Will have to try some diff backgrounds as u suggest for a little variation.

We should put this in the FAQ

08-02-2003, 04:19 AM
Photoshop and other editing programs help alot too, Like in Hiroboys photo you can see how he got some green looking light (Hiroboy no effence all you photos are better than mine lol) but you can get rid of this:

You can also test other colours you would like you paint your car:


Do you mind if i use you pic's on my site?

Thanks heaps :smile:

08-02-2003, 05:22 AM
Hiro, that's a fabulous tutorial!
Thanks a lot !

A little comment though, about the whole Photoshop idea...

I sincerely dislike it ... why try to conceal flaws, paint problems, details or even try to enhance them by using photographical programmes, do it on the car itself, don't try to change the appearance by using digiatal editors, do it on your car! :loser:

Because every sucky modeler with photoshop talents can make his / hers car look like a masterpiece, but IMHO that is just about the same as cheating...

look at it this way, the picture you take should look as much as the original car, and altering that to make it look better is just being a fraud.


08-02-2003, 05:54 AM
All i did was change the backround colour...i didnt change the car at all (alotho i did chage the colour of the purple one) but otherwhise i didnt inhance the car in any way. :rolleyes: :smile:

08-02-2003, 12:26 PM
Thank you for this thread, Steve.

Ive learned a lot about photography from you and your pics.
Here is another suggestion.
I took HPL (High Pressure Laminate) from the joinery as backround.
You can get it in many surfaces.
Hope you forgive me that I post pics in your thread.

08-02-2003, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by Little-B
Thank you for this thread, Steve.
Hope you forgive me that I post pics in your thread.
No it's great to see other peolpe ideas for backgounds.
For me taking photos of the models is 20% of the fun in doing them in the first place and the fact I can share here is a bonus.

08-02-2003, 02:13 PM
great How To steve, just 2 questions.
1) can that tripod work on any camera? or does it only work on specific ones?
2) what kind of camera do you use?

08-02-2003, 03:07 PM
nice tutorial man. Im gona use ur tips.

08-02-2003, 04:05 PM
Little-B : That middle picture rocks! The reflection looks really good. A couple of guys I know shoot on black glass or plexiglas - looks like wet pavement and also helps show off the undercarriage.

fullbloodchop01 : I know you didn't ask me, but.......

If your camera has a tripod mount, you can pretty well bet that the mount is the same as the tripod. I use the same tripod mount for my Fujifilm 2650 digital camera, my Olympus D100 digital, my RCA CDS digital (I think the CDS stands for Cheap, Dead Shit, but that's just my opinion!), my Fujica 35mm SLR and my Russian Zenit E 35mm SLR. Heck, the same tripod mount works for my fiancee's camcorder and my kid's WWF Slam Cam and my ex-wife's Kodak Cameo 35mm. Their pretty well interchangeable.

Wal Mart sells an okay mini tripod, as well as larger ones, that fit the majority of cameras out there.


Tim D.

08-05-2003, 10:49 PM
Here is somthing different with chrome cardboard!

When i finaly get my new camera i will have some high quality pics :smile:

08-06-2003, 02:29 AM
woops wrong 2nd picture :tongue:

08-06-2003, 08:41 AM
well I use the same thing as Hiro, but I need to work with the focus in macro mode.

picture a great, but always a bit out of focus (btw it's inside pictures, sun didn't show off for near a month now.. bad summer :mad: )

Ferrari TR
08-06-2003, 02:42 PM
Some additional info would be helpful.
Camera, settings, etc.
Most of the year I'm stuck taking pix indoors so some info on indoor pix would be helpful as well.

08-06-2003, 04:00 PM
Inside pics? Lots of light, and try to keep it as indirect as possible to avoid glare. I've never had good lcuk using the flash on models - except with a Sony Mavica I borrowed from work, it would AF in the dark, made for some inpressive shots with the backgound turning out black - and a white car just popping out!

I use 3 desk lamps with 75 watt GE Reveal bulbs. The swingarm style lamps are great, easy to move around as needed.

ALWAYS use a tripod! For indoor shots, with questionable lighting (just about anything that doesn't melt your models at close range), a tripod is a must! It will help the model be in focus and eliminate blurs. The depth of focus will still be limited though.

The white posterboard background still works great - light blue is good to, it helps counteract the yellow from the incandescent bulbs.

And, here's a cheesy little test shot of the black glass method I mentioned earlier - it works much better with cars!


Tim D.

08-06-2003, 04:18 PM
For indoor photos the equipment starts to cost money, sunlight is free, but if you want to do it or have to, this is what I do :

Build a Cube with only 4 sides, Bottom, Left , Right and a Back. Each side being 2-3 foot (600mm - 900mm) this can be made from Ceiling Tiles the polysterene type or MDF painted white inside.

Buy a Studio Flash The one I have is a Potoflash 336VM
This is a bit too powerful for model cars but does work if mounted very high above the cube.

Buy a softbox :
Mine is 600mm x 600mm

Assemble the Flash inside the softbox and place directly over the top of the cube you made.

Set the camera's flash to operate an external flash (this turns off the cameras flash)

Lastly use a tripod

Then snap away.... You will have to play with your camera settings to get it right.

You local Photo shop will help you get the right size flash and soft box if you explain what you are taking pics of.

I don't have any pics of models taken this way to hand (all backup up on CD) but these are HKS adjustable top mounts for my FTO taken using that setup.

Hope this helps

08-09-2003, 01:59 PM
Hey HiroBoy whut are the sizes of ur colored papers?, i wanted to know so i can tell me uncle to get my some at his work, he works for a printing company, so he can get alot of kinds of paper. Thanx

08-09-2003, 04:07 PM
that be help me!!

08-22-2003, 05:20 PM
hey hiroboy,think this one would work?

08-23-2003, 12:25 AM
hey hiroboy,think this one would work?
Yes that's fine the lower it goes the better for model cars.

08-23-2003, 02:28 AM
Well after about a year of saving my money my dad finaly went to the US for a buissness trip and i got him to buy a Nikon Coolpix 5700:

Its a nice 5MP camera and i have been told it has a exelent Macro feature!
My dad also picked up a small tripod for me too!

He will be comming back home (australia) in a week....its going to be the longest week of my life :tongue: :rofl:


08-23-2003, 02:50 AM
Yes that's fine the lower it goes the better for model cars.
nice man.i think it has a range from 2,5 to 16 cm :smile:

Murray Kish
08-23-2003, 10:35 AM
Very nice. That's a serious digital cam and if you can't get good pics out of it, it's most likely the user, not the camera!!

Nikon has about the best macro I've seen on digital cam's. You can get very close no problem!!


08-23-2003, 10:55 AM
thanks fo much for this tutorial,my first test with a 1:43 die cast behind our garage @ 17:40 pm german time...

still a lot more options to test around... :grinyes:

08-23-2003, 11:02 AM
I have a decent digi cam but my pics end up blurred and dark :( but i shall get a tripod and take them outside with the coloured paper. Thanks for that tip on pic taking!

03-18-2005, 11:23 AM
This tutorial is helping alot, and since we are on the topic of camera's, I want to get a new difital camera. I would perfer if it was in the 100-200 us dollar range. Also, I want a macro as close to 1:1 as possible, so if anybody has any suggestions, pm me please. I hope that I will be able to use this tutorial soon with my film slr.

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