Author Topic: DINO-FIGUREs PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )  (Read 10877 times)

RobinGoodfellow

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DINO-FIGUREs PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« on: July 03, 2015, 12:01:30 PM »
Talking with some members of the forum, I decide to open a thread about figure photography (aka taking photos of our beloved dino-models the best way possible and technically correct).
As a photographer, I think there are 3 areas of interest:
1) To light and photograph little/medium sized model
2) Taking pictures of big models with ambient light
3) tips & tricks about digital camera, settings, lens…

In the first post I'll try to explain the best way (..for me..) to light our dino-models.
( Since now I beg your pardon for my english.. ??? )
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 01:31:16 PM by RobinGoodfellow »


RobinGoodfellow

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2015, 12:03:22 PM »
On my opinion the best way to light our dino-models  is using the still-life photographic  technique in a smaller scale.
The most important tool is the Soft Box.
You can buy one or just decide to build one yourself.

There are many on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phot-R-Professional-Studio-Coloured-Backdrops/dp/B00II2KYSK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1435833380&sr=8-8&keywords=Portable+Photo+Studio

The left, right and upper face of the box is made of a semi-trasparent, white material (like heavy silk) so the light can walk through them.
This material works as a diffusion filter so the resulting light will be without dark shadows.
The Soft Box is highly portable









The Sof Box uses Velcro to fix each face of the box in position.
Using Velcro you can fix a white (or colored) background into the box.





In the second post I'll show you the lighting technique

RobinGoodfellow

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2015, 12:05:29 PM »
The most important thing in lighting is choosing the right source.
If you'll use a wrong light you'll have a picture with figure's color different from what you see with naked eyes.
The color of a light source can be technically measured in KELVIN degrees.
A complete discussion about Kelvin is beyond my intentions; if you are interested in there's Wikipedia (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature ).
All you have to know is that the natural daylight of the sun is 5600 KELVIN.
In the Philips catalogue you can find the right (and not too expensive..) lamp with a color temperature near to 5600 Kelvin





As you can see in the specifications, this lamp has a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin ( 6500K ), near to daylight ( 5600K).
Philips neon works very well.

You'll need 3 Philips lamps for the left, right and upper face of the Soft Box.
First of all we need almost 2 square black+silver panel with Velcro to fix the lamp to the Soft Box.







Fix the 2 ( or 3, as you like it…) panels to the Soft Box with Velcro.





JOB DONE!!!!



THE FINAL RESULT:



If you like this thread, I'll post the next step as soon as possible

Have a nice day

docronnie

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2015, 02:58:33 PM »
We have almost the same design of light box. Thanks for the tip on the lights. :-)
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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2015, 03:33:52 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread, Robin; this is interesting  and useful stuff! I'm always looking for ways to improve my photos.

Arul

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 05:27:04 PM »
Thank you Robin  :D lighting is the key of photography my father said that

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 08:59:26 PM »
Great thread, bookmarking it for later reference! Thanks for the info.

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2015, 09:03:55 PM »
I've never heard of these soft boxes. A bit elaborate but interesting, especially for dark winter days.
I'm using no subtle technique for my photographs - daylight through an open skylight (the best one is my kitchen window with a white fridge to the right and white cupboard in the back), differently coloured cardboard for background (the larger the better), focusing the model and ... *click*.
Lighting is of course very important (from a technical point of view), even more important to me seems to be the eye of the photographer and the decision where to focus on.


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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2015, 05:39:06 AM »
Before,  I used to shoot indoors,  using the light box with 2 table lamps. Lately,  I’ve been shooting outdoors, but still using the light box. I only use kit lens of my Nikon D40. Thinking of buying macro lens,  extension tubes or close-up filters in the future.

I recommend Magbook The Essential Guide To Close-Up Photography. Helped me a lot, to re-learn the things I’ve learned from 2 photography courses before.
Keep The Magic Alive and Kicking! :-)

RobinGoodfellow

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2015, 07:52:34 AM »
I've never heard of these soft boxes. A bit elaborate but interesting, especially for dark winter days.
I'm using no subtle technique for my photographs - daylight through an open skylight (the best one is my kitchen window with a white fridge to the right and white cupboard in the back), differently coloured cardboard for background (the larger the better), focusing the model and ... *click*.
Lighting is of course very important (from a technical point of view), even more important to me seems to be the eye of the photographer and the decision where to focus on.
I totally agree with you.
The most important things in a photographer are the eyes and his/her decisions.
But that's the creative way to photography.
Unfortunately nobody can teach to someone to be creative.
So in this thread my way is more technically oriented.... ;)
I hope my tips will be useful.  :)

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2015, 09:52:23 AM »
In the first post I tried to explain a simple way to light your dino-models.
There are also circumstances where you can't light a figure because it is too big or just you have no lights.
If you are lucky it's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the light is perfect and you can shoot a wonderful picture.
But always is not.
Or simply you have a picture with a too-bright-sky and too-dark-shadows while the dino-figure is ok….
On my opinion the High Dynamic Range (  HDR ) technique is perfect for that.
You can get perfect pictures with HDR and nowadays is quite simple.
What is HDR?  Here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_imaging

HDR pictures I shoot:





Same picture WITHOUT HDR

« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 09:46:08 AM by RobinGoodfellow »

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2015, 09:54:05 AM »
For an HDR picture you need:
1) A digital camera with manual mode ( or with an automatic mode called BRACKETING - see the technical specs of your camera for that- )
2) A solid tripod ( a tripod is not necessary if you are shooting outdoor with the automatic bracketing mode; but without a tripod you'll have some limitations…)
3) A software like Photoshop ( or an HDR software like Photomatix Pro or EasyHDR )

( BRACKETING:  http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2012/11/13/bracketing-explained-what-you-need-to-know-about-maximising-detail-in-your-photos/  )

In High Dynamic Range photography you have to take different shots of the same scene with different exposures and merge all pictures in a so called "Tonal Mapped" image by a specific software.
First of all, put your camera on a solid tripod (it's very important NOT to move camera between shots).
Select the MANUAL exposure mode on camera.
If you're taking pictures of long, big dino-models select a f/8 or even closer iris stop on lens (so you'll have better depth of field and the model will be ALL in focus).
Now select a proper exposure time on camera; you should start with something around 1/50 sec and see the result. If the picture is too bright or too dark, select a different exposure time (1/100  ,  1/250 , 1/25 ) until you'll find the perfect exposure time.
Take a picture with the perfect exposure time and delete all other shots.
Now you need almost 3 other shots with increasing overexposure and 3 with increasing under exposure ( you can even decide to have a wider range and shoot 4, 5 or more pictures)
An example:  perfect exposure time is 1/50; you'll have to select 1/100 and take a picture; then 1/200 and take a picture ; then 1/400 and take a picture. Now you have 3 pictures with different under exposure.
Same in over exposure: 1/25 then 1/12 then 1/6 .
Now you have 1 picture with perfect exposure, 3 with under exposure (darker) and 3 with over exposure (brighter).
Use Photoshop to merge all images ( a tutorial   http://photoshopcafe.com/tutorials/HDR_ps/hdr-ps.htm  ).
Now you have an HDR image with Tonal Mapping inside Photoshop.
You can use all Photoshop tools to increase color, bright, saturation and so on...
Then export the result in 8 bit Jpeg image: job done!   ^-^
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:09:28 AM by RobinGoodfellows »

RobinGoodfellow

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2015, 09:55:35 AM »
An example of HDR technique: The Sideshow Mosasaur.
The Sideshow Mosasaur statue is too big to fit the Soft Box at my home.
I can't take it at the pro studio and light it properly because I'm scared of damages during the travel.
So i decided to proceed with HDR.
I took 14 shoots of the Mosasaur with different over and under exposure.
That's the result:



The same image of the Mosasaur before compositing  into an HDR



Have a nice day   :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:33:46 AM by RobinGoodfellows »

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2015, 03:48:58 PM »
I'll have to try the HDR. My phone has a setting for it; maybe it will help with photographing tall/long sauropods. It's very annoying to have only a small part of the model in focus. Thanks for the tips!
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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2015, 06:40:45 PM »
Great tips. I've had my fair share of struggle with photographing my dinos. Mostly because I don't have the best camera and also, because of light sources and space. I tried to make a soft box once, but it didn't work so well. Now I just tape a white background to a little cabinet in my computer desk and take my photos with two sources of light. One if the window to my right, thus natural sunlight. The other light source is exactly one of these:


In order to soften the light, I taped a few paper sheets around the lamps. The negative part of my setup is that I usually have to hold the light over the figures with my own hand. This is a problem when I have to photograph big dinos. Then I upload the pictures to my computer and tweak it a bit on photoshop. Here's a couple of examples of my final pictures.



RobinGoodfellow

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2015, 07:52:33 PM »
Great tips. I've had my fair share of struggle with photographing my dinos. Mostly because I don't have the best camera and also, because of light sources and space. I tried to make a soft box once, but it didn't work so well. Now I just tape a white background to a little cabinet in my computer desk and take my photos with two sources of light. One if the window to my right, thus natural sunlight. The other light source is exactly one of these:

In order to soften the light, I taped a few paper sheets around the lamps. The negative part of my setup is that I usually have to hold the light over the figures with my own hand. This is a problem when I have to photograph big dinos. Then I upload the pictures to my computer and tweak it a bit on photoshop. Here's a couple of examples of my final pictures.



Your pictures are beautiful.
Most of the pictures you posted in V1 and V2 forum are in my personal photo archive as reference for rare dino-figure.  O:-)

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2015, 09:03:56 PM »
Your pictures are beautiful.
Most of the pictures you posted in V1 and V2 forum are in my personal photo archive as reference for rare dino-figure.  O:-)

 ^-^ ;D I'm happy to know that my pictures are of use!

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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2015, 03:04:59 AM »

If you're taking pictures of long, big dino-models select a f/8 or even closer iris stop on lens (so you'll have better depth of field and the model will be ALL in focus).


I'm a bit confused here.  What I know is to have a wider depth of field (to have your subject all in focus), you either move far away or adjust your camera with a higher F/number meaning a smaller aperture. Is this what you mean, because this knowledge satisfied the thing I was looking for in my photos?  BTW when you use those lights, do you adjust your white balance to "Sunlight or daylight"?  Thanks for all the tips! :)

I love your photos too, Ikessauro. What camera are you using, if you don't mind?  Do you use macro lens, extension tubes or close up filters? I might have to learn to use Photoshop.  All my photos now are in manual, tinkering with the F/number and length of exposure, like what Robin is imparting right now. I try the best I could to eliminate the shadows, which is why I want to try placing a light source on top of my light box.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 03:07:05 AM by docronnie »
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Re: DINO-FIGURE PHOTOGRAPHY ( Image Heavy Thread )
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2015, 06:43:01 AM »
I have the same lightbox, rarely use it though ! Always take my figures outside...
I use a Nikon D300 with various lenses, and a Fujifilm x100 the most.