Model photography questions


When selecting a new camera do be sure that it gives you the ability to control both shutter speed and f number. Don’t overlook the USED camera section of many good camera stores. This can save you hundreds as opposed to buying a new camera and it will still get you the control you desire.

Again even on your current camera selecting a higher ISO should give you some degree of improved depth-of-field.

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I will definitely look out for that when I buy a new camera.

Would picking a medium ISO be a good balance, then?

Does your camera possibly have settings that look like an icon of a “running person” and also a “sun and mountains” landscape icon.

What these settings actually tell the camera:

The Running Man: = Hey camera, this is going to be an action shot with fast movement in the picture so please favor the higher shutter speed settings."

The Mountains Landscape: = Now camera, this will be a more sedate, slow moving shot so please favor the slower shutter speeds BUT ALSO use a larger f stop number (smaller lens opening) because I will need greater depth-of-field for this shot.

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Rogue, Sorry but you missed the point here - if you choose the HIGHEST ISO setting available on the camera this will cause the metering mechanism to select faster shutter speeds but also smaller iris settings giving you the increased depth-of-field you desire.

This is sort of a way to lie to your all-automatic camera to still get the finished results you want.

But in photography it is always a trade-off of one thing for another, so you MAY end up getting more noise (grain) in you photos than you desire. Experiment and see. In all likely hood the higher (or even the highest) ISOs won’t give you any problem as long as you are only making small print enlargements (8x10 or smaller) and/or you are only publishing your pictures on the internet.

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A reminder: your camera lens with give you the LEAST depth-of-field when used at it’s maximum CLOSEST focusing distance. It is often better to back up a little, focus at a greater distance and then crop in on the subject later using GIMP.

Here I cropped in on your photo. I also lightened the mid-tones ever so slightly and increased the contrast just the slightest bit. Try the “Curves” tool found under “Colors” on the top tool bar in GIMP. You will love it!

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It does have a landscape mode, but it does not allow for changing the ISO.

So “noise” isn’t much of a problem? Understood. I’m only really publishing these photos to the internet, so I guess it will be fine, then.

Thank you for your patience, sir. I appreciate your help.

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Using “Curves” as apposed to the “Lighten/Darken” tool in GIMP:

The “Lighten/Darken” tool (sometimes called “Brightness”) lightens or darkens EVERYTHING in the photo whereas with the “Curves” tool you can choose to L/D just the dark tones, or L/D just the highlights or just the mid-tones. *

Samples shown here are intended to be extreme examples:

*p.s. Lightening the darks and darkening the highlights as in this last photo, is what they call a form of extended exposure range.

The Beauty of using “Curves:”

If you were to use the simple “lighten/darker” tool it applies the tool to everything in the photo so lite details disappear into pure white and very dark details disappear into sold black.
However; with the “Curves” tool you grab the middle of that sloped line to lighten or darken JUST the mid-tones while the dark end retains almost all its’ original values. Same with the white (lite) tones.
This allows you to maintain your lights and darks without loosing detail there while strengthening the mid-tones.
EXAMPLE is the bottom image. You are actually expanding the dyanamic range of the image while maintaining the original light and dark details.

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So let us assume your camera is in “Running Man” (Sports) mode as the default. Selecting the “Landscape” mode will tell your camera to use slower shutter speeds and higher f numbers, which is exactly what you are wanting here for your model photography.

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I’ve taken the photos, and the landscape mode photos turned out better than the high ISO (on the more manual/program mode) ones.

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We spoke earlier of using a third broad light to place highlights and edge lines on your subject.

In this photo I wanted to illustrate my technique of “refinishing” these America Flyer Hopper Cars. They are molded in a matte black plastic that accumulates a lot of small surface scratches. What I am showing here is that a fresh coat of matte clear spray will eliminate those minor scratches creating an entirely new surface to the model, making it look almost brand new.

The photographic point I am trying to make here is that I used that extra light to create a broad highlight reflection over the entire side of this Hopper Car to show both the new surface and the now complete absence of scratches. (This is exactly the same technique I used for years shooting the black plastic Square D circuit breakers in the studio.)

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Post removed by author: :steam_locomotive::steam_locomotive::steam_locomotive:

Ah, I see. I guess you already caught it, but the program/manual mode on my camera allows ISO adjustment, while the landscape mode does not. The camera is a Samsung ST30, if you’re interested.

Question: Does you camera have an “A” and an “S” setting?

One means “Aperture Preferred” the other means “Shutter Preferred.”

In the “A” setting the camera may let you select an aperture setting and then the camera will choose the proper shutter speed to go along with it.

So you would then select a high f number (8 - 11) but then your camera is going to select a SLOW shutter speed so for this you probably need the camera on a tripod.

No, not this one. I have a larger camera that probably has those settings, but it’s old and the batteries are finicky. In addition to that, I’m leaving for college soon, which will be overseas, so I’d like to see what I can do with this current smaller camera for now, as it will likely be my only camera in addition to my phone for a white.

This is one of the photos taken with the landscape mode and the lamp to the side.

Me thinks you have arrived! Looks extremely good!
(All I did was crop in on it this time so we can see your nice model work even better.)

Next Experiment: Now try moving that third light in a little closer to perhaps make it look like the guy is riding facing into the setting sun. If it works this might be a good time to use that warm white bulb.

p.s. Have fun in Europe!

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This is still without doing any cropping or editing, so I might just edit a little bit of color, as you suggested earlier.
Then I want to crop the full side-on shot of the two pieces together in a 2:1 manner so that I can get a cool effect of one photo spread across 2 Instagram slides. (although I have exams and a few papers due in the first 2 weeks of May, so they may have to wait.

Maybe when I finish the diorama, I’ll do that.

Speaking of diorama bases:

Showing here my recent discovery at the LHS of these realistically beautiful base mats distributed by MIG and seen elsewhere on KitMaker. (Made by Model Scene.)

So here is an Allied White 666 cargo truck that has been converted to a semi-tractor.

Instant small diorama. (These things are almost cheating!)

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This? These look cool. Would definitely be neat for taking photos with a basic ground pattern.

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I have finally gotten around to editing the photos! (Exams are over)
This is my favorite shot out of them all:

I need to figure out how to stabilize my phone when taking such low-angle shots.

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Just a Reminder:
It is almost always best to have your camera in landscape mode when shooting your static scale models. (Unless you are ready to go full manual!)

This essentially tells your camera “the subject is not moving, so camera, I want you to select a slower shutter speed and a higher f stop number, to give me greater depth-of-field”

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