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Photographing Models....My Technique

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  • Member since
    December 2003
Photographing Models....My Technique
Posted by CraigDaModeler on Thursday, December 11, 2003 12:34 PM
(I was not sure of the best place to put this topic so I put it here)

I have had a few comments on the photos of models I have posted here. I had posted this techique on other message boards so here it is for anyone here who might be interested. There are several links to example photos as you go along.

How-To-Tip…..Photographing Models Outdoors-My Method….Long Read, but hopefully Worth the Time.
I have received a lot of comments on the photography of my models. While I do not claim to be an expert photographer, I will admit I have been quite satisfied with the method I have been using to get some decent photos of my models and even have some images that could require a double take to realize it is not a 1:1 vehicle. So I decided to share my method with you guys and gals and hope the long read is worth the time for at least a few. I have inserted links to my photo album for those of you who have not seen the photos or would like to use them as reference for your photography.

Probably the one key element to achieve the “1:1 look” is for everything in the image to be in scale. The area I chose to take these photos is a open field with every thing in the back ground at a distance. I have taken photos in the front of my house and while they look ok there are things like light poles, trees, cars, houses, ect that are out of scale.
This link has a few pictures of and example of out of scale background items to be aware of.
http://public.fotki.com/craigdamodeler/60_chevy_pickup/

For my set up I took a small piece of plywood about 2’ X 1’ and glued on some scale gravel I picked up at a hobby store. (I would recommend making it a little larger like ‘2 X 2’). Hobby shops that carry model railroad stuff is a great source for the gravel and come in a variety of colors, materials and types. If you don’t want to get that involved with the surface, there are many other options including painting a board with black and grey primers to get a blacktop look. Use you imagination and available resources to come up with a base just remember what ever you use to keep it in scale. I took some photos with the model just sitting on the roof of my black car and that gave a neat reflective effect.

Another key element is the placement of the model. It should be above the ground. I have read that 3’ is a good height but I have taken lower (just above 2’) and higher like the Starliner and 57 Ford which were on the roof of my car.
Here is a photo of my set up
http://images3.fotki.com/v24/photos/4/48848/363178/P2110046-vi.jpg

Positioning the camera and the angles the images are taken varies. Basically I keep the camera low and close. Think about the angle which you would taking photos of a 1:1 to get the effect you want. I take some right at “ground level” with the camera lens level with the base, with the camera just below ground level with the lens pointing upward and with the camera above ground level point down. Each position gives a different effect. Basically keep the model in the frame with just a little space on each side. If your camera has a macro feature, you can get closer for wheel, fender, bumper and such detail shots.

Photography 101-always try to have the sun behind the camera or at least to the side, pointing the camera in direction of the sun will produce a dark image of the subject as the camera will set itself for the extreme bright light. Depending on what time of day you shoot the pictures, be aware of shadows and glare. Shadows can be a good thing glare is a bad thing.

Well I hope this helps. Again fell free to ask questions if anything is not clear. Here are links to the models I used this method on. The 57 Ford has some examples of the model on the roof of my black car as well as the gravel base.
http://public.fotki.com/craigdamodeler/outdoor_photos/57_ford_fairlane_500/

The Mustang Mach III was sitting on a green towel I thought would give a grass effect but is an example of a base a bit out of scale and off color but that can be rectified with a photo editing program.
http://public.fotki.com/craigdamodeler/mustang_mach_iii/

And finally the 60 Starliner which many of you have recently seen and but is the one that prompted this post.
http://public.fotki.com/craigdamodeler/in_progress/60_ford_starliner/completedalmost/

I hope for those of you who took the time to read though this long post have got something out of it and I look forward to seeing some of you giving this a try.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or additional tips to add.
Craig Naquin 'Nawlins, La "If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ till you do succeed” Curly Howard
  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: TRENTON, OHIO
Posted by FIREMODELMAN on Thursday, December 11, 2003 3:42 PM
STICKY THIS...STICKY THIS...STICKY THIS... STICKY THIS... these are valuabe tips, and i'm sure MOST of us on here can use this, THANK YOU GRAIGBowBowBowBow

https://www.facebook.com/Dave-Parsley-Custom-Scale-Emergency-Lights-182990715659739/

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Dayton, OH
Posted by mach12003 on Friday, December 12, 2003 11:15 AM
Craig, I do appreciate your time and effort spent to post this information. It will be very helpful to all of us on this forum....

Thanks again,
Eric
Eric Cole More Pics Here: http://photobucket.com/albums/y197/justdande/
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 12, 2003 6:04 PM
Thank you very much that is great information will help alot of people I agree sticky this pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!
  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: TRENTON, OHIO
Posted by FIREMODELMAN on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 4:12 AM
STICKY, STICKY, STICKY, PLEASE , PLEASE ,PLEASEBowBowBow

https://www.facebook.com/Dave-Parsley-Custom-Scale-Emergency-Lights-182990715659739/

  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 1:08 PM
I triple agree, this should be STICKY!!!


Great work Craig!!!

Thank you for sharin!!!!


AWESOME!!
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 7:07 PM
WOW! thanks for sharin' the pics and most of all the tip. thank you so much!!!!!

jared
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:53 AM
That is just a great tip. And thank you for taking the time to explain it all.

Urnhardt3
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 9:04 AM
This is an awesome tip.
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 15, 2004 9:21 PM
Thanks!
  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Fairfield, Ohio
Posted by Drackopolis on Monday, March 15, 2004 9:41 PM
What kind of camera do you use for these pics?

My Mavica is incapable of clear pics like that due to it being a Floppy Disc type deal, and its pretty old as far as digitals go so it isn't that great. it was free though and it was part of my sevrence package from my recently eliminated position, lol.

So, i'm kind of sort of in the market for a new camera providing i get my but into another job within the next 3 months.

Any suggestions you can offer for a low budget killer camera? (say $300 or less)
Rev. James D. Baker www.bakerministries.org
  • Member since
    December 2003
Posted by CraigDaModeler on Monday, March 15, 2004 10:22 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Drackopolis

What kind of camera do you use for these pics?..........

Any suggestions you can offer for a low budget killer camera? (say $300 or less)


I have had my camera a few years now and you can get an even better product than what I have a lot cheaper these days! I will direct you to a recent post covering this topic since I am not up the latest in digital cameras.
You may inquire about more info from someone in the know from this topic thread:
http://www.scaleautomag.com/sca/community/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3446


Hope the photography tips help!
Craig Naquin 'Nawlins, La "If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ till you do succeed” Curly Howard
  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Illinois
Posted by hot ford coupe on Monday, March 15, 2004 10:42 PM
This is a good technique. I used to do stuff like that with my aircraft models. Now I know how to do it with cars. Thanks
I'm hopelessly addicted to building models. Not finishing them, just building them.
  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: CA Gold Country foothills.
Posted by mishalah on Monday, March 15, 2004 10:49 PM
Drack;

The problem with the Mavicas is their relatively low resolution. I finally gave up on mine for doing model pics, even though I have gotten some very good pics of my 1:1 cars...sporadically.

I just bought a Toshiba M700 on Ebay for $260 ($282 with shipping). I haven't fired it up yet, but I'll see if I can figure it out and post some pics. If it's a good one I'll let you know. It has 3.2 MP resolution, which is not as high as a lot of good digitals, but it also has a 10X optical zoom along with the digital zoom (my wife insisted on that). It doeasn't have the convenience of the floppies like the Mavica, but I don't see many using that anymore. If it downloads the pics easily (a must for me), I'll let you know that too. I think the price was right, but it's only right if the camera does what I want when I want, and without a lot of hassle.

"Help me....I've fallen and I can't get up."...my models are crushing me. my pics: https://public.fotki.com/dallas916/

  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 7:44 AM
Craig - thank you very much !! As I haven't, yet, tried to take any photos of models, this will certainly help when I do. I'm waiting for the tax refund to buy a digital camera - probably either a Kodak, or an HP. with either of these brands, I can get about 5 mp for about 300 bucks...........
  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: cen. Cal. coast
Posted by lacquerjack on Friday, March 19, 2004 3:29 AM
Just bought my first digital camera, a Canon A80 that Andy suggested. Haven't a clue how to use it yet so deeply appreciate you taking the time to put these up. Love the scale gravel, it definetly looks real. I must admit, I spent most of my time looking at your cars. Beautiful!!!!!!!!! Incredible engine detail. Is that a pocket I see in the passenger door of the '57? Great, original idea. You sure know how to make them look real. Two thumbs way, way up.Thumbs UpThumbs UpBowBow
  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Watertown ny
Posted by gratch73a on Friday, March 19, 2004 6:50 AM
A big New York thank you craigdamodeler. You sure have your thoughts together on this stuff. Thanks for posting this.
  • Member since
    December 2003
Posted by CraigDaModeler on Friday, March 19, 2004 6:55 PM
Thanks all of you for your too kind comments! BlushBlush

Just remeber this, I did not invent any of the stuff I learned, I learned it from other modelers too (well I did learn general photography else where). I will be very happy if I can help even just one other modeler!

Lacquerjack, just read that manual witht he camera in your hand and you will be able to pick up at least the basic stuff real easy!
Craig Naquin 'Nawlins, La "If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ till you do succeed” Curly Howard
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, September 2, 2004 2:04 AM
Craig's technique, illustrated . . .

Shot with a Sony Cyber-Shot 2.0 Mega-pixel on top of a garbage can (about 4' of the ground).

http://www.bigscalemodelers.com/bsm/main.cfm?fuseaction=gallery&view=displaygroup&groupnum=272&back=yes

The Camaro shots below were shot a a local park on top of my car just as it started to rain . . .

http://www.bigscalemodelers.com/bsm/main.cfm?fuseaction=gallery&view=displaygroup&groupnum=258&back=yes

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Canada
Posted by hct728 on Saturday, September 4, 2004 1:18 PM
Have you seen Tim Ahlborn's truck pics:

http://tahlborn.web.aplus.net
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, September 12, 2004 12:58 PM
Having been in the trucking industry for 15 years, and having our docks next to CF, I must say, that is incredible modelling and photography. I would be hard pressed to guess that wasn't a picture of the real thing!!
That being said, I wonder if photography could be it's own topic soon? There sure seems to be the interest, not so much the posting of pics, but the basics and how to's, the placement of the camera, lighting, backgrounds etc..
I have been playing around now for quite a bit, taking pics, different settings, auto, macro, lighting, etc. etc. and I'm learning, but about half my shots are still too fuzzy. Thank goodness it's just a matter of deleting the pic from here. This could become expensive otherwise, and yes, I love my digital camera!
just MHO, Dan
  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Canada
Posted by hct728 on Thursday, September 16, 2004 8:00 PM
Hey dawhitt, let's see some of your pics!
  • Member since
    May 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, September 17, 2004 7:51 AM
Digital cameras take great pictures and are so handy. Just keep experimenting with different settings. Take several photos of an item with multiple settings and then note the results.

I always try and shoot the shot from a height that it would be shot in scale. That way it looks more realsitic.

These were all shot on a cloudy day (normal in Washington State). The Mustang was shot on the backside of a cork bulletin board; others on craft store posterboard.





  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Canada
Posted by hct728 on Friday, September 17, 2004 7:56 AM
Looks like you got the technique nailed down. I guess all that's left is to "dirty up" the road surface, that is IF you want a dirty road surface. The subjects are nice, too. Did you leave the Mustang's lights on? The headlights and side marker REALLY look like they're on!
  • Member since
    December 2003
Posted by CraigDaModeler on Friday, September 17, 2004 10:48 PM
Nice job on the photos Steve! The builds are awesome!!
Craig Naquin 'Nawlins, La "If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ till you do succeed” Curly Howard

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