Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:11 PM
Up until recently I have been using the macro setting on my camera (nikon D5000 for those interested) when photographing my works. I was always unhappy with most of the results so i decided to read up a bit and actually try to learn a lil bit. I took some more pics today using what I had learned and i think they came out much better.
Things I payed attention to this time were:
Lighting: Made sure to move the light tent to a good spot and have lights on either side. I also borrowed an LED macro ring that mounts to the front of my lens; makes me look all pro. lol
White Balance: rather than leave it at auto or set it to a preset I set up my lighting and light tent and then had the camera set the white balance based off of the white background. I saved this setting so that I can always go back to it. (does anyone know... will i need to change this if i change the backdrop? If I'm understanding correctly, as long as the lighting is the same - the setting can still be used without the need to change)
Aperture: While I completely love the bokeh effect in most photos I found that having an aperture too small (opened up), and this close up, left portions of my mini out of focus. For the pics below I stopped down to f22 and it looks like it helped immensely.
Distance: I also noticed that on a few photos, if I got the camera too close, the the resulting photo would have a fisheye effect, so here I backed the camera up until i could just get things into focus; however this limits how close-up I was able to get. I do have some of those close-up filters but I';m not sure if i can just slap those on with everything staying the same, and get the desired result... I need to play with them.
Tripod: I found that I absolutely needed to use a tripod here, and i was lucky enough to have a wireless remote to further reduce any potential camera shake.
So enough of that, here are the pics, please don't hesitate to comment or criticize.
- CashWiley likes this
Formerly known as "D"rayla
My CMON gallery
Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:11 PM
Also don't be afraid to noodle around with f-stop, and take notes of how deep your focal field is when shooting macro with different apertures. Try a bit of range-finding using a row of straight pins stuck into a piece of styrofoam, each about 1/2 centimeter behind the next. See how low you can set the f-stop and still keep 5 pins in sharp focus. Once you find that "sweet spot", you can have crisp focus all over the mini and still get good bokeh. I've had pretty good success at f/11.
Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:19 PM
One thing about distance, I like to shoot at about 24-27" away. Just what works for my camera. I do use the zoom on it (physical, not digital), but it's a fairly low megapixel camera so the resulting unzoomed image would be a bit too small.
What are you using for post-processing? I'm mostly using (and learning) the GIMP, I like it because it's cross platform and I use both macs and winders (I'm a sysadmin of both).
In post, rather than scaling the image (re-sizing it for the web); you should first crop the original image and then resize the cropped image to the desired size for the web. If you look at the pics in my recent Show-Off thread, those were originally 2400xwhatever (or so, they were much larger), but the mini was only 10% of the pic, just a wee bit in the frame.
I used the rectangle select tool to select an area around the mini, then used Image>Crop to Selection. Then Image>Scale to scale it to a width of 400. Then I stitched several processed angle shots of the same width into a single vertical image (using Paint, because I still don't see an easy way to do it in GIMP, I'm still a newb with it mostly).
Hope that helps!
edit - Oh, and I'm not sure I care for the light ring, it cast a pretty harsh light.
Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:25 PM
Formerly known as "D"rayla
My CMON gallery
Posted 07 October 2012 - 10:22 AM
Speaking of reference. I just updated my Ogre WIP, which you can find here. Here is a cropped and scaled pic taken in my lightbox:
And here is the same pic in its raw format (linking because it's big) :
That's the power of post. I used to also tweak the white balance in post, but then I learned to set the camera's white balance and it's much better so I just crop and resize now.
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