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Flamehawke

Tips on taking a good picture?

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Alright I seem to have trouble taking decent photos of minis. I have a Nikon Coolpix L10 and I have trouble getting it to allow me to take a close up shot of any mini. I want to see if anyone has any tips on how to get in close without the picture blurring on them.

 

This is something I really want to master so I can post my minis and show them off to people who will appreciate the hard work that goes into them.

 

(Edited for spelling)

Edited by Flamehawke

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Without more specific input on what you are trying, if the camera is in full auto the thing troubling you is focus. You just need it to focus!

 

With today's cameras you don't need to zoom in too much, or get too close. It is better to take a photo where the mini is... like 1/10th of the actual picture, well in focus and with lots of light, and then crop out the sorroundings. With a 10MP camera, you still got plenty of definition in your mini's picture.

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A strong source of indirect light or a light box might also help.  You can improvise a light box out of a milk jug, I think, so cost really doesn't need to be a limiting factor. 

 

Also, if your camera has a macro mode (should be a flower icon) then that might help as well.  I've got a Canon PowerShot that's a good few years old now and it takes okay pictures when I can get the lighting right. 

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I do have macro it looks like on my camera. It is only a 5 megapixel camera, but I do think I can figure out the macro mode. Also can figure out light boxes. Light is something I can get in a consistent manner and I am looking to build a light box after I move.

 

Update: I tested macro mode and it did what I needed. Thank you so much LittleBluberry! I never knew that is what Macro Mode is for. I learn something new about photography every time I reach for my camera.

Edited by Flamehawke
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macro mode is good, best if you have good consistent light, which it sounds like, is not a problem. The other option,and the one I prefer is to take a picture from farther back and than use a photo editor to crop it down to what you need. Either way works just fine. What you will need though to get consistently good pictures, is a tripod or other stable surface for the camera so that it doesn't move. At the size and detail of the average figure, a bit of motion can amount to a lot of detail loss and fuzziness. 

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I will have to see about that once I move. Right now I work hard to ensure I don't shake the camera much, but it is hard. As for light. Yeah, that is not a problem. I have so many lamps that I use to help light up various work areas I can guarantee a good light no matter what.

 

Hopefully this thread will help others having an issue or need advice as well. As I noted I am always learning something new about photography and doing it with minis is a way I had never done before at all. I usually do landscapes and nature type pictures. So I am having to learn a lot of new techniques for taking pictures of miniatures.

 

It is proving useful though for documenting colors in case I want to replicate something I did for my friends.

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depending on where you are taking your pictures, if you don't have a tripod find something to rest your arms against, a chair back or something like that to help take some of the natural shake

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Honestly. I currently am trying to use my desk somewhat and lean a bit. Some of it will come with practice I know as my nature picture looked horrid. I am trying to apply some of what I learned for balancing and steadying to this. I think the use of something to rest my arms will help a lot. I think I can arrange that easily with just a few adjustments.

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A tripod and the self timer worked wonders for me early on! You get what you want on the viewfinder, set the timer, push the button and step away! I have been obsessive in my pursuit of good pics, and I think I've finally gotten to what I like and I can accomplish with the equipment I have. You can see my evolution through my WIP's, specifically over the latest minis when I finally got a Galaxy s5 upgrade making the pics quick and convenient. I've still got to drag out the lights for when I want quality pics though. 

 

I ended up purchasing an Ott desk lamp from Michael's (go 40% off coupon), a couple of those large (and annoying!) clip on lights from Lowe's, along with Ott light bulbs to put into them. I can throw a lot of light now, so I added a (big, huge, way too much) light box to the repertoire, and I THINK I'm where I want to be. Please note I did this over several months...I can get obsessive about things.

 

BUT yeah, Tripod and Self-Timer! These will help you immensely until you decide where you want to go with your pics. I'm sure there's someone out there who never takes pics of their minis, but I don't know how they manage! LOL! 

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Honestly until recently I never thought to take pictures of them. I thought of it when I realized I was moving and if I want to replicate any paint jobs I did for friends or my roommate then I will need pictures of them. I am obsessive though about my pictures and want them to look at their absolute best. I have access to photoshop and taking a class on it for Graphic Arts so I can clean them up. The things is I want that all I have to do with the picture is crop it and maybe sharpen it.

 

I have to get to the point where I can get all of that, but after my move my sister is thinking of hiring me to watch the kids for the summer. It will mean some money which will likely go straight to a photography set-up in house and to improving my painting tools.

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Sweet! For cropping and enhancement, I just use Picasa by Google. I have Photoshop, but Picasa boots, crops, and enhances in a jiffy! I know a lot of people use a program called Gimp, but I don't have any experience with it.

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Best other thing you can do is a tripod or not touch the camera. Even a stack of books works well my pictures got a lot better when I set the camera timer and let go of the camera

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If you don't want to spend money on a tripod (I use and recommend tripods for nearly all miniatures photography), you can use a bag of uncooked rice to stabilize the camera. It's a bit trickier to get the camera just right, but it's really inexpensive.

 

As to a light box: I recommend not using one unless you know exactly why you are using it. They tend to encourage putting light on the top and sides of a miniature rather than on the front, where you need it.

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This is a great topic, I am just starting to photograph some of my minis, and they were turning out a bit blurry....looks like I need to find my tripod.

Edited by Sanwah
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