Jump to content

Help me use my new lightbox!


aku-chan
 Share

Recommended Posts

I got one of those portable photo studio things over Christmas, it's helping improve my pictures but I still can't seem to get them quite the way I want them.

As an example, here's the mini I've been working on:-

 

nRTWmB.jpgIru9Wy.jpg

 

Picture one is with the lamps laying down, pointing at the mini from a 45o angle. 

I like how the details are brought out in this one, but it bleaches the colours and it makes the mini too shiny and plasticy overall.

 

Picture two is with the lamps standing up, pointing down at the mini from a 45o angle.

In this one the mini is much closer to how it looks in hand, but a lot of the detail is lost in shadows.

 

(I should point out both images have been run through GIMP to correct their white balance.)

 

Any pointers on how I can achieve a happy medium between the two? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 16
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

try a third light in front..  eliminate as much of the shadow as you can.  if the mimin casts a distinct shadow move the lights around until that goes away.  and make them closer and maybe 20 degrees instead of 45

Edited by robinh
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mine is in this post: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/34149-how-to-make-a-cheap-light-box/?p=641083

 

I still use the same old box I made long ago, but I don't use the top light anymore. I should try adding that back in for models with details that cause shadows in the center...

 

So my suggestion, which Doug Sundseth generally disagrees with :) is to put a second lamp on the other side of your first setup and add a backdrop. I've tried everything Doug suggests, but nothing looks better (to me) than my current setup.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darker background. Camera at belt level (of mini). Lights firing level with or slightly up at mini. Lights firing through diffuse side walls.

 

Stand the mini on a pedestal—if there is no ground there is no ground shadow.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice guys!

 

Had another play around this morning:-

 

6B90WE.jpgTuFT7b.jpg

 

Getting there slowly.

Pic 1 is 3 lamps pointed directly the mini, I built a little stage inside my light box to raise the mini up to the level of the lamps (they don't like lying down) and that seems to have corrected most problems, but it's still a bit too bright and bleached out.

Pic 2 is Cashs set-up, this worked really well despite going against everything I've read about mini photography! But is still a little dark even after having the brightness and contrast boosted in GIMP.

 

I think Cashs set-up, with a brighter centre lamp and a darker background is the way to go. I'll need to get a new background though, my experiments with the darker ones that came in the kit were not very successful:-

 

Ra1REV.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd bring the lights further forward to get rid of the fairly heavy shadows in the middle. If you look at this WIP pic of Noreth (everything but the skin is base coated so those are real highlights and shadows, not painted), you can see where the shadows from the lights are falling a bit better than on a fully painted mini:

 

Noreth_WIP_3.jpg

 

I pretty much put the lights so they are even with the opening of the box and angle them in. Right now they're also slightly elevated so they don't point upward.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Things I do.

 

use a tripod

use the timer delay on your camera

2 light setup. one on the left and one on the right.

both lights towards the front of the light box, pointed directly towards the light box.

mini towards the back of the box.

Backdrop needs to be a mid value (not too light or dark)

I use a box under the backdrop to raise the mini up to mid-camera lens level

 

works well for me.

sometimes I adjust the distance between the lights and the box by 2 or 3 inches.

 

It looks like to me you may want to add a third light next to your camera. Not a strong one. If your side lamps are 60 watt then the camera light should be a 40 watt.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the white background in the Cash's setup is forcing the camera to underexpose the mini even if the camera thinks the overall picture is properly exposed.

 

If you can dial the camera settings to overexpose, you'd get a brighter mini for the same lighting, as well as a very bright background.

 

Or you can use a darker background that would give a more balanced exposure.

Edited by Cranky Dog
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the photo with the blue background, your camera is reading it as photography in blue ambient light and shifting hard toward yellow. (Hence the color shift.) If you don't have control over the white balance, use a neutral colored background (white, black, or gray). If you don't have control over the exposure, use a medium tone rather than light or dark.

 

The better photo from the latest batch shows the typical problem of lightboxes: light on the side and not enough on the front. To fix that, move the lights further around to the front of the box.

 

Shadows can be reduced by moving the figure farther away from the background and using larger light sources (which can mean moving the lights closer to the figure or using a larger diffuser if you want to keep the lights far away.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks pretty good to me! Keep an eye on the focal depth, it's something I'm struggling with as a camera newb. Looks like the front of the base is in sharp focus but the back is a bit fuzzy. Like most of my less-than-perfect pics, it doesn't impact it too badly, but it's something to be aware of when you have a mini that's got more front-to-back distance.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

New pic does look better. But since you're not diffusing your key (front) light, you're not getting much out of the lightbox other than a convenient way to hold a seamless background.  ^_^

 

Depth of Field ( often DoF in photography articles) depends on distance from camera to subject, length of lens, and width of opening (aperture). Shorter lenses, longer distances, and narrower (high f/number) apertures give greater depth of field.

 

Good cell phone cameras have very short lenses, often in the 2-3 mm range, which means they can work very well for miniatures photography. But if the total light level is low, they will usually prioritize increasing ISO rather than exposure time, which can result in noisy ("grainy") images. Note that the total exposure (brightness) is effectively independent of the total amount of light ... within limits.

 

Macro lenses on interchangeable-lens cameras usually have razor-think DoF, commonly in the sub-0.1 mm range, which can make them a challenge to use for miniatures photography.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

aku-chan: Please forgive me if I've missed something obvious, but what kind of camera are you using? How much control does it give you over aperture size, exposure time, etc?

Also, can you link us to a picture that you really like so that we can get a feel for what you're trying to replicate?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What the others said, control the depth of field with the aperture (the F2, F4, F5.6, F8, etc.) on the camera.

 

The smaller the F number, the shallower the depth of field. And vice-versa the bigger the F number the deeper the depth of field.

 

For many larger cameras, the sweet spot in between F5.6 and F8 for depth of field and image sharpness. YMMV.

 

Alternatively, you stand further back, but then it's the overall resolution that loses details which is not really a problem in you're posting on the web.

Edited by Cranky Dog
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...