Saturday, April 2, 2011

Taking better pictures with cra...inexpensive equipment

Since I am on a tight budget, I decided to figure out a way to take decent pics with my junk digital camera.  I have found that there are two key factors to getting good (well better) pictures with your digital camera: a steady shooting point, preferably a tripod that you can attach your camera to, and good light.  With these two things, you can do a pretty decent job taking pictures of your minis. 

Let's first talk about your camera.  I am working with a Canon Powershot A1000IS.  It's a cheap 10 mega pixel camera, nothing special.  I do two things to it when I take pictures of minis, 1) set it to "macro" or close up mode, and 2) turn off the flash.  When that is done, I am set.

To show you that I don't have an especially nice setup, I took a picture of my ghetto-rig picture studio. Here it is:

 As you can see, it isn't anything nice.  If it were up to me, I would have a nice high res, quality camera, a light box, and some proper image editing software.  As it stands, I have two desk lamps, a sheet, and a foamcore board to hold the sheet up on.  It works.  You don't need anything special. 

As you can see, one lamp is positioned to aim light down on the model, while the other is tilted to shine at the side you are trying to capture.  It also doesn't hurt to have a nicely lit room to work in either.  Light is good. 
 As you can tell from this shot, having a background is always nice. If you don't, sometimes the facial recognizers (is that even a real thing?) in the camera latch on to something in the background. I really like the blue as it makes the models stand out.  This is, of course, unless the model is an ultramarine, then I would use white or black.
 You can also see that the background doesn't have to be neatly laid. The wrinkles and folds add texture behind the model and allow it to stand out. 

Take a minute to compare these pictures to the pictures I previously took without the lighting and background aid.  I can see a big difference. So, again, just because you don't have super nice equipment doesn't mean you can't take quality pictures.  You just need to work with what you have.  I hope this helps some people out there.  I know that I constantly get frustrated at poor pictures, so anything that helps the model stand out clearly is nice.  Thanks for reading this tutorial. 

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