1. Formerly Dubkid Corrose's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2005
    Apr 27, 2009, 10:04 AM - Photographing Props #1

    Hey TDHers,

    I was fishing for some pointers when it comes to photographing props.
    I have a pretty decent camera but run into the issues of the flash blowing out painted props I try to photograph for WIPs and to show others. I can correct a lot of issues in photoshop, but one of the first rules of this is if you shoot it right to begin with, there's no need to spend hours touching up something.

    I took photography in college but that was 10+ years ago.
    I guess I'm looking for generic tips. Should I be shooting in natural light with no flash and a tripod? Ive considered one of those $100 white/collapsable photo tent/booth things where you can put lights on the sides and the tent difuses the lighting etc.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    - Chris
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  3. never ending fett's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2006
    Apr 27, 2009, 10:24 AM - Re: Photographing Props #2

    what camera are you using. are you using a dslr or a point and shoot? Do you have the ability to control the flash output? A general tip I would suggest for diffusing the flash on a point and shoot would be to hold a piece of paper either just in front of or an inch or so away from the flash. Also make sure you are using the macro setting. As a general rule you will ALWAYS get better results when using a tripod.
  4. Formerly Dubkid Corrose's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2005
    Apr 27, 2009, 10:35 AM - Re: Photographing Props #3

  5. stormtrooperguy's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2004
    Apr 27, 2009, 1:11 PM - Re: Photographing Props #4

    generally i avoid flash photos whenever i can, especially for close up stuff. a light tent can be bought/built for pretty cheap:

    these make a big difference. i've borrowed them now and then, but eventually will just build my own.
  6. 99centTaco is offline 99centTaco
    Apr 27, 2009, 1:38 PM - Re: Photographing Props #5

    CHeck these vids out. They helped me a whole lot! Plus pointers from Art!
  7. Madrid Boba's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2006
    Apr 27, 2009, 1:53 PM - Re: Photographing Props #6

    i dont know if you have seen my pics from the Star Wars exhibition...

    What i did, instead of using the flash, was to use a tripod. I does work very good. Then adjust the parameters of the camera.

    Hope this helps...


    Last edited by Madrid Boba; Apr 27, 2009 at 2:40 PM.
  8. Formerly Dubkid Corrose's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2005
    Apr 27, 2009, 2:25 PM - Re: Photographing Props #7

    Wow some great replies, thanks guys!
    I love the home-made light box tut, I may make one of those next time Im ready to snap some pics!
  9. Community Founder Art Andrews's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2002
    Apr 27, 2009, 2:31 PM - Re: Photographing Props #8

    A light box can be VERY useful, but as others have said, never use the flash on your camera...

    Can give you more specific pointers if you have specific questions.
  10. Formerly Dubkid Corrose's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2005
    Apr 27, 2009, 2:36 PM - Re: Photographing Props #9

    Well the other specific questions I -had- will be corrected with a light box.
    For example, I have gotten better results taking photos of my ROTJ gauntlets on a dark blue sheet versus a brown sheet....refelctive colors and all.

    A tent will fix that issue.

    On the camera I have, you have limited shooting options. There's an auto, a setting for people, setting for outdoors, and some other generic settings. If you're forced to choose one of these is Auto the best bet, or do you have any recommendations there?
  11. ruze789's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2008
    Apr 27, 2009, 2:42 PM - Re: Photographing Props #10

    I picked up a portable/ collapsible studio from Thinkgeek for 50 bucks. It's a little on the small side (16 inch cube) but it works great for smaller items. Having 2 different lights to manipulate on the sides is very helpful. The mini tripod that comes with theirs is useless though, but I've got a nice one that I use along with my camera's remote. The first time I set it up I spent a couple of hours taking photos because they looked so nice.
  12. CGClone's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2005
    Apr 27, 2009, 3:35 PM - Re: Photographing Props #11

    Im with Art, dont ever use the on camera flash except emergencies! LOL

    Strobist Blog kicks the internets ar$e when it comes to off camera flash and lighting, heres a DYI photobox:

    Stormtrooperguy's Digital Photography School is essentially the same tutorial. Thats an awesome site as well, highly recommended.

    I use something similar that I constructed from that tutorial for promo images at my 9 to 5. My photo gig I would use either a softbox or umbrella and light things a bit differently.
  13. gbeef's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 2008
    Apr 27, 2009, 6:25 PM - Re: Photographing Props #12

    Go outside at about 7 pm or 10am and shoot your stuff in natural sunlight. No flash... or go buy a bay window and do photos that way. Natural light is the cheapest way to get some decent shots.
  14. Chucko's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2008
    Apr 27, 2009, 9:21 PM - Re: Photographing Props #13

    Also for outdoors shoots an overcast sky is your best friend.
  15. Django's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2009
    Apr 28, 2009, 4:35 PM - Re: Photographing Props #14

    im afraid all of my knowledge of lighting/photography was accumulated through trial and error or watching somebody better than me do it. my terminology might be off.

    in case you do not want to use natural lighting, i suggest just buying a few clamp lights.

    you can find them in the hardware section at walmart or any retailer. they cost about $6-$15 bucks a piece. i own about 2 dozen of them. we call them "trouble shooters" on movie sets cuz we use them to eliminate unnatural shadows caused by the cameraman, crew, or equipment. use white light bulbs to avoid a yellowish, unnatural tint.

    using a clothes hanger or some other kind of pliable wire as a frame, you can suspend a diffusing material in front of the light to control brightness/glare. a thin layer of cheese cloth will diffuse the light and keep it from being too harsh or too distinct. WARNING: do not place the cheesecloth too close to the exposed bulb! may start a fire!!

    place one light behind your prop to eliminate the prop's shadow and to illuminate the background. One or two more lights aimed at the front to illuminate the surface of your prop will probably be enough to show the detail you want. depending on the size of you prop, using a white "photo tent" might even help more. it will bathe your subject in white, strong light from all angles and really bring out the details.

    here is an example.

    hope i was able to articulate my thoughts and help some. best of luck.
  16. Formerly Dubkid Corrose's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2005
    Apr 28, 2009, 4:52 PM - Re: Photographing Props #15

    Thanks for the reply and the tip about the cheap wal-mart lights!
  17. Django's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2009
    Apr 28, 2009, 7:25 PM - Re: Photographing Props #16

    glad i could help. hope you can use it.

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