My Tips @n Toy and Collectables Photography


DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#1
I am starting this thread so I could expand and add my amatuer tips to share on Toy Photography (largely 54mm in height) as I go along time to time.

The Product Shots will continue be posted in My Try @ Product Photography - Toys and Collectables


NOTICE: If you see this image
in some of the older posts means I had used up the 10GB bandwidth for this month. I'm sorry these pictures can no longer be viewed until next month where the counter will be reset to zero and the pictures would then appear again. Enjoy !




Here it goes...

Part 1 - Decide What You Want to Shoot (see thread below)
Part 2 - The Camera and Accessories
Part 3 - The Lightings and Support
Part 4 - Behind the Scenes
Optional Gadgets
TIPS - Focus Stacking
TIPS - Using Close Up Filters - How they Come Handy in Close-Up Shoots
TIPS - Image Stacking
TIPS - Color Space Which to Use ? Adobe1988 or sRGB?
TIPS - Calibrating Your Computer Monitor
TIPS - Using Reflectors
TIPS - Get a SECOND Hygrometer !
TIPS - Light Sources - Understanding the Fundamentals
TIPS - Shoot at Lens Optimum Apertures !
TIPS - White Balance in Product Photography - Get it Always Uniform
TIPS - Post-Processing Anime Figures
TIPS - No Monitor Calibration Tool - Use this Manual Tuning Steps, It May Just Work !
TIPS - Photoshop Layering - Combining Layers to Get the Final Picture
TIPS - Windows 7 Color Management Interfering with the Calibration Software After the Computer Recovers from Sleep or Hibernate Mode
TIPS - How to Determine the Total Number of Shutter Count on Your Camera Using Photoshop
TIPS - Shooting Top-Down - Top View (Part 1)
TIPS - Does the PHILIPS BULBS Flicker?
TIPS - NIKON DG-2 EyePiece Magnifier - Does it Work ?
TIPS - How to Focus Miniatures WITHOUT Using the NIKON DG-2
TIPS - Shooting Top-Down - Top View (Part 2)
TIPS - A Simpler Way to Shooting Top View of Toy Models
TIPS - The Lightings - Switching to LED Light Bulbs
TIPS - Post Processing Metallic Painted Model Cars



Shooting Small Toys Tips - Behind the Scenes



Here is how I did it...

BTW I am no expert in this field - the tips provided here are for home enthusiast who like to produce the shoots/images pictured in this thread



Part 1 - Decide What You Want to Shoot



- Decision 1 - Continuous Lighting or High-Key. If shooting Hi-Key you'll need a Speedlite and a soft-box



continued on next post....
 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#2
- Decision 2 - Type of images - Actual Product Represenatation or Wide-Angle
Every type of lens is built for its purposes. If you require a "exact" shoot of the product, a MACRO lens is required. I had tried to use the NIKON 16-85mm DX @ 85mm but find it "distorts" the product







The NIKON 16-85mm DX I shoot only @16mm to produce more interesting wide-angle shoots of the product





Part 2 - The Camera and Accessories

I use the NIKON D5100 for now. For Hi-Key shots I used the PHOTTIX wireless trigger to fire the Speedlite (these don't need line of sight).



Also used the NIKON cabled trigger for a more sharper shot. The NIKON infra-red tigger also works as well if you have one (but it drains the battery of the camera much faster)

Settings used are:
1. Lens VR turn off and use MANUAL focusing
2. Use a cable release and lock the mirror (in NIKON this is call exposure delay which will minimise vibration of the camera to give you the sharpest image)
3. Aperature I use f16 and shutter speed 1/30 (you can try yourself which one gives you best exposure)
4. White Balance set to FLASH
5. Shoot in RAW format
6. Color space is Adobe RGB
 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#3
Part 3 - The Lightings and Support

I used low-cost IKEA lamps. These are sufficient for Figures but for armored tanks (30cm in length) is not enough. ALL lamps used are COOL DAYLIGHT from PHILIPS - stick to ONE brand only for consistency in the lights color temperature



Just bought this lamp (17cm shade) and experimenting for the tanks shooting - yet been tested though




UPDATE: As of JUNE 2016 I had switched from using Fluorescent Light to LED Light for my shooting setup.






Also used 2 LEDs lamps CN-160. These can be bought over ebay and are not expensive compared if buying in SINGAPORE camera shops!



VERY VERY IMPORTANT - use a good tripod for the camera. The free tripod usually bundled with the camera are LOUSY - you can actually see the differences - if your image is not sharp all things doesn't matter any more



 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#4
Part 4 - Behind the Scenes

This is how the lightings are setup from the top view.



Just move the lamps nearer/further from the figures to get the lightings you require.



To prevent flare from the flash in Hi-Key shots, I also used two small boxes to block it (DIY using velvet black coth glued to it) See the differences....



Noticed the unprocessed image is already "95% there" - just some sharpening and you will have your final image.



This is how the final image looks like after Post Processing in Photoshop (resize, sharpening and levels adjust - that's all)



Experiment and Enjoy !
 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#5
Optional Gadgets

I also tried the SPYDER cube to help me get a more accurate color temperature adjustment in Post-Processing. Actually one could also trial and error (if your PC monitor had already been color calibrated) - the cube not very necessary though



Also used the SEKONIC light meter to determine the Exposure settings I should set manually on the Camera. Again one could also trial and error - the meter is not very necessary likewise


To ensure my image color is WISIWIS (what I see is what I shoot) in Post-Processing, I used the "X-Rite Eye 1 Display 2" to calibrate my Monitor. This X-Rite model had been retired - replaced by a newer model.

For me this is an IMPORTANT accessory so I don't waste time tuning my images on a non-calibarted monitor - I get the colors of the product what I intended to show spot on when the images are viewd from PC, Mac to iPhone and IPad :)



The Eye-Fi is a good gadget to have - you can upload wireless the JPG file on an iPAD or PC to review instantly - the RAW filw still is in the camera SD card which could be uploaded to the PC later. NIKON D5100 supports this wireless LAN card.

However you will find this card drains the camera battery much faster...... :angry:
 

DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
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#6
This is how one can use the SPDYER Cube in action. This gadget is not neccessary... I don't use it at all now in my shoots



Using Photoshop levels I adjust until the SPYDER cube bottom BLACK hole is visble, the calibrated final image is below



Comparing the two images, you can see the cube is just a good to have thing only (for my Toy Photography - it may have better use by the professionals photographers)
 

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G-man

Senior Member
Mar 2, 2006
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My House
#7
Thank you for taking the time and effort to share this with us!
 

DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
2
38
#9
TIPS - Focus Stacking

When shooting miniatures as a product we hit what we called DEPTH OF FIELD limitation. From the diagram below the 4 variables 1 to 4 means only 5 cm of the region are sharped and focused - anything outside will be blur which is no good for a product shoot



We can use the tecnique call FOCU STACKING. Take multiple shots at different focus points and then combine them in Post-Processing. For example:


 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#10
Then you "ADD" them together in Photoshop using PhotoMerge function to give you the final all the way sharped image





The final image can be found in my thread here
 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#12
TIPS - Using Close Up Filters - How they Come Handy in Close-Up Shoots

Every lens has a limitation what we know as "Minimum Focus Distance" - the closest you can get to the subject for the lens to be able to focus



In wide angle shooting - in this example 16mm on a DX lens, because of this limitation more of the background is captured rather than the product. I want to capture more of the product so I can have greater flexibility to crop, re-size the image in Post Processing later (more pixels is definitely better than less)



A solution is to use Close-Up Filters to attach to the lens so your camera to reduce this "Minimum Focus Distance" . The filters could be bought quite cheaply from eBAY



See you can get more of this tank just with a +2 filter attached ...

 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
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#13
Also filters can be stacked up - the recommendation is the STRONGEST Filter to be mounted CLOSEST to the lens in below order



However getting TOO CLOSE is not useful if your lighting is obstructed though :bsmilie:

Here's the final image. As you can see if without using Close Up Filter the product captured image/pixel would be too small and I could not not get this kind of resolution and close up details below




Thank you for enjoying this thread...

Thank you for taking the time and effort to share this with us!
Thanks for the effort !
Certainly a very good tutorial in 'Miniature Photography' thanks for sharing :thumbsup:
 

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pinholecam

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 23, 2007
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#14
Very nice write up! :thumbsup:

Nice miniatures btw, you painted them yourself?
Its a rare hobby now with video games and such....
 

DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
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#17
No, I don't have such skill - all these are pre-painted by craftsmen. My skill level is at most paint chip touch-up 1mm to 2 mm in size still can do :bsmilie:

Very nice write up! :thumbsup:

Nice miniatures btw, you painted them yourself?
Its a rare hobby now with video games and such....

nice guide, helps a lot

Fantastic write up!
Thanks for the encouragement - just sharng my amateur photography experiences....
 

DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
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#18
TIPS - Image Stacking

I find shooting shiny metal surfaces are the most difficult as they are reflective. Sometimes you can achieve what you desire in one shot like the metal blade sword below but not every object is that easy



For those I can't achieve in one-shot, I use Image Stacking - concept is quite similar to Focus Stacking

For example the Samurai Helmet below, DOF is OK but the metal blade Head Gear is at a 45 degrees - so to bring out the reflective characteristic of the metal blade Head Gear in 1 shot is near impossible



SOLUTION - Do it in 2 shots !

STEP 1 - FIRST SHOT - get overall product image



 

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DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
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#19
STEP 2 -Get the Reflective Head Gear Shot next









;)
 

DM101

Senior Member
Jul 10, 2010
1,528
2
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#20
Next page - TIPS ON COLOR SPACE Adobe1988 or sRGB.....
 

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