Logo
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:33 pm

Forum rules


Remember that picture file size should be no larger than 256KB.
For the full Painting and Modelling rules, visit http://www.druchii.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27440



Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Cameras and the joy of getting better pictures 
Author Message
Malekith's Best Friend
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:36 pm
Posts: 3850
Location: Belgium, Brussels
I was wondering if it would be worth posting about this, but then I thought... Ahh hell.. let's do it! Perhaps I might learn a few tips from the feedback I'm getting.

We all love to look and make beautiful miniatures, report on our battles and so on. A large part of the hobby is the visual focus of it. We have tutorials about making lightboxes and tricks to improve the image quality. But I find very little on the actual hardware to take pictures. At best, there's an apologetic "sorry, took the picture with my cellphone".
Granted, the quality of smartphone cameras has improved a lot.

Anyhow. I used to work with my own digital camera, which I had acquired in 2005. It's the one I used for my painting logs. I had to work a lot with lightning and take 20 pictures to get 1 right. But it worked, and it was enough for a while.

But as I tried to play more actively in GW Brussels and with friends, I couldn't help but feel the quality was ... inadequate. Here's a sample image from one of the tournaments.

Image
(links to the album)

I was really disappointed with the pictures and almost wanted to delete the whole album.

A similar tragedy was true for family pictures. I didn't want to see the childhood of my kids fade away without "some" decent pictures to remember it by. I don't want to end up like my dad, whose face turned into a camera at every family event (after the initial greeting), but having no decent picture of my kids at all wasn't satisfying either :)

My love for miniatures was an additional motivation to spend an army's worth on a new digital camera (I went for the Canon 750D). My biggest criterium was a camera that could handle the difficult lightning which seems to be so common on miniature events.

Anyhow.. I'm not going to ramble endlessly about the ins and outs of the machine. The results speak for themselves.
Image
Shot at Crisis Antwerp, of a 30K display board.

To get a fairer comparison, I went to the owner's facebook page for a comparison shot.


Image
This is one of the owner's close-up shots. I think he used his smartphone.. Already he gets a better quality than my old digital camera, but you can see the struggle with the contrast of the shadows and bright surfaces.
Granted, it were difficult circumstances for good pictures.

Here's my close-up shot:
Image
I can't say I'm good at this, but the camera handles the lightning just as I hoped it would.
Even so, I must admit I was impressed by the quality of his smartphone images ;)

So far, it's proven a real joy... So much that I'd consider going to events just to take pictures. It made me wonder, if anyone else shares the fascination and passion for taking good pictures. What is the hardware people are using and has anyone else considered upgrading their camera to get better results?

_________________
I love me a bowl of numbers to crunch for breakfast. If you need anything theoryhammered, I gladly take requests.

Furnace of Arcana, a warhammer blog with delusional grandeur.

"I move unseen. I hide in light and shadow. I move faster than a bird. No plate of armour ever stopped me. I strike recruits and veterans with equal ease. And all shiver at my coldest of whispers."
- The stiff breeze


Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:56 am
Profile WWW
Corsair
Corsair
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:00 pm
Posts: 8620
Location: Hag Graef
Great new camera indeed! 2nd pic is outstanding, love!

Now, the light and the camera is not all.
The software behind is very useful to change a meh pic to something great, by eliminating unuseful portion of the pic and correcting light and color.
I used to love Photoshop, but as greedy as I am, I turned to freeware instead and am now happy with PhotoFiltre 7.

Most importantly, good pics are pics which tell a story.

First pic, not only is yellowish, but more importantly, you cannot distinguish any model's face (they show their back), and you have the dice and the human arms spoiling the picture. What message does this picture carry? Two guys playing a wargame indoor. No message from the models themselves. Meh.

Second pic, perfect! Front, there is a superb model, in a great attitude threatening more foes on the right, mud on the paint telling how badass veteran it is. Background, a giantic modle, telling how more badasses roam the battlefield. The pic is just as large as needed to show well the models and not more, the light seems natural, the contrast is good, just great!

Third pic, bad angle, you see the edge of the table, all models face left with no visible foe, the front tank model is blurry, it tells no story.

Forth pic, much better. The flying model is neat, and is threatening you! the background is blurry and tells how bloody the battle is. You could cut the top 10% and the right 20% for an even better story.

-=-=-
Final secret to make good pictures:
Trash all pics which are not "wow". Really, trash them.
Ask yourself how many pictures would be fine showing without boring the viewer (20 is fine, 30 at most). Then select your 20 best (or even less). And trash the other ones.

This said, I have very, very little pics to show from battles, so you may well place me in the "do what I say not what I do" category.

_________________
Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}


Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:06 pm
Profile
Malekith's Best Friend
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:36 pm
Posts: 3850
Location: Belgium, Brussels
Thanks for the tips :)

I do try to be selective. I tend to delete 2 thirds of my pictures right off the bat, on the camera itself. I shoot a series and filter immediately. Then I put the remaining on the computer and delete another 50% based on quality, sharpness and details. Then... I try to select a top 3/7/20 depending on the event.
I should look into software to improve the images. I haven't played with that yet, mostly because I'm afraid I'll ruin the colours or make them less genuine. It's still a learning process for me. I'll check out that PhotoFiltre.

_________________
I love me a bowl of numbers to crunch for breakfast. If you need anything theoryhammered, I gladly take requests.

Furnace of Arcana, a warhammer blog with delusional grandeur.

"I move unseen. I hide in light and shadow. I move faster than a bird. No plate of armour ever stopped me. I strike recruits and veterans with equal ease. And all shiver at my coldest of whispers."
- The stiff breeze


Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:03 pm
Profile WWW
Chief Cultist
Chief Cultist
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:45 am
Posts: 1913
Location: Being tempted by the Cult of Pleasure!
Nice photos - my favourite part of games day a few years back was snapping photos of all the models on display, great to look back over them afterwards.

I use photoshop mostly for cleanup.

_________________
http://www.cultofkhaine.com

PLOGS by CultofKhaine
Corsair Ship
Cult of Khaine
Drow Themed Dark Elf Warhammer Army
Armies on Parade Board


Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:36 am
Profile WWW
Chosen Babe of Slaanesh
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 10:20 pm
Posts: 2625
Location: Wales
Though I use Photoshop 6 a lot for basic image editing (because I run Linux and Photoshop 6 works flawlessly under Wine in Linux), I feel that if the picture needs a lot of fiddling with, then it wasn't right in the first place. Good lighting coupled with good technique is FAR more important than having an expensive camera. Phone cameras are extremely good these days but they will only yield great results if the lighting is good. Don't use the light / flash on the camera as it will introduce lots of glare and will bleach out all the colours in the image (this goes for "real" cameras as well as phones).

If possible use a soft light source. If you have a window nearby then you can't beat natural daylight, though it's extremely variable and can be hard to get consistent results. Daylight lamps (these days cool white LED lamps are pretty good and run cool and use very little power) with some sort of diffuser are a decent substitute that will allow you to shoot at any time of day or night. Proper photographic diffusers are available really cheap on ebay these days but you can get great results with a white sheet in front of the lamp - if you're using incandescent, halogen or any other type of bulb that gets hot, be careful not to place the sheet too near the lamp, lest it may catch fire. Halogen lamps are especially dangerous as they run hot enough to instantly ignite most flammable materials on contact, and any diffusing material should be at least half a metre from the lamp. LEDs run very cool by comparison for the same light output so should not be a problem as regards heat.

When it comes to the camera, your biggest problem in taking pics of minis is going to be depth of field. That is, the ability to keep the front and back of the model in focus at the same time. Because you are going to be shooting close to the model, this is a problem, as depth of field is proportional to distance, so the closer you get, the more restrictive the depth of field will be. Nothing you can do about this - it's the laws of physics being a pain. However, one good method is to set the camera for its highest possible resolution, then shoot from further away. Because you have increased the distance, the depth of field will also be greater, and the higher resolution will allow you to crop the part that you want from the resulting image without it ending up thumbnail-sized.

If you're using a "real" camera where you have control of the lens aperture, then you should set it for the smallest aperture possible (ie. the highest f-number - most cameras will go at least to f8 and upmarket ones may go to f16 or higher) The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field, but the tradeoff is that this allows less light into the lens and therefore your image will be darker. You can compensate for this by using a slower shutter speed (ie holding the lens open for longer to increase the exposure time) and/or by increasing the lighting. Be aware though that slow shutter speeds can result in camera shake and blurred images - a tripod is invaluable in cases like this.

Where you are using a smartphone, just set everything to highest possible quality and shoot from far enough away to get the required depth of field. It takes practice but once you have it right it'll be dead easy.

So in summary;

1... Good lighting - bad light = bad picture no matter what sort of camera you have
2... Know your camera - learn how to use it to its best effect. The tools are only as good as the person using them
3... Practice makes perfect

Here's a really good article on quality miniature photography
https://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... ature.html

_________________
The Dark Princess
High Priestess of the Cult Of Pleasure


Give yourself over to absolute pleasure
Swim the warm waters of sins of the flesh
Erotic nighmares beyond any measure
And sensual daydreams to treasure forever


Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:10 am
Profile
Malekith's Best Friend
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:36 pm
Posts: 3850
Location: Belgium, Brussels
That was a great link. I only read it quickly, but it covered so many things!

This video might echo a lot of what you said, but I found it really helpful and impressive what the creator achieved with his "camera":

_________________
I love me a bowl of numbers to crunch for breakfast. If you need anything theoryhammered, I gladly take requests.

Furnace of Arcana, a warhammer blog with delusional grandeur.

"I move unseen. I hide in light and shadow. I move faster than a bird. No plate of armour ever stopped me. I strike recruits and veterans with equal ease. And all shiver at my coldest of whispers."
- The stiff breeze


Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:45 pm
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 6 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software