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Author Topic: Digital Camera & Photoshop tips  (Read 124493 times)
Lt.Dan
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Reply #805 on: November 27, 2013, 01:10:08 AM

Nice lighting setup.  Do you use the flash on the camera or are you soft lighting only?

I have elements and lightroom and I tend to use lightroom a lot more. Elements is handy is you want to do more complex editing but lightroom does almost anything you need to improve photos out of camera.  There are any number of instructional videos on YouTube - I found the bhphoto one really good.  Go go teeth whitening!
Numtini
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Reply #806 on: November 27, 2013, 07:54:41 AM

You can download a 30 day trial of lightroom straight from the Adobe site.

We're far less ambitious, but we were in the same position as you. We previously had point and shoot "bridge camera" (Fuji E900), but we stepped up to a DSLR this year and it's very very well worth it.

As a total newbie purchaser, the camera we got (Pentax K30) was offered with a couple of different kits. We went for the cheapest option 18-55 and my big regret on the purchase was not going for the upgraded 18-135 lens (upgraded quality, not just range). It was amazing out of the box, but when I put a better lens on it (ironically a vintage I got for $69--yay Pentax) it was another night and day step. So as a similar newbie, f you were looking at something like that Olympus, I'd say look at the $500 entry level bodies and then spend the other $500 on a better lens(es).

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
murdoc
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Reply #807 on: November 27, 2013, 12:58:32 PM

Lightroom is awesome. Highly recommend it.

Have you tried the internet? It's made out of millions of people missing the point of everything and then getting angry about it
Sky
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Reply #808 on: November 28, 2013, 01:14:04 AM

Since I can't really fit the t5i or olympus in the budget (I'd probably go Olympus if money weren't an issue, I like the mirrorless speed and a weathertight body), I think I'm going to sit on a t3i pending any BF deals. Without any further deals I'll get a free 32GB card and cheap case plus $30 off Lightroom ($80 total). Since that knocks $800 off the t5i+telephoto or about $500 off an Olympus+kit lens...it will be a pretty dern good upgrade and I can look at a new frame in a few years.

Sky
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Reply #809 on: November 28, 2013, 06:07:48 PM

Nooope, this just in, Canon refurb T5i with the 50-135 STM kit for $630...

Lt.Dan
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Reply #810 on: November 29, 2013, 09:31:09 PM

If you want to take landscape photos you'll find 50mm won't be wide enough but otherwise a good deal.  You'll also find that at135mm the lense is probably going to be f6.3 or so.  Probably not a big deal with you setup but you'll want to use longer exposures rather than bumping up ISO.
Sky
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Reply #811 on: November 29, 2013, 10:11:08 PM

My bad, it was a EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, woops. I also got a refurb EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM for a couple hundred.

Sky
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Reply #812 on: December 02, 2013, 01:06:20 PM

Lightroom 5 is $70 on Amazon right now.

Sky
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Reply #813 on: December 09, 2013, 11:07:41 PM

Hm. Seems the UV filter only fits the 70-300 lens and not the 18-135 kit lens.

Also, damn there is a learning curve to this camera.

Trippy
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Reply #814 on: December 09, 2013, 11:55:32 PM

It's usually printed on the lens what size filter (⌀) it accepts.
Lt.Dan
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Reply #815 on: December 10, 2013, 02:25:51 AM

Hm. Seems the UV filter only fits the 70-300 lens and not the 18-135 kit lens.

Also, damn there is a learning curve to this camera.

Try relaxing just one thing at a time.  From memory I moved to aperture priority first to really get my head around f-stops and depth of field. With you lense there will also be an interaction between minimum f stop and focal length - I'd expect rift to be f3.5 or 4 at the wide end and f6.3 or so at the tele end.  In your set up you should also experiment with white balance.  Also rtfm  awesome, for real It only takes 10 minutes and you'll at least know where to find things when they're referenced in articles and vids.

Good training sites are picturecorrect.com and the bhphoto on you tube.
Numtini
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Reply #816 on: December 10, 2013, 07:52:36 AM

Some guy on Reddit did a course on photography and then put it up on a web page. It was helpful to me, though as a newb I can't honestly tell you if any of it is tilted by opinion.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
Sky
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Reply #817 on: December 10, 2013, 08:56:16 AM

Refurb, I'll have to download the manual and read it on my tv.  Ohhhhh, I see. I did buy the dummies book for the T5i, though and it's pretty good thus far. I also spent some time on the Canon site someone linked here a while ago, to practice with the interplay of iso/aperture/shutter speed so I have a basic grasp of that. I do really need to nail down the white balance, I had the old camera's manual mode manually set to the white balance of my light box but I plan on doing a lot more with this camera in that mode, so I hesitate to do so. I've tried fixing it in both Lightroom and GIMP and results have been kind of meh thus far.

And lest I sound complainy about the learning curve (I am!), the picture quality is luscious...which does highlight my newb settings :)

And I need to dust my house.

Trippy
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Reply #818 on: December 10, 2013, 10:59:08 AM

Get a white balance / color checker card, shoot in RAW mode, problem solved.
Khaldun
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Reply #819 on: December 10, 2013, 12:25:02 PM

Shooting in RAW was the biggest jump in my own photographic learning process. Changes everything.
Lt.Dan
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Reply #820 on: December 10, 2013, 01:39:25 PM

Just to confuse you, most of the time I shoot jpg now.  The main reason is that if I can get everything almost right in camera I can then skip post prod to convert RAW to jpg.  Shooting RAW is raw - the image will need tweaking for contrast, colour, etc.  if I'm just shooting super happy fun shots of the kids or even walk around shooting for web or 4x6 photos jpg is a whole lot easier.  I do recognise that this is a very personal decision and it's one issue that can cause photography forums to implode!

If you thought the camera learning curve was steep, wait till you get to printing!
Sky
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Reply #821 on: December 10, 2013, 01:48:11 PM

My first try was jpg, but I have it set to RAW now. Would a sheet of white paper work until I can get a card thingy? I've got to stop the wallet bleeding for reals.

Trippy
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Reply #822 on: December 10, 2013, 01:58:00 PM

You can try it but the issue with printer paper is that they often have optical brighteners in them which make them look "whiter" which is actually a bluish tint and this will give your images color corrected this way a yellowish tint (to compensate for the extra blue in the white balance).
Sky
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Reply #823 on: December 10, 2013, 02:27:21 PM

It would be multimedia paper I use for paint swatches, but comment noted. I'll play around with it to see if it's better than the mess I've been getting thus far. This pic has been run through both Lightroom and GIMP trying to get the white correctly displaying. I did the tungsten (? incandescent) balance in LR, it's a warm CFL desk lamp; then ran it through auto white balance in GIMP. It's in the neighborhood of reality, at least. It's a more or less white table top and the sleeves are warm bone off-white...

Trippy
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Reply #824 on: December 10, 2013, 02:36:52 PM

Is your monitor color calibrated? Those colors don't look like what you described on my calibrated monitor.
apocrypha
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Reply #825 on: December 11, 2013, 01:02:01 AM

it's a warm CFL desk lamp

That may cause you some serious problems with white balancing. CFL lights often have very uneven emission spectrums, with odd spikes at unexpected wavelengths. You'd almost certainly get more consistent results with a standard incandescent tungsten bulb, but better yet a cheap camera flash.  awesome, for real

Grey cards for colour balancing are dirt cheap - here's a $0.99 one on eBay, would do fine :)  It's the 18% grey one you want, this is called a neutral grey and it's what auto-exposure tries to make everything.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Trippy
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Reply #826 on: December 11, 2013, 01:22:16 AM

Gotta be careful with the plastic cards, though, as they may cause reflections if they aren't matte enough awesome, for real
Sky
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Reply #827 on: December 11, 2013, 09:20:11 AM

Is your monitor color calibrated? Those colors don't look like what you described on my calibrated monitor.

Or anywhere else :)

As far as bulbs, I paint to the CFL. It's a surprisingly good bulb, a warm light (which I prefer) and almost no heat because I prefer to paint with the bulb very close to the model. I don't know the make or model, but I have to find out for when it dies. But for pictures I use a matched pair of Reveal bulbs in reflectors. Camera flash is awful for miniatures photography, it's a pretty specialized set of requirements and there is a lot of bad work being done. Mine with the compact was actually pretty decent, comparatively.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 09:47:28 AM by Sky »

Draegan
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Reply #828 on: December 13, 2013, 01:40:09 PM

Does anyone have an NEX-5N or similar NEX camera along with the 55-210mm lense? Looking at the lense but I'm trying to find people that has it and if it's worth the price.
Furiously
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Reply #829 on: December 13, 2013, 07:41:25 PM

Seems dark Sky.

apocrypha
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Reply #830 on: December 14, 2013, 12:26:06 AM

Sky, can't remember if I've asked this before, but do you have any links to any miniature painters who's photos you really like? We can do some reverse-engineering maybe.

Also, I'm totally willing to take on a challenge. If you were to mail me a figure & tell me exactly how you wanted it to look I'd be happy to have a go, iterate it over email or whatever and give you complete details of how I shot it.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Sky
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Reply #831 on: December 15, 2013, 05:17:27 PM

I'm not calling it, it's way too early in the game as I'm still learning basic features of the camera. Just tough to go from decent pics with the old compact to trying to figure out how to even match that after spending $$$. I went back for a re-shoot of a problem mini, and it does show one place the DSLR shines, with a very wide value shot. Before and after:



So that's a start.

Merusk
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Reply #832 on: December 15, 2013, 05:37:31 PM

I really feel like you should be taking HDR shots and seeing what that gives you.

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Sky
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Reply #833 on: December 15, 2013, 11:17:30 PM

I really feel like you should be taking HDR shots and seeing what that gives you.
That was my intention, but I just went into I think it was CA mode (the one that gives a bit more control than auto) just to see what a more or less p&s shot would look like. Turned out ok so I forgot to take the HDR shot  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

apocrypha
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Reply #834 on: December 16, 2013, 01:49:24 AM

Something occurred to me whilst thinking about this earlier.

One of the possible goals of photography is to use light and shadow to create the illusion of depth in a 2-dimensional photograph. The type of highlights and the placement of them makes our brains reconstruct the 3-dimensional object from the flat image. (Total aside here, but the way our brains do this has recently been in the news with the discovery that schizophrenics do it differently.)

But, that's not what you're after with these shots because you already apply shading & highlighting to the miniatures with your painting skills! So what you want is really soft, even, wrap-around lighting that doesn't create it's own shadows & highlights but instead shows the ones you've applied as clearly as possible. Does that sound right?

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Lt.Dan
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Reply #835 on: December 16, 2013, 03:13:45 AM

I really feel like you should be taking HDR shots and seeing what that gives you.
That was my intention, but I just went into I think it was CA mode (the one that gives a bit more control than auto) just to see what a more or less p&s shot would look like. Turned out ok so I forgot to take the HDR shot  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?
HDR is useful for capturing photos where the lighting covers more than about five stops of light.  Not sure it's really needed in a studio setting where you've got complete control over lighting.

Sky
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Reply #836 on: December 16, 2013, 08:41:59 AM

Dan, I was thinking HDR just to catch the high values of the eyes and hair and low values of the black cloth.

Apoc, more or less. There are two schools, I prefer to see the mini as painted but most of the better painters and award winners prefer a dramatic lighting. To me, this hides some of the paint and there is a debate on this one. Generally a good painter will hold up to in-hand inspection, but I've heard of a few highly-rated (online) painters who's work doesn't hold up in hand (and they don't enter contests, unsurprisingly). Not straight up photoshopping (though I've heard of at least egregious example) but hiding poor shading and blending with dramatic lighting.

If you look at Marike Reimer's CMoN gallery, she favors light backgrounds. But even her darker shots have a nice amount of lighting. She's a professional studio painter, so I'm pretty sure she has access to a studio (probably Dark Sword Minis').

If you look through the Top Artists gallery on CMoN you can get a feel for where mini photography is at. That site has a pretty bad culture of personality, but it is a great resource for phenomenally well painted minis.

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Reply #837 on: December 16, 2013, 02:07:42 PM

I'd try bracketing your shots. It seems like an additional stop of light or two would be helpful.

Lt.Dan
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Reply #838 on: December 16, 2013, 02:21:49 PM

Dan, I was thinking HDR just to catch the high values of the eyes and hair and low values of the black cloth.

That's what the whites, blacks, shadows, and highlights sliders are for in LR. Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?  or just underexpose in camera to get the blacks right and use an adjustment brush in LR to get the whites in the eyes.

Maybe try a lighter background too.  The grey you're using at the moment is tonally very similar to the colors on the mini. A lighter background might help the mini pop.  Alternative put more light on the background and expose for the mini using spot metering - that would blow out the background and make the mini stand out.  Works for portraits but don't know what look it might give here.
apocrypha
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Reply #839 on: December 17, 2013, 12:37:57 AM

If you look at Marike Reimer's CMoN gallery, she favors light backgrounds. But even her darker shots have a nice amount of lighting. She's a professional studio painter, so I'm pretty sure she has access to a studio (probably Dark Sword Minis').

If you look through the Top Artists gallery on CMoN you can get a feel for where mini photography is at. That site has a pretty bad culture of personality, but it is a great resource for phenomenally well painted minis.

Yeah I see what you mean. I think Marike's shots show off the painting really well - the lighting is very even, very soft, and isn't creating it's own highlights & shadows to a great extent.

Lots of the photos on the Top Artists gallery have much more dramatic lighting, which creates a more interesting photograph but isn't necessarily as good at showing the painters skills.

I really want to have a go at photographing some of these now :)

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
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