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I need advice on photographing items. 
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Colonel

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:48 pm
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Post I need advice on photographing items.
Basically, I'm moving in a couple months. When I do, I'm going to eventually re-vamp my Metal Gear display as I have 2 spare rooms and a spare rec room. I've always wanted to find some sort of Metal Gear "museum" type display, but now it's starting to evolve into me wanting to just build it myself. I'm still on the fence about it, and won't decide what I'm going to do until I move in at the end of November. Money isn't the deciding factor, it's the dozens of hours (maybe more) of work involved.

But Anyways, I'm going off track here. Wether I build the display or not, I have decided I'd like to re-do all my pictures in my gallery. No more of my lame cards, no more using a comic boxes to put my items on, no more pink carpet in the background. I may even re-tool my website to be less of a personal collection to more of a general reference to items, but I'll only be featuring items I own. Ok I'm going off track again. Anyways, how can I take pictures that look like this? Are these the result from the photography (renchi has their own studio in the store) or are these enhanced by a graphic editor like photoshop. The watermark I obviously know has been added, but how do I take those low shadow (sometimes shadow free) white background pictures? Any photography advice/links that can help me out? I am willing to build something similiar as I have tons of space and as long as the equipment is in the hundreds of dollars (not thousands) I'm good to go.

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Oh sorry I forgot to mention FUCK RENCHI I'm sure none of that shit above is in stock.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:03 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
heres a link if u feel like reading

http://www.photosecrets.com/tips.html

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:14 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
I think it all depends on the type of camera and other equipment you have. My friend has a badass one that I do photoshoots with, but it cost within the thousands. He has lighting displays/props, and a good computer editing program as well. I think all these have a place in getting the "best possible picture."



And don't forget your tripod!

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:22 pm
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Major
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Isn't the duck clock available at hobbyfan.com?
Always make sure there's plenty of light. Natural light, I find, is best, as the sun is the greatest natural floodlight. If you're doing close-up shots of figures, try not to use flash.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:31 pm
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J.U.N.K.E.R.
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
you can always get a photography product stand (its a white cloth stand that has a bowing of the surface to avoid sharp angles that trap light and make shadows/etc, a friend of mine picked one up years ago and his pictures are nice that he takes for ebay. nothing professional but this makes things much easier.

then you want some good white lights, stand lights, don't cost much at all.

thirdly, just some light card and stands + clips. basically all you need is a white card (maybe get some different light greys) that you can "fill in" the light for a picture. this rids the picture of bad shadowing and whatnot. basically you combine lights and light cards to eliminate the need for flashes and you get rid of glare.

i come from an artistic family, with 3 photographers, so i can see where the best mail order places are for these type of things if you are interested and don't have any art supplies stores in your area.

i live close to an art supply store as well, if you need someone to do some footwork for you.


Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:54 am
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Colonel

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:48 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Hey thanks for all the tips! I'll have to research this alot more. I guess I'm jumping the gun a bit as I won't have the new place until the end of November, but it seems like something I can do. I'll have more than enough space to set up an area.

My father in law has some really good cameras I can always borrow. He's into birds and taking pictures of them so he's invested thousands of dollars in his equipment.

If anyone has a link to what a small setup like this would look like please post it here.

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:35 am
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Major

Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:29 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Heres a few tricks that will FOR SURE help you:

1. KNOW YOUR CAMERA, a lot of people have their camera's for a long time, but it doesn't matter what it is, if you know you camera, you can use it to its full potential.

2. USE LONG-TERM EXPOSURE, this is basically to capture all the details when you have low lighting. All my pictures are Long-term exposures, other than the fact that I didn't want to set up something nice and just used my piano bench to take pictures... its possible to see all the details when you zoom in

3. 5 MP vs 10MP, makes no difference when you are putting your pictures on a site, its because you will be compressing and shrinking the image anyways. Its nice when you want to take picture of something and blow it up to poster sized, but when its on a computer, chances are, your monitor can't reproduce a resolution over 5mp

4. TRIPOD, unless you have a very brightly lit location with not very shaky hands... chances are, when you want to take "product shots" its better to use a tripod or putting your camera on a flat surface. This will reduce the "noise and blurriness"

5. LIGHTING, low light or bright light, it doesn't really matter... it does look a lot nicer when you have a brightly lit location and it seems to take "nicer" pictures. but disadvantage: you get glares on the products, or fading from your flash. when you use low light, it might not be as "IN YOUR FACE", but if combined with LT exposure, you can capture way more details. Also, the whiter the light, the more "clean" it will be.

NOTES:

- by setting up a "white cloth product stand" you will reduce the amount of shadowing, but this also means that you will want a lot of "umbrella flash"... those umbrella things you see professionals use. its because it disperses a flash so it spreads through the whole product.
- never use flash on your own camera, those are really shitty and actually make your picture look worse. chances are, you will see a lot of reflections.
- the more items there are in a shoot, the more chances of glare and shadowing.
- plastic wrap, plastic covers, glass will always almost reflect, by using LT and no flash, it will give you no glare.

my simple and fast setup for my pictures:
- 5mp camera
- tripod stand
- piano bench (even though this isn't the best, im too lazy to set up something nicer)

after you take a satisfying picture, chances are, you want to photoshop it so it looks a lot nicer, such as removing shadows, contrasts and brightness and of course watermarking

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:53 am
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Colonel

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:48 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Hey thanks TSi, again, some more really helpful info!

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:05 am
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Image

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:56 am
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Colonel

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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Wow gixo that's exactly what I'd love to set up. That's a very helpful picture, especially as I've read about the umbrellas but had no clue what the articles were referring to. Man that would be perfect. I gotta sift through ebay for those lights. Anyone recommend what some good search terms would be? I assume "photography light" wouldn't yield the best results. Are there companies that sell a mini-studio like that in a package?

EDIT:

how about a package like this?

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http://cgi.ebay.com/1600W-Lighting-48-2 ... dZViewItem

Or am I better off buying a higher quality backdrop and seperate lighting? What's great about this seller is he lives close to me so I could pick up. Any thoughts on their other auctions? I'd be willing to spend up to a grand on everything (not including a camera) but again I'm not in a rush. It's cool it seems something like this is as affordable as this. I thought it'd be much expensiver.

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:05 am
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
seems like a nice set up their violent. the price isnt too bad either

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:34 am
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Maybe a bit overkill there if you are "only" going to photograph your collection. That Tent look stupid ^^ but a few lights, umbrellas, white background and a tripod would be cool

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:36 am
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Major

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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
I personally think something like gixo is more "DIY" and its a lot more effective in your case.

this is because all the items are quite small, so putting it on a table would be a lot easier to the "user"... esp when you dont need to tripod down that low.


+1 to gixo, that tent looks stupid. esp when you are putting something in there, its a hassle.

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:38 am
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Colonel

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:48 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
Thanks for all the advice guys.

What gixo posted is probably what I would love to have the most. So basically I'd be looking at:

High quality backdrop
2 umbrella lights
2 lights
tripod

Am I missing anything? I may try to find a seller that I can work a deal out with. Small is good. I also collect comics, cards, sports memorabilia, transformers, tons of other video game items, kinnikuman....and then my wife collects completely different things so I think this would be a worthwile investment as I have alot to take pics of.

I'd probably need a new camera as well.

I was thinking something along the lines of this one:

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http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/prodde ... langid=EN#

Maybe a slightly older used one (like last years model) though as I'd like to keep the costs down.

But if anyone has any specific suggestions for camera/lights/backdrop/etc I'd love to see links. As far as watermarking, is there a program where I could just drag-n-drop say 1000 pictures and it'll automatically watermark each one in a designated spot?

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:04 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
If you are getting yourself into DSLR... you will be dying over lenses... trust me, if thats where you want to go, be prepared to pay some $$$

get a cheap beginner body (Nikon D40, D60), (Canon XTi, XSi)
then you have to invest in lens...

after that, you got a LOT of experimenting and reading to do.


as for watermark, chances are, depending on the program you use, you'll need to do it manually, its not that hard, its like like a "stamp"
so like let say after you finish cropping and resizing everything, all you gotta do is like stamp it.

EDIT: just google up auto watermark program or auto watermark software, theres a ton of freebies you can try and play around with.

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:13 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
god dammit do not watermark it!

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Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:31 pm
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Runner

Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:35 pm
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Post Re: I need advice on photographing items.
As for watermarking, you can do that in PS going to File -> Batch, the rest is just trial and error XD.


Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:35 pm
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