Thursday, January 15, 2009

From the Desk.... sorta...

I got a question recently about my photo setup, so I figured I'd do a quick post. I would have done this sooner, but eSkarre got started the other night and the model is just so majestic that it instantly sucked up 2 entire evenings... and I only did the base and skin/face/eyes so far! Ahem, anyway...

I've gone through a number of iterations to get to this point. It's important to note that I read many articles on this, and yet my photos could still be better. I'll cover my own plans for improvement later.

First of all, I don't use a fancy camera. It's a fairly simple Kodak camera, not designed for high end work. It has the necessary features though (timer, macro mode, disable flash, auto-white balance). I always use the timer and a mini-tripod when taking pictures to eliminate blur.

Next, I have a lightbox. My first lightbox was a cardboard box where the sides had been cut out and replaced with white tissue paper. This worked fine, but my father (who is 1000x the photographer I am) found a collapsible lightbox for me which I like much better. It also came with a background to use which has worked out really well.

Lighting is the real challenge when taking pictures I've found. The camera doesn't need to be expensive, the background material only takes a little tweaking, and photo software can be found for free online. But lighting can take a long time to refine. I use 3 lights, as pictured here. The real key is getting the right balance of light intensity between the left and the right.

As you can see from the picture, my photo setup is pretty easy to teardown. When we get visitors, my setup has to get torn down so that our visitors have a place to sleep, but the bed does make a really good place to do this. It probably takes about 10 minutes to set up and 5 to tear down.

Well, that's all there really is to it. I also use Google's Picasa for photo "editing", although I rarely do more than just crop images and sometimes a minor contrast tweak. My biggest opportunity for improvement is to replace all the bulbs of my lamps with sunlight spectrum bulbs to improve the color balance. I've also heard a tip to use a piece of white foamcore on one side of the lightbox to improve light fill, but I haven't tried that yet. In any case, happy painting and picture taking!

1 comment:

Nicolai C. Hansen said...

Thank you, I've got to get me a lightbox.