Art: Photographing sculptures
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Thread: Photographing sculptures

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    Photographing sculptures

    Any tips on photographing sculptures? I have trouble taking good pictures with my digital camera...I am unable to get good close-up photos. Any recommendations on a good digital camera for close-up detail? Also, what do you do for light and background?

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    its not that hard, im doing this now on the project where im working on. but im in a lucky position, we dont use any lights in our engine, just the light out of the textures, so i can use it 1 to 1 and the result is 1 to 1 to the reality.

    why is you unable to get good closeups???and for what do you need it?? how big is this sculpture you wanna do? use a 10 megapixel cam, it should be enough for a sculpture which is not bigger than 3 meters in the high lol

    so , out of my cookbook: do photos in 45 degrees around the sculpture and that if you can so far away how it works, that you get it nearby orthogonal pictures of that sculpture (and dont forget to zoom in ).and about the light, if its outdoor, do this photos on a cloudy day.

    i hope it helps you a bit

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    Quote Originally Posted by stillephonetik View Post
    why is you unable to get good closeups???and for what do you need it?? how big is this sculpture you wanna do? use a 10 megapixel cam, it should be enough for a sculpture which is not bigger than 3 meters in the high lol
    Most of the sculptures are on the small side, about 30cm or less...some small as few millimeters. So that is why I need good quality close up shots that will show detail and texture clearly.

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    that depends on the cam and on the objetive which you are using, a makroobjektiv and a relativ good cam should help.

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    This may not work for some cameras, but the problem I had with taking close-ups was that I never had enough light.

    The best way I've found is to either take pics outside in sunlight or close to a large window. For reference I have a kodak DX6490

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    The first thing to look for in a digital camera is a Macro zoom mode. - It's usually indicated with this symbol:



    This lets you get pretty damn close to your sculpt and keeps everything in focus.

    Light wise - you want good even light all over the place - so get outside, or into a decent big window. Sun makes things look cool - but it's also very bright - too bright if anything and will kill details with glare and plunge the shadow side into black.
    Bright cloudy days are best - although you may need to warm the colours up a little in Photoshop afterwards.

    Another killer is camera shake - I have got a mini tripod, but more often than not, I find a spare bit of wood or a couple of books is more than enough to keep it steady.

    Also - once you get above a certain size of sculpt - especially getting in close, perspective becomes an issue. If you zoom in (optical/mechanical zoom - not digital zoom (which cuts the quality) you can get a bit further back and it makes squares squarer.

    And background - anything blank. Nobody wants to see your grubby computer keyboard!

    Couple of pics I took today of a wip (before I "fix" her...):
    It was cloudy, but then the sun came out. (The cloudy one has been tweaked a tad because it was a bit blue)


    And the high tech studio setup used:


    I hope that helps... because the crap, dark, muddy, out of focus pics that people keep posting really piss me off...

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    Thanks, DuneFish. That was a big help. My camera does have that symbol, but wasn't sure what it is used for. My camera is a Minolta 4.0 megapixels with 10x optical zoom. Wonder if I need something with more megapixel?

    Also, about lighting...if I am stuck doing my photos at night, what kind of lighting would be best? fluorescent? halogen?

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    Your camera sounds fine - you only really need more megapixel if you're thinking about printing big stuff.

    As for night photos - I've had a fair bit of success taping a sheet of layout paper over a halogen desk-light and then using a sketchbook to bounce the light around a bit.

    Took this a couple of months back <goes all misty-eyed...> -


    Play around finding the best set-up - but anything white can be used to bounce nice soft even light at the sculpt. You might need to tweak it in PS a bit more than usual though.

    Also because there's a bit less light - watch out for camera shake even more than usual.

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    Hi!
    Some Tipps :

    Camera
    I think, how many megapixel your camera have is relative to the purpose. If you want to take the pics for the internet, 10mp are simply to much. If you want to print your pics lager, the resolution should be equal to the print with 300dpi.
    For smaller Sculpts, it is importent to have a zoom. Notice that only optical zoom makes a better/sharper pic. Digital zoom has the same effect like scale up the pic with a computer-program.
    Light
    Indirect Sunlight is always good to make pictures if you have no studio-light. Take a white paperboard in opposition to the sunlight. It will brighten up the darker parts of your sculpture.
    Backround
    Take a neutral Backround with a grater contrast to the sculpture.

    I hope this helps a little

    hf

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    In my experience in documenting sculptures, you should always use natural light. Go outside on a clear day set up a plain background (like a cloth hanging, my favorite) and dont do it under direct sunlight otherwise it will be too much light, you have to find a balance. Indoor lighting is possible, but you need two 45 degree angle lights pointing at your subject and the right equipment for that is expensive/delicate. Also fluorecent light will give your pictures a yellowish tinge, while gas based lights will give your picture a greenish tint, its subtle but still there and it can ruin your pictures.

    Hope that helps, good luck.

    Also be sure to set your camera to the highest resolution possible and use a stand, on a time if possible.

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    hi there

    yeah first of all you have to have a high res camera like nikon D200 or D500 or may be cannon 5D. such DSLR cameras make ur work easier and about the lighting condition well you must have a dark room to create ur lights. use shaders and reflectors for the best result of light.

    Last edited by jevalzam; August 29th, 2007 at 04:16 AM. Reason: some grametical mistake
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    Daylight bulbs! Can't believe I forgot about them. Chame's post reminded me.

    Real daylight is blatantly better, but for those night-time wip shots you can't beat a daylight bulb.

    My (current) ultimate quick wip setup (lay-out paper over a lamp w/ daylight bulb and rest the camera on the box in the foreground):


    (and an example - no colour tweaking this time!)
    [60w Dayligh Bulb + 5mp casio camera]

    Of course - if you create something really good which you want to put into your portfolio (or even better a few things), it might be worth getting friendly with a photographer who has a full-on pro set-up.

    Last edited by MikeMakesMonkeys; August 29th, 2007 at 04:21 PM.
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