Introductory: Toy Photography Tips

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Hyperoptic, Sep 17, 2009.

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  1. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

    Aug 13, 2009
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    I was wondering how some of you get these amazingly clear shots with white backgrounds.

    How do you set up?
    What do you do for lighting?
    Do you use a Light Box?

    Pics of your lighting setup would be appreciated!
    Any other tips are welcome as well :thumb 

    Metal Chaos posted: I'm just wondering what type of digital camera I should get. I'm not fond of Kodak, what I've been using, looking for a good Canon. Any suggestions on a good digital camera?

    jason jupiter posted: it's all about the lighting.

    some people buy or make light tents but the light isn't strong enough or diffused enough so the pictures don't look good.

    and two little hints is to use a tripod or a stand if you have shaky hands...i just take 4-5 pictures and choose the sharpest ones. and i see a lot of people taking blurry closeups.....every digital camera nowadays has a "macro" function which makes for sexy closeups.

    ignore megapixels and even SLR cameras, you can get really good shot with even a 1.3 megapixel blocky-ass camera as long as the lighting is good and you know a little about the basics of photography.

    i use a collapsible light tent from ebay for $20 and two FIVE HUNDRED watt halogen lamps on each side from home depot, $15 ea.




    mugen_prime posted: For a camera I would recommend a Canon or Nikon. Right now all I have is a Fujifilm Z10. But the next camera I buy will be a Canon or Nikon digital SLR. I think most of the people who have the really nice clear pics on a solid background are using light boxes. You'll also want to make sure you're using a macro. If you're using a regular compact camera it'll be the button with a flower. If you're using an SLR you'll need a macro lense. You'll also want to use different ISO settings for different lighting conditions. A tripod will help a LOT too.

    Slower shutter speeds are harder to get clear images without a tripod or something solid to hold the camera as still as possible. Slower shutter speeds allow more light in for lower light conditions, but also keep the shutter open longer which is why it needs to be as still as possible. Otherwise you'll get a blurry image. Faster shutter speeds are for brighter conditions and you don't have to worry as much about keeping the camera absolutely still. Though a tripod is always best to use.

    Basically good photography is about good focus, good lighting conditions and shutter speeds, stability of the camera, and the composition of the image itself. There's also a lot more you can do with photography, I'm still learning a lot myself. I haven't taken any classes just kinda learning on my own. I'm hoping to get an SLR soon-ish. they're expensive, but there's so much more you can do with them.[/QUOTE]

    Night Flame posted: 1. Timer or remote trigger for your camera. Shutter delay on cameras that have it. With a tripod, these can make your camera perfectly still at the moment of the actual shot, all aiding in better focus.

    2. Lighting. I use three 250 Watters and a light tent. One on top facing slightly forward, one on each side. All pointed diagonally towards the back of the light tent to push more light towards the surfaces the camera is going to pick up.

    3. Know your camera. Even really inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras can take a good quality shot if you give them a chance. Learn things beyond full-auto. White-balance, shutter speed, aperature, focus, zoom, learn how to do manual adjustments. If your camera doesn't allow manual adjustment of all functions, learn to work with the adjustments you do have.



    When in doubt, add more light. You can never have too much if you're going for the crisp background/complete white-out pics. As far as the background itself? Posterboard, leaned against something to create a gradual slope from horizontal to verticle. No seam.

    GogDog posted: Personally I don't care for white backgrounds all that much, as you often have to use Photoshop to get the desired results, and it also often results in washed out colors. You can use less light with longer exposures for great atmosphere.

    I say give colored backgrounds a try. :D 


    process posted: My current setup:

    (1) 19.5" Cube Light Tent
    (2) 100 watt fluorescent lights
    (1) Paper backdrop
    (1) Digital Camera
    (1) Photoshop CS3

    You can see results in my signature. I'm with GogDog; color/textured backgrounds will give your photos more character and less need to Photoshop the white backgrounds to oblivion.

    However, I would say that white backgrounds are much better for documentation.

    Optimus Scourge posted: for the white backgrounds, the most important things to have are:

    1) the "white balance" set right on your camera. You can Google how to do this, there are a couple different ways to do it. most cameras have an auto WB feature that takes a snapshot of your background, and adjusts it automatically. This will drastically decrease the need to over enhance it in Photoshop, which, as Gog said, washes out a lot of detail.

    2) plenty of natural light (no flash), but not so much that you can see the reflection of the bulbs on the toys. I use left, right, front, and top to try to eliminate shadows, and have no need to brighten and contrast my pics.

    3) a Tripod is highly recommended, I would also recommend holding your breath for a second right before you take the picture for best results.

    If your camera can accommodate a remote trigger, they are very cheap, and you can get some really great results, a lot of them have the option to hold the shutter open as long as you want. While that isn't really necessary for toys, it is a great feature to have, especially for outdoor night shots.

    I use the white backgrounds for the Galleries I do here, but I prefer a colored or dark background for almost everything else.



    Death333 posted:
    Hellsceam = Death

    I'm eventually going to get into colored backgrounds but for now my work on the site demands white so that's how it is until I get all the necessary holes filled in from my collection.

    ShockWave_AZ posted: My lightbox I made from a cardboard box and put tissue paper over the 3 sides. Cheap and highly effective. My setup goes as follows:

    1. Canon Digital Rebel Eos
    2. Tripod
    3. Wireless remote control for the camera
    4. Desk lamp from Target - 3 of them (one on each side and one from the top)
    5. The bulbs I use are Energy Saving Natural Brite White Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb I got from Home Depot
    6. Backgrounds are different colored cardboard from a craft supply store.

    Here are some samples from using my setup:





    Bruticus11 posted: Canon rebel T1 15mp
    2 second timer
    no flash
    white paper

    bny888 posted: tripod + self-timer + macro mode.

    you may also want to use a small soft brush to remove any dust from your toys, they show in extreme close ups.[/QUOTE]

    Crimson Primus posted: Clean desk, Macro mode+manual mode and lighting.






    I do not use photoshop on any of my photos.

    gargunkle posted: My setup is probably the same as others.

    light box/tent - mine is homemade using PVC pipe, tissue paper, poster board for the backing/ground. The lighting is just two 100w-intensity fluorescent bulbs and some other random clamp light I had sitting around.

    camera - I have a Canon powershot A560. I think it was around $130 when I bought it. It's nothing fancy but it has a macro mode and timer. I put it in manual mode, adjust the color to tungsten (to offset the yellowish fluorescent lights I use) and adjust the brightness up a bit within the camera itself.

    tripod - one of the little bendy ones that sits on the table, not on the floor


    ShockWave_AZ posted: The other plus is that its a cheap setup. You can get away with the lightbox, backgrounds, bulbs, and lamps for under 50 bucks.

    Optimus Scourge posted: Tungsten setting, I forgot to mention that, both points you made can make the world of difference, I did my pics exactly like that for years until I got my SLR

    You can then get other things with the money you save on a tent setup :) 

    GogDog posted: If you have a lot of light, and they still coming out underexposed like that, try adjusting the exposure on your camera.

    Optimus Scourge posted: We all start somewhere, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. I had to be told the same thing, and I admit I was annoyed at first, but when I did add the extra lights, I was so happy how the pics came out, I realized that I needed that constructive criticism.

    Good luck, and hope to see more pics from you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2012
  2. Superquad7

    Superquad7 OCP Police Crime Prevention Unit 001 Super Content Contributor

    May 19, 2003
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