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Photography Tips


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Anyone have any tips for photography other than using the macro function? I know lighting is a big factor, and I have a 6' window in my craft room but my photos still seem a little dark at times. Sometimes the flash helps, but mostly it just seems to obscure details.

I have a point and shoot digital camera that's probably 6-7 years old, so I could stand an upgrade... but what features should I look for? I don't necessarily want to spring for the expensive Canons with interchangeable lenses (remember, I have a kid in college and a mini addiction that eat up most of my disposable income), but would like to get some decent photos of my minis.

I see so many fabulous pictures in the galleries that so often look like the real thing, and I just wondered... what all do y'all do to take such clear, crisp, realistic photos?

(I did search to see if this topic has been covered before but wasn't able to find anything. Perhaps I just missed it?)

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I never had good luck with a point and shoot. Not enough options. I have a digital camera with all kinds of lens and filters.

One thing that might help with your lighting, is to set up a photo booth of sorts. Turn off the flash and use an accessory light. If you have a white or very light background and then use the light as a reflected light, rather than a direct light, onto your object or area, you can avoid some of the shadowing effects that the flash produces and increase your overall lighting from using the whiteness.

I'm doing a terrible job of describing what is in my mind. Maybe someone else can write it up better.

If you think about how a photographer uses a white umbrella type tool to put soft light onto a persons face when they are doing a portrait, that's kind of what I'm trying to describe.

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I found that the best light for me is usually daylight, or a grayish overcast. Natural light will be your best friend when photographing anything. If you can move the piece outside and then work from there, block out light where you dont want it, etc. It may be the best results. I've also found that white-balancing the photos afterward really helps. (you can google a quick white balancing tutorial, its easy, I'm not sure if you have a mac or PC)

Other than that, my only tips are to make sure you have a camera with good focus. I have a canon that I borrow and use, I really know very little about photography.

I would recommend to find out if anyone you know has a nice camera you could borrow, or research them and then look for that camera on craigslist or ebay.

You don't need a super fancy one, and I just the lens that came with the canon and my photos turn out decent.

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I watch the space Im in to see what time of day is the best for natural lighting or interesting lighting for photography in that room. I never use the flash. Im not an expert by any means, I have an expensive Nikon... I never use, I always just take pictures with my iPhone :) Also I might take 20 pictures of something and end up with one or two good ones. Thank Goodness for digital photography!! I really enjoy trying to capture an interesting picture or atmospheric picture..to help me, I edit/crop/filter whatever it takes :) That's one reason I love using my iPhone for photography.. the many, many filters available. Theres one that Tracy (minis on the edge) showed me that will turn your photo into a watercolor painting that looks like it came right out of a story book , its called Waterlogued.

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I believe there was an excellent article on photographing minis in a past issue of the Greenleaf Gazette, but I've just spent nearly a half hour trying to find the Gazettes without luck. Someone please post their location. There's a lot of good information in them that ought to be found easily.

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I remember that article. Try googling *Greenleaf gazette photography*?

Anyway I wanted to show you what the Waterlogued app does if anyone is interested. This is from my Sugarplum cottage. In the picture that isn't watercolored I used a different photography app to focus on the pink rose and let the background go out of focus.

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Thank you, Selkie! I've noticed some of the links are broken, but there are good tutorials there. I'll find the time to go back through the archives and if I find the photography article I'll post it here.

Karin, that app is really neat! I'm going to have to see what Android has that's comparable.

Thanks for the responses, all!

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Okay, I made it back to May, 2009 of the archives with no luck yet. Really glad to know the location of them yet though because there are so many tutorials and interesting articles out there.

I must say that it was sort of bittersweet to read through though. There are so many members that used to be pretty active, but that I haven't seen since I joined last month. I hope they are well and happy (and still mini-ing away!).

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Here is a link to Debs copy of the Greenleaf Gazette archives.

Just keep on scrolling through. There is a ton of info there.

I'm on my tablet and can't copy and paste, but go to the link Selkie posted and click on the link for march 2010. That's where the article is for photographing miniatures is located.

Edit: I'm sorry. I was out on the patio watching them cut up my mesquite tree and typed that wrong. It should be MAY 2010. Here's the direct link: http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/dollhouse_news/MAY2010/dollhouse-photography.html

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Oh, sorry about the broken links in my archive page. We lost some articles when the Dollhouse Universe server crashed and I haven't been able to get my site cleaned up yet to remove the hyperlinks. But the majority still work. For the most, it's easiest to go to the bottom of the page and click on the links for individual issues. One of these days when I can be on the computer long enough, I'm going to go back and add the issue titles. Sorry about it being a mess right now.

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I use my iPhone a lot, and now my iPad as well to photograph my houses. Admittedly, the iPad doesn't take as good of photos as the iPhone, it's harder to stabile, but if I am able to steady it on something solid, it works fine and acts as a huge viewfinder to preview the shot. I then crop and doing any manipulations to the image that I want on the iPad.

I try to NOT use flash. Sometimes I'll photograph things in the evening light for mood lighting, but I usually wait for good daylight. I like to place the house near a window so that the light comes into the rooms, then I rotate the house until I like the light. Or I take the house outside for some shots.

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I also use my iPhone and iPad as it's more convenient to upload on the internet or send through email. Unfortunately, the camera quality isn't too great. The auto-enhance, HDR setting, and photo editing apps do help out a lot.

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My phone has better picture quality than my wonderful digital camera. It's the settings to get the best result that I have trouble with. In real life too though. Lol

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I've taken most of the photos on New England Miniatures, so I have quite a bit of experience. I used to toy with the idea of buying or building a light box, but learned how to get good pictures without one.

Sometimes I use macro, but not always. The light is the key. My table is set up next to a south facing window, but I avoid taking pictures when the area is flooded with full sunlight. If I need to do it then, I'll pull down the blind, which is one of those pleated white fabric ones.

I use a white poster board background. I have a Lights of America desk lamp I often use. It simulates daylight, but if you ask me, it's not as bright as you'd expect. Sometimes I'll photograph something with the light just 2" away from the miniature. Sometimes I use it to counterbalance the camera flash or the light coming through the window. For most people the juggling act I do may be a pain in the neck, but it works for me.

After I crop my picture I almost always brighten it with my Windows photo editing program or Photoshop if you have it. I've found that no matter how much light I have when I take the picture, once it's on my computer screen I feel it needs just a little more brightness, otherwise the photos look a little gray to me.

It's all in the light.

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I have an ancient HP digital camera. The thing is more than ten years old but its the one I use for all of my pictures since I began blogging my minis. I find that the best pictures are in natural light, no flash. The back ground can make the pictures dark so I always use a white back ground which is easy for me since my house is white on the inside. If yours isn't try putting a large piece of foam core behind your minis and/or dollhouse. This should be easy unless your photographing a Garfield. Then you'll need several foam core sheets...lol

The flash really distorts the pictures taking away detail and causing all kinds of funny effects. It also changes the hue of colors making everything look like a color it isn't. Basically flash seems to only work for interior room photos.

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An added point about flash - flash can be your friend if you learn how to use it correctly. If you want to take a photo of a single item ---Back away from it. The nice thing about a digital that you can plug into your computer is, you can take a lot of photos of the same thing with slightly different lighting and from slightly different angles. Sometimes, instead of using macro mode - back away a couple of feet and try using the flash, then crop your resulting photos and see what you get.

I learned how to take pictures of miniatures and miniature scenes by fooling around with lighting and my camera.

This is the first photo I ever published online of a miniature scene around 10 years ago, I guess. The only light is from a 60 watt desk lamp placed right up against the window.

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Grazhina,I will have to ask you which dollhouse magazine it was in,but I first saw this photo of yours published in one quite awhile back,and was so tickled this past year or so when I saw that it was your work that I so admired back then!:)

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We have a Panasonic Lumix, its several years old, and my phone camera has captured some amazing shots as well. but I honestly think its all about natural light and the angle of your shot. I never use the flash because if I do I am always disappointed. I have to wait until midday or afternoon to get shots of my 1/6 scale house its in a western facing room, sometimes I use a lamp to light an area of this house or a hallway so that it looks like light is filtering from one room to the next, and have had good results with this.

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We have a Panasonic Lumix, its several years old, and my phone camera has captured some amazing shots as well. but I honestly think its all about natural light and the angle of your shot. I never use the flash because if I do I am always disappointed. I have to wait until midday or afternoon to get shots of my 1/6 scale house its in a western facing room, sometimes I use a lamp to light an area of this house or a hallway so that it looks like light is filtering from one room to the next, and have had good results with this.

That's the camera I use too. My pictures never look like what my eye is seeing. Guess I need to play around with lighting.

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Adding my two cents. Grashina's advice is on the nail.

Play with macro but expect varied results until you get the hang of it.

you may notice a lot of pictures have just one thing in focus. Often done very deliberately but to avoid this move as far away from the dollhouse as you can and use as much natural light as possible. Zoom in if you need. This will make more of the image in focus. (using a real camera.)

Phone camera's are "pin Hole" focusing cameras which is unimportant other than to say they tend to take ridiculously good photo's of such things as dollhouse's because of this tiny little lens eliminating focus issues ..........and remember Samsung phones rule! :banana::bangin:

Cheers

Glen

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..........and remember Samsung phones rule! :banana::bangin:

Haha... this is so true!!

Thanks for the tips and suggestions, everyone! I'm excited to give some of them a try. Hopefully you'll notice a difference in my gallery photos very soon! :)

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