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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Still Life, B/W & Experimental Talk
Thread started 03 Jan 2010 (Sunday) 23:35
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Action Figure Photography

 
ChrisMc73
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Jan 03, 2010 23:35 |  #1

Hello,

New to photography, I've had my camera about 7 months now. I'm starting to find an interest in photographing action figures. I thought I might want to photograph action figures still in the package and loose (out of the package) figures, but the more and more I see others photos, I think I like the "art" of photographing them loose, no package.

So I'd like to start a thread here so we can post some of our action figures or small toys and share the setups used such as light tents etc, and of course the lighting and flashes...I'm hoping to learn how to best photograph the toys I want, and use techniques learned here.

So please start sharing some examples, and feel free to share pics and info of your setups too, very important to us trying to learn, and since I'm visual, pictures of the setup are awesome.

I've purchased some foam core boards and other stuff to make a DIY light box, but was also considering buying this...think this would give me some good results with the action figures and toys?

http://cgi.ebay.com ...m2eaa31199e#ht_1853​wt_752external link

Thanks!




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cogliostro
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Jan 04, 2010 03:32 |  #2

THis particular reason is why I buy mint figure loose without package. Because I'll tear it anyway ;) and it gives discount. Anyway I like spawn and x-men figure, but for the price I'd rather save it for my camera gear for now. I only own 2 figures as of now, a wolverine and spawn 95i, 12 and 6 inch respectively.

I've shot both of them, which is hereexternal link, hereexternal link, and hereexternal link. Just a link though cause it just hurt people eyes to post it here. :)

For the setup it's just plain back velvet and 50 watt fluorescent table lamp. But the background is lighter than my liking, because I don't gobo'd it or put the velvet far enough to control light spill, which makes some pattern in the background. I forgot the setup tho, because it's continuous light so I just use live view and take my time to see the result. The result is not that good for me, but considering that I did it long before I know light theory and such, I think it's pretty decent.


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canonloader
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Jan 04, 2010 04:53 |  #3

Chris, I ordered a light tent and light stands last week. They should be out for delivery today. Hold off on ordering yours until I get a chance to test mine out. From all I have seen and been reading, if you have the space for it, [which I do not], then the foam core boards and a large table top will be just as effective as any light tent, maybe more so. In fact, if I had had the space, I would have gone that way first. Also check out a couple of new links in that other thread, near the end. There is a site link that has tutorials on jewlery and other small object photography using light tents that explains how to in detail and has lot's of pictures.

Eduard, you are too hard on yourself. If those are before you learned about light, then your a natural at this. :)


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ChrisMc73
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Jan 04, 2010 09:03 |  #4

canonloader wrote in post #9319899external link
Chris, I ordered a light tent and light stands last week. They should be out for delivery today. Hold off on ordering yours until I get a chance to test mine out. From all I have seen and been reading, if you have the space for it, [which I do not], then the foam core boards and a large table top will be just as effective as any light tent, maybe more so. In fact, if I had had the space, I would have gone that way first. Also check out a couple of new links in that other thread, near the end. There is a site link that has tutorials on jewlery and other small object photography using light tents that explains how to in detail and has lot's of pictures.

Eduard, you are too hard on yourself. If those are before you learned about light, then your a natural at this. :)

Mitch,

Which tent and light stands and lights did you buy? Links?
I'll wait and see what you think of yours. I found a decent 36" light tent on ebay for $22 and free shipping, might be worth it for that deal, I'm excited to get to try these out on my toys!




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katodog
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Jan 04, 2010 09:21 |  #5

Buy one of those pop-up tents on eBay, buy an under-the-cabinet kitchen light, and that's all you need. Depending on what type of final results you're looking for, illuminating from the top of the box with the kitchen fluorescent light will be enough to keep shadows to a minimum, and you'll get even light through the whole box. To keep corner shadows away, you can put pieces of white paper in the corners, and you can also use the paper as reflectors.

If you have a flash or two, experiment with shooting them through the sides of the box. There are plenty of ways to illuminate a light box. Here are a few shots I took with one of those eBay lightbox kits. I don't use the lights that came with it, I use an 18" under-the-cabinet light or one or two flash units...


These were lit by the kitchen light sitting on top of the lightbox...


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IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Byte size: ZERO


These were lit by a flash shot through the side of the lightbox...


IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Byte size: ZERO


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Not action figures, but they will give you an idea of what you can do with different lighting. Action figures will be a bit harder because they'll have little nooks and such that will give shadows, and you'll have to learn how to pose both the figure and the light to get the best look. However, all it takes is a decent lightbox and some light aimed the right way, and you're all set. After getting the setup, it's just a matter of practice until you get the look you want.

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canonloader
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Jan 04, 2010 09:27 |  #6

I bought this kit from Amazonexternal link, because on christmas day, I got a $100 gift certificate from one of my clients, that I wasn't expecting. So I spent it on something I had been wanting.

I bought this cause I do not have a lot of extra space here to set up a large spread or use individual sheets of foam for reflectors. It would just take up too much room I don't have, while this thing folds down into a small carry case. And I might use it as a portable light tent also.

Believe me though, if I did not live in a trailer, and had plenty of room, I would probably have gone with foam boards, all kinds of stands, sawhorses and other stuff that might make the job easier. :)

Anyway, yours is a good price, but still wait. I am sure you want a tent with a close up front and an opening top. If you checked out that link in the other thread, they are selling one that has inside the tent hangers built in that might come in very handy. So hold on and see how mine functions before you spend money you might regret. Mine is out for delivery today. :)

But for sure, I am very excited to get started on learning about light and composition. It's been too cold to go out and dark grey skies even if it wasn't and I am getting real bored. Anyway, when it gets here, I will let you know my first impressions. ;)


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ChrisMc73
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Jan 04, 2010 09:32 |  #7

Thanks katodog, nice shots! I actually will be buying an ebay light tent/box soon, and already purchased two cheap shop flood lights from Home Depot and a couple of CF lights, not sure if they are a good light bulb or not, they are the "daylight" labeled ones, rated as the 100w equivilant or 5500k, think those are good?




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katodog
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Jan 04, 2010 10:03 |  #8

Yes. Any "Daylight" bulb will work. The only thing you need to do is decide how much light you want, 100 watt will put out more light than 60 watt, obviously, and you might find that 60 watt daylight bulbs are bright enough in the lightbox. Of course, it's best to use the higher wattage, because it will give you the best light for exposure and ISO values.

As long as you can shine the light through the sides and top of the box, you should be all set. If you want to see what different light does, buy a regular incandescent bulb and a "Cool White" or "Warm White" bulb and shoot with them. You'll see a difference in color tones and white balance with the different bulbs, and you'll find that the "Daylight" bulbs put off the best light.


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ChrisMc73
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Jan 04, 2010 10:13 |  #9

Thanks Mitch and katodog, I like that kit you bought Mitch. Can't wait to see pics of it setup and some results, will hold off till then before I purchase a kit.

I'll experiement with what I bought already, and glad to hear I pickd the right light bulbs.




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cogliostro
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Jan 05, 2010 07:18 |  #10

Katodog, mind to share what's the background you use, particularly the black one?
I'm curious because it stays dark even when you lit it directly without no reflection whatsoever.


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katodog
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Jan 05, 2010 08:53 |  #11

This is the box I bought (external link), the backgrounds came with the lightbox. It's kinda soft on one side, and smooth on the other. I always shoot with the soft side so light gets absorbed and keeps shadows down. The shots I posted are a bit deceptive though, because I processed to darken the entire image and get the background totally black. The background material picks up a lot of lint and it's a pain in the neck to clean it. I haven't tried throwing it in the washer, but I would imagine it would be okay in there.

However, even with a few lint and dust spots, it's pretty black, and makes it easy to work with under different lighting. Here's a few images of the typical setup for a black background shoot. As you can see, certain angles will show it not to be totally flat black, but it's easy to work out in processing. You can also see how I use the cabinet light to illuminate the box...


IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Byte size: ZERO


IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Byte size: ZERO

The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked - Photographers shoot to thrill, not to kill
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canonloader
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Jan 05, 2010 09:29 |  #12

My tent came with the same sweeps in black and white. It's very strong nylon on one side and some kind of felt on the other, with velcro tabs sewn on to mount it inside the tent. the bad thing is, it's came folded and it looks like I will need to buy a steemer to get it flat again.

I will check out the art supply stores for long pieces of construction paper that will fit the tent also. Might be easier, comes in more colors and there won't be any lint problem. :)


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cogliostro
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Jan 05, 2010 09:39 |  #13

Thanks, maybe that's why there is some part of the knife and gun that go black and blend to the background. I've using velvet but with strong light it usually becomes gray and like yours, it caught lots of lint. Btw just go to your local diy store, and find some lint rollers. It basically is a rolled sticky paper that you roll to the fabric and remove the lint.


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ChrisMc73
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Jan 05, 2010 09:57 |  #14

katodog,

Thanks for the link to your kit, I think I might have found something I will buy.
I already bought some cheap shop lights and CF bulbs, just curious on why some people choose the box vs. the tents/cubes etc...

I'm thinking now, looking at that ebay store this might be what I need;
http://cgi.ebay.com ...5ad40499f5#ht_4679w​t_1166external link

And I'll return my Home Depot stuff.




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katodog
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Jan 05, 2010 10:16 |  #15

That one would be perfect.


The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked - Photographers shoot to thrill, not to kill
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