Learing to Take Better Pics 3

For some time now I’ve been working to improve my miniature picture taking skills.   The best I can understand it, there is some strong voodoo involved in getting a clean shot of a miniature under artificial light using a Canon Power Shot A95.   After much toil, I may finally have the settings I need to take crystal clear pics.   Several references recommend using the AV setting with the aperture set to 9 (my Cannon seems to stop at 8 ) for max clarity of small objects.  With this setting, I find Evaluate: Spot is critical to get the proper lighting on the figures.  The default Evaluate creates a much to dark picture.   The big winner is Drive Mode 2 – what is this cryptic setting?  Timer 2 second delay.  The timer is magic – even with a tripod, the act of taking the picture disrupts the camera.

Pirate natural

pirate with processing pirate processed

examples with different degrees of post processing.

One other function I played around with is the Exposure setting.  Pushing this setting from zero to +1 displayed a washed out, over exposed pic on the camera LCD screen.  However,  once the pic is loaded to the PC, the setting returns a well lite picture.  This function may have some use as a workaround for a poor lighting or to tweak a shot that is proving difficult to light.

Learning links

http://www.nirya.be/snv/ttm/archives/000035.html

http://www.ifelix.co.uk/phomin.html

Update:  converation with John over at Plastic Legions about the picture taking learning curve.

Series:

Learning to take better pics 1

Learning to take better pics 2

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  1. #1 by John on January 6, 2008 - 2:12 am

    Rich,

    Try this-
    Set your ISO at 100, Make your Aperture Small 2.8-3.2, manually adjust your lighting so your exposure, reads “+0”
    Flash off, Macro on, Camera on Tripod. You’ll need bright lights
    (a 100 watt overhead should do the trick) above and here is the trick. Get a hand held light, Like a cheap work light from home depot with 100 watt bulb in it. Hold that behind the camera pointing at your miniature. Snap your Shot. You may need to play with it a bit, but that should take a damn good picture.

    The reason you need drive mode is your shutter is open so long to let enough light in that breathing or even touching the camera is going to make the picture blurry.
    Normally You want aperture set so you get the fastest speed possible
    the lighting is of course always the issue.

    What you’ve got there is pretty good, but with a Macro setting, the right lighting and fast shutter speed, you’ll get alot more detail.

    Check out some of my pics of under the “modeling” label at plastic legions. The detail is sick and I am not even using a white background.

    I use a Canon Power Shot A640 myself, I only started taking pictures on mini’s about a year ago.

    Good luck!

  2. #2 by John on January 6, 2008 - 2:15 am

    Oh and more importantly- those Pirates look great!

  3. #3 by John on January 6, 2008 - 1:26 pm

    Sorry it appears, that 1st line should have read, make you Aperture “large” and tne get “+0” exposure with a fast a shutter speed a possible.

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