Digital Photography Advices. Size and Quality. Photographic study and light

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Digital Photography Advices. Size and Quality. Photographic study and light

Post  Jose A. Azorin on Tue May 05, 2009 11:50 am

Some months ago a guy (I think Tancred Cassar) asked for some photographic advices to improve the quality of the model pictures. In this sense, I would like to share my experience like photographer with you. I apologized for my bad English, so please moderators feel free to edit the messages.

1. Size and quality
The digital cameras offer the possibility to choose the size of the picture, it’s to say, the number of megapixels, and the quality of the picture, it’s to say, the quantity of compression of the image: from the RAW or TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) formats, without compression and with the maximum quality possible, until a high compression that reduces the size of the file but its quality too, like the GIF or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) formats. Regardless of the size of the image, always shoot with the maximum quality possible, this way you get a JPG image with a compression ratio of 1:4, it’s to say, with a few lost of quality and sufficient to publish it without problems.
With regard to the quantity, the number of megapixels is directly linked with the resolution of the image. The resolution of the computer monitors is 72 ppi (points per inch) and the recommended for printing is 300 ppi. This means that the image of 1600x1200 pixels at 300 ppi from a camera of 3,2 megapixels, can be printed in a size of 13x10 cm. Considering that many time it’s necessary to trim the picture after the framing, the editorial size would be of 12x9 cm, sufficient for the assembly, step by step painting process and details pictures but clearly insufficient for the finished model pictures. Maybe the resolution could be “stretched” but the quality could be affected.
Summary: read the section “Size and Quality of the picture” of the handbook of your cameras. Select ALWAYS the maximum quality. With regard to the size, you can shoot at 1600x1200 for the assembly and step by step pictures, although took the finish pictures at maximum size possible. Besides, can be necessary to trim the pictures, so remember in this case is better big than small.

2. The photographic studio and the light
The word “Photography” comes from Ancient Greek and it means “To draw with light”. The light, next to the optic quality of our lenses, is the most important thing to get the best pictures. All the rest is secondary.
It seems that the light doesn’t have in the digital photography the importance that had with the analogical one, and that it is possible to take photos in any circumstance. Well, this is not in this way and you realize when the light is good or not in a picture. In the same way, the light necessary to take a picture of a 1/35 figure is not the same for a big diorama of 50 cm (or more). There are a lot of options to illuminate the models, but I will write about the cheapest.
I have a study with three 500W focuses, two laterals to illuminate the sides of the model and one up to illuminate the background. These focuses are really cheap, but have one fault: they generate a lot of heat. It’s better to take pictures with a T-shirt and a cold beer . The light is powerful and hard (much light for a short distance) and it is necessary to put diffusers in front of each focus. I use two A-4 onionskin paper in each focus to diffuse the light. It’s necessary to change them frequently because they turn yellow, even they burnt. It’s important that the lateral focus are not high, to illuminate well the lower hull and the running gear. If you observe model pictures you immediately realize when the focuses are very high because the running gear area is very dark. The three focuses are connected to the same power point with one switch. This way you can easily turn on and turn off at the same time to avoid so much heat generated. Also you can use dimmers switch, this way you can regulate the light. This would be very important in the lateral focuses. I have to try it.
Maybe it’s sufficient with two lateral focuses for small models and figures, but with their low cost, why only two instead the three ones?
There are cold light systems, but they are professional and they are expensive. The use of small light like deck lamps can be good for figures, but not for models. Their light is clearly insufficient and the dominant of that kind of light is grey and sad, meanwhile the dominant of the tungsten light is iridescent and warm. This is like the days. It’s not the same the light of the Nordic countries in a rainy day that the light of an exotic beach in the South Seas.
You can see pictures of this topic in Panzernet site:

Next chapter
3. White balance

Last edited by Jose A. Azorin on Wed May 13, 2009 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
Jose A. Azorin

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Re: Digital Photography Advices. Size and Quality. Photographic study and light

Post  G Cooper on Tue May 05, 2009 11:41 pm

Jose: Thanks for the direction. I really have to get a card for my camera, as it only holds 3 photos at max quality Sad . That's alright though as I can use it for other photos as well Very Happy

Now I really want to see your suggestions on studio (backdrops ?) and especially lighting to improve my photos.

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Re: Digital Photography Advices. Size and Quality. Photographic study and light

Post  john bowery on Wed May 06, 2009 1:13 am

Thanks for the info.

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Re: Digital Photography Advices. Size and Quality. Photographic study and light

Post  Kreighshoer on Wed May 06, 2009 8:50 am

thanks heaps for this useful information jose!

unfortunately my camera is a lousy compact one with not so luxurious setting possibilities! i'll try my very best to get my hands laid on a fuji bridge as best compromise between compact and DSLR! (i would love to have a canon eos! Crying or Very sad )
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