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Photographing LEGO


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#1 Hinckley

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 03:51 AM

I was asked in another thread about my photography setup, so I thought I'd start a new topic and share my techniques and give others an opportunity to comment and share theirs. Admins and Mods, if I've strayed into the wrong forum with this please move it to the correct one with my most sincere apologies.

Anyway, here is what my setup looks like. I use a technique called three point lighting which you can read more about here.

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I've numbered where I placed my lights and where I place three more when I use my softeners in red or blue...

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My red and blue bulbs. Looks like there's been another walrus whacking in hinckleytown...

I set up the shadowbox itself with three sheets of foamcore. I took a regular cardboard box that LEGO was shipped to me in and cut off two of the sides. Then I taped the back of the foam core inside what was left of the box and glued it down with some wood glue:

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So, that's it. I sharpen all my photos in Photoshop and switch the sharpen mode to screen to brighten them up and do basic color correction with the color balance tool (Ctrl + B for PC, Apple + B for MAC).

Foamcore and cliplights are relatively inexpensive. I probably got my whole setup for about $30. The camera was through the roof and so is the Adobe Photoshop software...but the shadow box and light setup are easier to obtain than you think.

I'm no photography expert so feel free to tell me where I may be going wrong if you know and impart more knowledge upon me and the rest of us!!! X-D

better LEGO pics on!

UPDATE 09.18.2007-Just wanted to update this thread with some more tips and tricks:

1. I've noticed a lot of people post pictures at 300 dpi or higher. This uses a lot of memory and bandwidth. To post a picture online, it only needs to be 72 dpi. You can't tell the difference on screen between a picture at 72 dpi and a picture at 5,000,000 dpi, trust me. If you have photo-editing software you should be able to change the dpi. Your camera settings should allow you to take pics at 72 dpi, although you want to keep your camera at 300 dpi if you like to print your pictures...Reducing the dpi will reduce the file size by a great amount!

2. When foucsing your three point lighting, focusing should be done one light at a time. So when you are focusing one lamp, make sure the others are off and that the light you are focusing is either spotlighting or filling the area you need it to...

3. If you don't have the lights or the rig to use this setup (mine is clipped on to the plumbing and gasline in my basement) you can reflect natural light from two points using posterboard or reflect light from lamps using posterboard. White poster board reflecting light from one lamp or window can be just as effective as using mutliple lamps.

4. Color correction-if you don't have photo-editing software and you need to color correct your photos, say they are coming out too yellow, you can use poster board for this as well. Using blue posterboard to reflect light into your shadowbox can reduce yellow, red balances cyan (lighter blues), and magenta balances greens...If you have access to gels which you may find in a theater or photography studio or the theater or photography dept at your school. You can balance color in your shadowbox with colored gels that cover the lights.

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#2 Sinner

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 04:17 AM

Thanks for the tips.

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 12:51 PM, said:

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My red and blue bulbs. Looks like there's been another walrus whacking in hinckleytown...

What's going on here?  X-D





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#3 Hinckley

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:12 AM

View PostSinner, on Jul 22 2007, 04:17 AM, said:

Thanks for the tips.
What's going on here?  X-D

Isn't it obvious?

Jingle Bells,
Sinner smells,
Swamp Monster laid an egg,
Urban Avenger lost it's wheels and
a dragon lies in pieces.


See? I wrote a song about it.  X-D

Actually I feel sort of silly explaining it to you because if you were to simply read below the picture, it says there was another walrus whacking in hinckleytown.

I don't know who wrote that. The very idea that walruses get whacked in hinckleytown is absurd. Our walruses have equal rights and their own anti-defamation league. We certainly don't encourage walrus whacking...

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#4 Sinner

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:27 AM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 02:12 PM, said:

Actually I feel sort of silly explaining it to you because if you were to simply read below the picture, it says there was another walrus whacking in hinckleytown.

I understand what happened, but I just don't understand why. We are a peaceful species.  :'-(  It seems to me Hinckleytown has a security problem. Sinnerton has a large police station; perhaps Hinckleytown needs a police presence boost.





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#5 Hinckley

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:33 AM

View PostSinner, on Jul 22 2007, 05:27 AM, said:

I understand what happened, but I just don't understand why. We are a peaceful species.  :'-(  It seems to me Hinckleytown has a security problem. Sinnerton has a large police station; perhaps Hinckleytown needs a police presence boost.

Great advice! Thank you. HinckleyTown has been run by the Fabuland mafia for way too long. I think a police presence boost would be helpful. Right now all we have is the copmike sig-fig and he's still sitting in the whack-a-fig vig.

Hey what do you do about funding for road repair in Sinnerton? It's become a real problem in HinckleyTown. Let's change that to HinckleyVille. Okay, HinckleyVille from now on. I like that better. Anyway, potholes and lane widening, but the citizens don't want their taxes raised, you know? How can we entice bigger commerce with bad streets?  *wacko*

Thanks again for the advice.  *sweet*

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#6 Shadows

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:46 AM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 01:33 AM, said:

Great advice! Thank you. HinckleyTown has been run by the Fabuland mafia for way too long ... Anyway, potholes and lane widening, but the citizens don't want their taxes raised, you know? How can we entice bigger commerce with bad streets?  *wacko*

Raise taxes anyway. Use the tax increase to pay to have the mafia fill the potholes with any citizens who complain about the increase in taxes. A variety of problems solved with circular reasoning.

As for enticing commerce, legalize gambling. Again, the mafia can help and you'll have a massive influx of tourism, not to mention all of the side businesses that pop up accordingly.

Of course, you'll end up having to rename HinkleyVille to Sin(ner) City and a certain walrus will probably sue for infringement but the friendly and helpful mafia knows how to deal with such problems.

Bucket-whack On!  >:-)

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#7 Hinckley

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:51 AM

View Postimperialshadows, on Jul 22 2007, 05:46 AM, said:

Raise taxes anyway. Use the tax increase to pay to have the mafia fill the potholes with any citizens who complain about the increase in taxes. A variety of problems solved with circular reasoning.

As for enticing commerce, legalize gambling. Again, the mafia can help and you'll have a massive influx of tourism, not to mention all of the side businesses that pop up accordingly.

Of course, you'll end up having to rename HinkleyVille to Sin(ner) City and a certain walrus will probably sue for infringement but the friendly and helpful mafia knows how to deal with such problems.

Bucket-whack On!  >:-)

:-D  :-D  :-D Thanks ImperialShadows. Maybe I'll hire you to run the casino. Do you know anything about breaking legs?

Back on topic, I saw BrickMiner reading this thread and am very dissapointed :'-(  he didn't chime in since his photgraphy of his MOCs is beautiful! *wub*

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#8 Sinner

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 12:29 PM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 02:33 PM, said:

Hey what do you do about funding for road repair in Sinnerton?

Sinnerton just had a new railway station built and it forced us to move the entire town four studs. This has resulted in massive devastation, not to mention ruining a soccer game that has been in play for several months. However, with the train station came a new addition to the town; a food store. Since the only way into the food store is via the train station we have been selling a lot of train tickets but not actually running the trains much. Thus, our town coffers are overflowing with cash.

Perhaps Sinnerton could float a loan to HinckleyVille?





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#9 Shadows

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 01:50 PM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 01:51 AM, said:

:-D  :-D  :-D Thanks ImperialShadows. Maybe I'll hire you to run the casino. Do you know anything about breaking legs?

First rule of debt collection, start small. If you break their legs too quickly, they tend to miss work. Fingers, however, are a subtle reminder to pay responsibly.  >:-)


View Posthinckley39, on Jul 22 2007, 01:51 AM, said:

Back on topic [snip]

There's three words I've never read in one of your threads before  :-P

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#10 Corvus

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 03:28 PM

Thank you for showing us, Hinckley. That's more than I have- I use a bent peice of poster paper in front of the window.  X-O

Could you post the non-edited pic please?

EDIT: What were the red and blue bulbs for?

Edited by Mr. Mandalorian, 22 July 2007 - 03:31 PM.

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#11 Grand Moff Viceroy

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 04:30 PM

Looks professional  :-D

#12 Wout

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 06:06 PM

Interresting to read, My pictures I tried to take were always to dark and to blurry (I have an old-fashioned photocamara, maybe sometime I must save for a new one)
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#13 Quarryman

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:04 PM

Just out of curiosity, what kind of camera do you have hinckley? (has this been answered somewhere else already?)
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#14 Hinckley

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 04:22 PM

View PostQuarryman, on Jul 23 2007, 03:04 PM, said:

Just out of curiosity, what kind of camera do you have hinckley? (has this been answered somewhere else already?)

No, it hasn't...great question!  *sweet*  *y* Sorry I left that part out. I have a SONY DSC-S85. It's one of their cyber shot series and is 4.1 megapixels. It's an older camera but it still takes great shots, IMO. I like the way it focuses for close-ups, it's great for detailed LEGO shots...

Mr. Mandalorian, the pic above of the carboard backing of my shadowbox is unedited. I added the watermark but I didn't filter it...

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#15 Poomerio

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 09:05 PM

Greatness, Hinckley :)
When I take pictures, I go into a very dark room, set up a white background + floor area, and then snap some shots with my 2.0 megapixel camera on the highest and brightest flash :-P
Then I Photoshop it down to however I want.
See my avatar over there? Same thing; I just cropped his face off ^^
Anyways, I'm done.

Photoshoping ON!

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#16 Sinner

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:50 PM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 24 2007, 01:22 AM, said:

I have a SONY DSC-S85. It's one of their cyber shot series and is 4.1 megapixels. It's an older camera but it still takes great shots, IMO. I like the way it focuses for close-ups, it's great for detailed LEGO shots...

Well, that is interesting; we have almost the same camera! I have the DSC-S75  *wub* which is exactly the same as yours except you have 4.1 MP, and I have 3.3 MP, and yours is black and mine is silver. (Yours was just out when I bought mine but it cost 25% more at the time.) I bought mine about seven years ago and I still love it. I can't find anything that compares to it today without buying a SLR, which I don't want to for various reasons. Most high end non-SLRs today have silly zooms and I don't want or need that. I just want a big compact lens and my camera has that.

Incidentally, mine started acting up last year and the lens started jamming. I tried to open it out of frustration, failed to, but by removing all the screws largely fixed the problem.... *wacko*





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#17 Piranha

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:55 PM

Thanks for sharing
Pretty good setup.............for a Haole :-P
I see a walrus has been whacked(again)
Ouch and it appears whacked a bit too hard
Call the abulance.....oh wait I forgot you took apart ........
:-D

Piranha

Edited by Piranha, 23 July 2007 - 10:56 PM.

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#18 Hinckley

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 10:57 PM

View PostPiranha, on Jul 23 2007, 10:55 PM, said:

Thanks for sharing
Pretty good setup.............for a Haole :-P
I see a walrus has been whacked(again)
Ouch and it appears whacked a bit too hard
Call the abulance.....oh wait I forgot you took apart ........
:-D

Piranha

So are you from Hawaii?

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#19 Piranha

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:02 PM

View Posthinckley39, on Jul 23 2007, 12:57 PM, said:

So are you from Hawaii?

Ahh I see you know what I am talking about bradduh.......
Yes I live in Hawaii   :'-)
Its beautiful here...

Piranha

Edited by Piranha, 23 July 2007 - 11:02 PM.

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#20 Sir Dillon

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:55 PM

Thanks for sharing this, Hinckley.

I'd like to have something like this, but at the moment, I don't have room. So now, I just take a large piece of white poster board. :-)
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#21 Hinckley

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 12:28 AM

View PostPiranha, on Jul 23 2007, 11:02 PM, said:

Ahh I see you know what I am talking about bradduh.......
Yes I live in Hawaii   :'-)
Its beautiful here...

Piranha

I had a friend who went to college there and people yelled Haole at him and threw beer bottles at him while he was walking home one night...

I wasn't going to say anything, but you've been pretty persistent...then I became a Haole and not just Haole. So, I figured it was time to call you out... :-P

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#22 Piranha

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:03 AM

Hehe I understand
I went from saying Haole to a Haole
Big difference  :-D

As for the beer bottle throwing,thats pretty harsh
We have a real problem here
The locals don't want any white people or anyone else moving to Hawaii
So Tourists have been beat up and car windows have been smashed
They hate it when anyone moves here from the mainland
Luckily I am not white so I speak softly and carrry a large megablok troll  :-P

Piranha
EDIT:Sorry if I have offended you in any way
BTY nice new avatar it keeps changing reminds me of a change-alobe from SW

Edited by Piranha, 24 July 2007 - 01:06 AM.

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#23 Hinckley

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:11 AM

Thanks.  ;-) Not offended at all...

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#24 Piranha

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 01:14 AM

This might be off topic but
About that castle set review you were gonna do.............
Sorry I keep asking but I get bored and need something funny to read
:-D
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#25 Scouty

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:29 AM

Hmmm, that looks interesting! I think I will adapt the three-point lighting method.

Though, the only concern is that  any other lights outside of the three might affect the pictures, also depending on the camera. But if covered, it will eliminate varying lights. This is only a theory from me.

Thanks, mate. :-)
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