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New Photography Techniques


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I make dioramas and photograph them all. You can see a number of my diorama photos at https://midnightoilstudios.org/dioramas/. While I have a good SLR camera and often shoot using High Dynamic Range, I have found that my iPhone 8+ using the ProCamera app gets great photos. 

One of the most interesting techniques I use is photographing dioramas against my computer screen from photos I've taken or ones downloaded from Google images.

For example, the shot below is titled Deep State Swamp and features a model of the FBI Building on a piece of Burl Wood with a Woodland Scenics created swamp at the bottom and a cloudy sky in the background. The sky is on my computer screen and downloaded from Google Images. 

Have many other photography techniques I'll be sharin,g in future posts.

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Phones have done a disservice to modelers simply because most don't know how to use them correctly when photographing models.  Instead of backing away from the model and zooming in most just get close and end up with distorted images of their work.  One can take good model photos with a phone but the use has to back away and then zoom in on the models.  This gives a more normal perspective.

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7 hours ago, thevid said:

Phones have done a disservice to modelers simply because most don't know how to use them correctly when photographing models.  Instead of backing away from the model and zooming in most just get close and end up with distorted images of their work.  One can take good model photos with a phone but the use has to back away and then zoom in on the models.  This gives a more normal perspective.

That techique works with all cameras.  I don't know how many times I have been asked why I am 5 feet away from a model shooting with a telephoto lens.  "Don't you have to use a macro lens up close to get the detail's?"  Not if you want them to look right!

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David and Peter's advice is based on proven photography techniques using phones with built in cameras and more traditional photographic equipment.

What caught my eye recently whilst looking at the Panasonic Lumia range of compact cameras was one that had a focus stacking feature built in. This may be able to alleviate the bain of most modellers trying to keep pictures sharp from back to front, so I will certainly be looking at the potential of this one. It will save lugging a big bag of camera gear around.

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Noel brings up a good point.  The purpose of the telephoto shot is to reduce the distortion you get by being too close to the subject.  We've all seen those photos of someone's face up close and the nose is hugely distorted.  There is some of that distortion and out of focus at the edges of this photo if you look closely, but that is only something you would pickup if you were looking for it.  This is why you shoot from a distance.  It helps reduce this effect to the point that it is not noticeable.  

The front to back focus is a different problem all togeather and is called depth of field.  This is controlled by aperture settings. The smaller(larger F-stop number) the aperture opening, the more of the photo is in focus front to back.  The down side of small apertures is that it makes for a longer exposure.  This means that the camera has to be held perfectly steady during the shot.  

  Having said that, few point and shoot cameras and phone cameras allow manual control of the aperture.  That is all part of the point and shoot algorithm. However most phone cameras now allow you to select a point that the camera will use as the center of focus.  That is also the metering point. Using this feature and selecting the middle of the model with give you the best picture. 

Edited by PeteJ
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