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Better Photos

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Since many of use post photos of their prints, maybe some "pros" could share tips for better photos.

I am using an iPhone 6 to take photos and put a paper bag around a Ikea lamp to difuse the light a bit. I know... very ameteurish...

photo Lab





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Light, light, more light.... aaand some light. If you can use natural light, the sun, awesome. Don't want to have sharp shadows while using the sun? Wait for some clouds.

Make or buy a cheap light tent. Makes a big difference.

Also, tripod or equiv. + delayed trigger if you want more depth of field and avoid blurry shots (by closing down the aperture and going for longer exposure). And please, if your camera of choice can't focus close up, don't get even closer... that bugs the hell out of me. Back up and crop.

Speaking of cropping. If you're not feeling too lazy try to crop away unneeded stuff in the background, either by framing in the camera (not always possible due to situations like above) or in post. Don't make the viewer try to find what you're trying to show.

If you're using a flash, try to bounce the light off something else if possible, like the ceiling. Or at the very least put some diffusing material between it and your subject. Direct light from a flash looks like crap.

I'm no pro though, I just buy expensive cameras to make me look like I am :D


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  • Nicolonux is spot on with diffused lighting.

  • Avoid flash if possible; its direct lighting will make the model look lower quality than it looks to the eye. If you have to then bounce it off the ceiling.

  • Although I will confess that under certain circumstances fill-in flash can be useful

  • If possible use a high f number so everything is in focus.

  • You are probably indoors with a low shutter speed – use a tripod or rest camera on the table to avoid camera shake.

  • If doing this for diagnosis then take several shots to give a 360 degree view.

  • Get rid of the surrounding garbage – use a surround, one of the first things I 3D printed.

Butt End change


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Direct light from a flash looks like crap.

There's nothing wrong with direct flash - except if it is near the camera (and it's usually *on* the camera). Having the flash right where the camera is makes for the worst possible location. Move that flash 3 feet to the right and woah - suddenly it looks good. But diffusion is good too - let everyone share the light.

The cheapest cameras take awesome photos outdoors during the day when there are some clouds blocking the sun.

Whatever amount of light you think you have/need, try 100X and your pictures will look so much better. Instead of 1 60 W light, how about 10 500W lights?

lol. one 500W light might be enough but 10 are even better.


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That light tent looks like the UM2 :mrgreen:

I usually take my pics with my phone (galaxy S2) in the UM2 with no flash. It's not great but for me it's enough.

I wonder if a black background gives better results tough?


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If the entire light box is sided with mirrors or white paper then you get lots of extra light as the light that misses your object bounces off the walls and you get a second chance to light your part.

So if you want a black background make it as small as possible. Or add more lights.


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I bought a super cheap light tent on Ebay a long time ago (like 10-15 bucks). They come with a few backdrops in different colours and they fold down to a tiny little circle that you stuff in a case. Very handy. It's best if you can put a light on each side and one from the top but a single light works decently as well. Having more lights makes it easier to dial in exposure so that the white background becomes an almost pure white and it all but eliminates shadows. With just one light that's hard to do without over exposing parts of your object.

But for the least amount of effort? A curved sheet of paper as the background and going outside in the shade, or waiting for clouds, is probably the easiest. If you want to get "fancy" you can use another sheet of paper to bounce more soft light on darker areas.


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I like a BIG keylight roughly 45 degrees to subject and camera. and a bit of fill or kicker on the opposite side. The bigger the source the softer the shadows and the more pleasent it usually looks. (particularly in reducing the look of print lines)


A seamless always helps clean up the background too, you can print one out from here:


I can't seem to find the one that I used, but it's similar in concept to this one.

Lighting for specific look is usually a bit trickier. I usually start completely dark with my camera and object in position and add lights where I need them. (my bro lit this one, but illustrates the concept anyway :p) In this case specifically placed for reflections.




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