by sun yun

Here's a few tips on how to get good results when documenting your work.

Equipment
A good camera can be an effective tool to show the effort you've put into your creations. Digital, SLR, and point and shoot cameras are all capable of yielding good results. Since my particular intent was to publish on the web, digital was the best way to go. For my pictures, I used Canon's A20 2.1 megapixel digital camera. Although digital cameras may seem expensive, you save a tremendous amount of money and time in skipping the hassles of processing and scanning.

In addition to a good camera, I highly recommend getting some additional equipment, namely a tripod and special lenses. A good tripod can steady your shots to avoid blur and allow you to maintain specific angles to give your photographs continuity. If you intend on doing close up shots, definitely think about investing in a close up lens as well.

Backgrounds
Backgrounds help add a level of polish to your photograph. Try to spend some time setting up your background to get consistent results.

For the documentation of the models in the Works section, I used a piece of white seamless which can be purchased at good camera stores. 52" rolls should be sufficiently large enough for almost any model unless it is absoutely gigantic. A 52" x 12 yrd roll costs almost $30 so it is not cheap but well worth the cost especially if you are doing a lot of documentation. These rolls of seamless come in a variety of colors so you can pick and chose at your discretion.

For those on a budget, get yourself a nice big sheet of paper or anything more pliable then poster board since it tends to crease when rolled. The larger the piece, the more room you'll have to photograph your models at various angles.

Take whatever paper you have and tape one end up against a wall or some other vertical surface. Have the paper drape down smoothly to the floor or a table. Take special care in insuring a smooth gradual curve is present to insure there are no visible highlighted areas in the background. Letting the end rest on an elevated surface such as a table will allow you to get better low angle shots.

Lighting
For lighting in general, I think indirect sunlight is the best for shooting models like this. It gives you very even lighting, a soft shadow, and doesn't create an image that's too harsh. You can go with direct sunlight as well but you'll notice a very different quality in the image and a harsh shadow. If you are unable to shoot during the day get yourself a large flourescent light strip. It's cheap, provides ample lighting, and works well with digital cameras.

Editing
Good editing work can improve even the most mediocre of shots. I use Photoshop for all my photo editing and touch up work.

One my favorite tools in Photoshop is the Levels tool. This tool is very useful when you try to balance out the contrast and values of your photographs. In particular use the white balance dropper in Levels to ensure that your backgrounds are truly white.

Play around with some of the other functions such as color balance, contrast and brightness to further improve the quality of your photos.


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