Photography issues

  • Hi All, I am trying to photograph my shuttle model. I cannot seem to get an environment where I can take good pictures.

    lighting - the more lights I add, the more shadows I get. especially with an overhead light, I get a huge shadow underneath which I cannot get rid of. The attached image shows less lighting, so fewer and less intense shadows - it works ok but means I need to use a long exposure. Not much of an issue I guess, so you'd think I'd be good to go, but now I have another problem. The large vinyl sheet I'm using is not perfectly flat. it has wrinkles which I just cannot get rid of! And they have their own little shadows so are highly visible. I have put a large sheet of card underneath to see if this would help flatten things out but it does not. For such a large background is my only solution to find white fabric? (I cannot find paper this large)

    Any suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated!


  • search diy light box, lots of videos

  • I have a light box, but it is too small for this model. the prime difference would light diffusers and the white surface material. so maybe that is really what I am missing here.

  • Member

    I haven't photographed anything this large, but I have had similar issues with the background and lighting when taking photos of some of my MOCs in the past.


    If you can diffuse the light with something like a thin sheet or thin paper, that will help soften the shadows. I've also had some success with photographing outdoors on a cloudy day. I always find a longer exposure at a low iso is preferred if your lighting is not bright enough.


    It's hard to get a perfectly clean and wrinkle free backdrop. Most of the time I Photoshop my backdrops to look as clean as possible. In some cases I've even completely cropped the background out using Photoshop. For example, my Bastion was photographed outside against some pieces of printer paper I taped together. The background was just an loose approximation of a completely white background, so I Photoshopped it out completely: LEGO Nanaimo Bastion

    In general, I would say photo editing with Photoshop or something similar (maybe GIMP) is a must if you want to really make your photos clean and have balanced lighting/colour. I've also found shooting in RAW allows for the most flexibility in editing, especially in regards to adjusting colour balance.

  • @michael ok, I was hoping to not have to photoshop anything but @MikeS also suggested this to me so maybe it is unavoidable 😞

  • try the light diffuser 1st,
    2nd play with the iso settings
    3rd ensure there is no light from other sources directly at your camera lens

    4th photo editors like Michael suggested

  • Member

    Something this large is likely best shot outside on a cloudy day as Mike mentioned. You can do it on a sunny day but you will need a reflector to soften the shadows.

    You can also try turning the lights 180 degrees and reflecting the light back with large white cards or vinyl sheet (just don't melt it)
    Also if you have an overhead light aimed at the backdrop right behind the shuttle it will kill nearly all of your shadows. You can try a backdrop light that is brighter than your other lights so it overexposes your backdrop so it becomes just pure white.

    You could also have a look at this video:

    Though it's harder to do what he does without proper studio lighting.

    Good luck!

    PS and yes, Photoshop out those wrinkles... that's the best and fastest fix. Pixelmator is great software for this. Use the Clone tool rather than erasing.

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