Re: photography
Sat, 10 Jun 1995 00:39:37 -0400

In a message dated 95-06-08 14:12:41 EDT, you write:

> Is there anyone around here who might give me some pointers on
>photographing models? As one can see from the pics on Al's page, my
>phtotgraphic skills leave something to be desired!
> A friend has a nice 35mm single-reflex job, but I don't know what kind
>of lenses. Is there a lense in particular I want? What light source is
>best? What background works well? How far away should I hold the camera?

The trick to photographing models is to use the smallest aperture available
on the lens and take all the exposure time necessary at the small aperature.
I use a tripod and a cable release on the shutter to minimize camera motion
during longish exposures. You should use a fairly slow film, 100 speed or
slower, because this also means finer grain size and sharper prints (and
slower exposures). Use a macro lens if available. Many zoom lenses have a
macro position at the shortest setting and this basically converts the lens
to a close-up focus setting. It is possible to buy inexpensive close-up
lens adapters which screw onto the installed lens, but personally, I think
they're a waste of money. There is, or was, a vendor who advertised in
modelling magazines, who sold pin-hole adapters for common cameras. I saw
some work done with these, and the results were remarkable. Exposure times,
however, ran on the order of 1/2 an hour if my memory serves. Pin hole
cameras have an almost infinite depth of field, or so they taught me in

You don't mention the scale of the models you wish to shoot. This does have
a bearing on the problem. The larger the better. It is very difficult with
1/72 scale models to get the whole model in focus. At the smallest aperture,
it will be in focus but you may not be able to tell because the image in the
viewfinder will be too dim.

I don't consider lighting to be critical. Most color films today are
relatively insensitive to the difference between daylight and artificial
light. The dreaded red shift is no longer a problem. Indoors or out, you
want the most light you can get, because this will minimize the exposure
time. Most modern 35 mm cameras are highly sophisticated and will select the
proper time of exposure for a given aperture without you fussing with it.
Just don't select an 'aperture priority' or other fully automatic mode,
These automatic modes are great for shooting grandma with the kids but will
probably select too large an aperture for model work.

Eli Geher