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p.briden

Photographing Airsoft Guns: Tips & Guides

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I did a search but couldn't find anything relevant, so I thought perhaps making a thread on the subject would be useful. I wasn't sure exactly where to put this post so if it would be better in the Pictures forum or Off-Topic then my apologies and please move it accordingly.

 

Basically I've been taking pics of my guns recently on my dad's digital camera and they're not really coming out how I would like, I'm not a very experienced photographer and have no real interest in it outside of displaying my guns as is customary on this and other airsoft forums. I was just wondering if for my benefit but also for other airsofters who like to show their kit, some of the more competent members of the forum might share a few tips and suggestions on how to take good photos of your guns and gear? I know that broadly speaking the normal rules of photgraphy apply (whatever they are - any advice here for me and other photonoobs would be great) but photographing guns and gear in an interesting way does seem to be a distinct skill all in itself.

 

With my crappy photos I tried to get as much light in the room as possible (and I have alot of spotlights and halogen lamps in here) but I was frustrated to find that 1) the camera still wanted to use the flash and 2) that I wasn't really picking up much detail at all, my guns were basically featureless black shapes on a background. That coupled with the fact that I was just taking straight on photos with no fun angles or detail shots (because I have no idea what I'm doing) lead to some very boring pics indeed - I mean they illustrated the point - these are my guns this is what they look like but they didn't hook you in or do anything for the gun whatsoever.

 

I'm not asking for tips on how to be an amazing photographer, if I wanted to do that I'd go take a course, I just think it might be helpful to me and others here to get some advice on how to get a satisfactory result when taking pics of your guns and gear so we can display them proudly rather than going 'here's my guns, sorry about the crappy pics'.

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In ym epxerience, I find if you are using flash, a cloth background (i.e camo jacket) will absorb a lot of excess light, getting less shine in the photo, as will taking the photo from further away and using optical zoom, so the light is less concentrated.

If you can, take your pics outside in broad daylight, and again use a background (outside, trees, grass etc are all good).

cheers,

matt

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Its a difficult topic. Most of my photography skill has been learnt over a long period of time, so practice is the thing you'll need most.

 

Lighting wise, you want natural light, or an even artificial source - try not to mix different kinds of artificial lighting as this will effect the white balance, and make the colours look off. If you're forced to use flash then try diffusing it (attach a piece of thin paper to the flash lens) or bouncing it (if its an adjustable flash head). White paper or sheets can be used to reflect light onto the area - doesn't seem like much but it can make a big difference. Different times of day can make a big difference to the colour and intensity of natural light.

 

I don't know what kind of camera you're using, but for that specific situation, try suppressing the flash (forcing the camera not to use the flash) select a high shutter speed (if you can) to reduce any wobble or use a tripod or some kind of support. This should bring out more detail than you were getting using the flash. Make sure the camera is autofocusing on your subject, not the background.

 

Regarding making your pictures more interesting, you'll just have to experiment. Look at pictures you find interesting and compare them to yours. Plain backgrounds work well, as do camouflage patterns, but avoid something that makes the background more interesting than the item you're trying to photograph. Gas cans or BB bags rarely look interesting, so tend towards small items that are more "realistic" rather than airsoft related. Dummy rounds, paracord, knives, helmets, magazines (even if they're for other guns) and so on are good things to include. Other guns can make interesting frames for your images. I often use my soft armour carrier and the back of my plate carrier (no pouches), my combats (back of a jacket gives a good area with not much detail), boots and kneepads. My bed is a sort of khaki colour so that works for photographs better than say, blue, pink or the average carpet colour. Wood floors are also good.

 

Hope that helps a little. Any specific questions I'll do my best to answer.

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Really do try to disable that flash function. It will make your pictures much better instantly.

 

To get a quick, good picture with moody lighting and all go for:

 

A Camera with flash disabled

A tripod

Dawn / Dusk natural lighting

A longer exposure with a wide aperture.

 

And this website will become your bible....seriously. Just navigate through to the forums and a wealth of knowledge can be found.

 

EDIT: Thorbard got there first and has outlined basically what I have said, and i don't normally like adding the same information in different wording (Which happens a lot on forums) :)

 

That website is still bloody useful however!

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Yep, tripod, no flash, self timer or remote release (otherwise you shake the camera when you press the shutter) and a consistent light source (assuming you're shooting digital, you can always sort the light balance out later).

 

If you want to get really into it you can get proper studio lights and a light tent and try to produce photos like Ken Lund.

 

This was discussed some while ago, but I suspect the thread is quite old and Arnie's search engine is more Moskvich than Maserati.

 

Final point, photos of stationary objects which are out of focus are nearly never any good, so if it's out of focus, take it again.

 

Cheers.

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- Take the photos outside

- No direct sunlight, feel free to do it out back of your house (if circumbstances make this possible)

- No flash

- Tripod

- Remote switch/timer

- Check all the bits and pieces are in place BEFORE you take the shots, you're going to be righteously ###### off if you get back inside, upload the photos and see that gizmo A wasn't attached to doodat B

- If you're wearing the stuff, get someone else to help you. Running back and forward 'round the tripod will only result in yourself kicking it, ruining the *beep* and possibly also the camera

- Take your time, take MANY photos

- And make sure it's focused... A decent way to do this is to find the level of zoom you want to use, then point the camera at something -far- away and let the autofocus do it's job, then point it back at whatever you're shooting and let the autofocus readjust.

 

Hope it helped; have fun :)

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- Take the photos outside

- No direct sunlight, feel free to do it out back of your house (if circumbstances make this possible)

- No flash

- Tripod

- Remote switch/timer

- Check all the bits and pieces are in place BEFORE you take the shots, you're going to be righteously ###### off if you get back inside, upload the photos and see that gizmo A wasn't attached to doodat B

- If you're wearing the stuff, get someone else to help you. Running back and forward 'round the tripod will only result in yourself kicking it, ruining the *beep* and possibly also the camera

- Take your time, take MANY photos

- And make sure it's focused... A decent way to do this is to find the level of zoom you want to use, then point the camera at something -far- away and let the autofocus do it's job, then point it back at whatever you're shooting and let the autofocus readjust.

 

Hope it helped; have fun :)

 

 

 

 

Hear hear- excellent advice.

 

 

This will likely sound corny, but the more you 'love' the subject, whether its an Airsoft gun or whatever the subject is, the more creative you become and the better your images will be.

 

Try to imagine the end result up on a wall- in other words take a picture that you would be proud enough to frame and hang- That is another 'trick' I use to motivate myself and it kind of subconsciously makes you take a better photograph.

 

The other thing that helps, is look at alot of pictures- other peoples work, here and in real-steel gun mags and see what they do that looks good. There is nothing wrong with 'copying' a cool picture you see, when you do it will never be exactly the same so your not ripping them off, but if you see a compelling image and want to do something similar, it gives you good practice and helps you train your 'eye' to make good photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Slainte!

 

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Try masking off the flash with a bit of white paper. Some older camera's will default to flash on so in that case you can filter a bit out. If you have editing software then you may be able to salvage washed out shots.

 

http://www.gimp.org/ is a great freeware editing program.

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if you're running with Danke's advise here regarding flash, be careful.

It's not very likely, but it COULD in fact ignite the paper.

Ofcourse, this is highly dependant upon both the flash in question and other circumbstances...

Just don't take any uneccessary chances...

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if you're running with Danke's advise here regarding flash, be careful.

It's not very likely, but it COULD in fact ignite the paper.

Ofcourse, this is highly dependant upon both the flash in question and other circumbstances...

Just don't take any uneccessary chances...

 

Yes it's usually best to have the camera in one hand and a packet of fags in the other that you're using as the shade. Then if it does start to smolder you can light one up before it really flames up.

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Hi,

 

This is the Redwolf Airsoft photo geek. I thought I would take some time away from fiddling with knobs and shutters (sounds painful) to give some handy advice on photography.

 

With DSLR cameras (those big bulky things with changeable lenses), you have a lot more control, thus making it easier to get the results you want. With a lot of the point-and-shoots out on the market, you have less control of things like aperture, shutter speed, flash etc. The light meter in the camera often takes a reading from the whole scene, so if you have an already bright background the camera will try to underexpose to keep detail in the background, thus the black colours will lose detail. Thus, having a evenly lit scene helps.

 

What makes a good photo is really a subjective matter, it all depends on what look you want. Flash-photography can look quite clinical at times, so perhaps switch the flash off and use a lamp to illuminate your gun and/or some white boards to reflect light onto the gun. Perhaps try putting your gun on a dark background, then shine the lamp on it. This photo I took (sorry for blowing my own trumpet) had only one light source (not a flash): http://www.redwolfairsoft.com/redwolf/popI...SPCOD-RGALL.jpg

 

1) switch the flash off

2) put the camera on a steady surface or tripod

3) try to keep the scene

4) perhaps get some white boards to reflect light onto the subject

5) use a lamp to illuminate the gun

6) if you have manual settings available on the camera, play around with the shutter speed times and other settings to achieve an effect that you like

7) enjoy doing it!

 

Hope that is of some help.

 

Best regards,

 

The Redwolf Photo Geek

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For those of you that do not have a tripod, and can't justify buying one: Bean bag.

 

Get a small cloth bag, fill it up with dried peas or something similar, and it'll keep your camera steady anytime, anywhere...

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Oh, and for any outside shots, remember the golden hours - one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.

 

Some of the best natural lighting you'll get, period.

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wipe the crud off your subject before taking pictures.

 

Might sound silly but it's the one thing that I notice time after time.

If you're taking photo's of a gun, for example, it might look fine until you take a close-up[ which shows a build up of dust in the nooks and crannies.

It can totally ruin a picture IMO.

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For those of you that do not have a tripod, and can't justify buying one: Bean bag.

 

Get a small cloth bag, fill it up with dried peas or something similar, and it'll keep your camera steady anytime, anywhere...

 

 

Worthwhile even if you have a Tripod - To get down and close to the gun for those down the muzzle shots.

 

Ebay can be your friend for Tripods - I think I paid £15 posted for my tripod when my small one I've had 20+ years broke - It was used, but perfect and it would have been £50 new.

 

Charity shops are worth a look too, for this sort of thing, although I couldn't find one in any local shops when I needed one.

 

Cheers.

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I use a 3mp Sony P32, its a cheap camera now, no tripod. I think the key to a good photo is good light, I always take gun photos outside. Make sure the sun is behind you but dont cast a shadow over your subject. Its also easy to lose your weapon in the background, so either make sure the background isnt too busy, or be far enough away fromt hebackground that it'll be out of focus and look fuzzy.

 

I tend to get very close to photo detail which is fine so long as its light enough.

 

 

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anyone got any experience with/tips for taking photos through a rifle optic?

I've played a bit 'round with it myself, but as I've got to hold the rifle with one hand and only have a 40-150mm optic available for my camera atm, it's kinda hard to get very good results...

Played 'round with it the other day though, and got this half-decent result:

 

82b0b0c72e4cf9698d4ac97cf1b37b01.jpg

 

Ended up with the title "A different view on life"

 

 

Really would like better results though, so any and all tips are more than welcome...

And sadly, I don't have a bipod available for my rifle these days.

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Find a way to support the rifle. Even get someone else to hold it while you take the photo. Much like trying to look through it to use the rifle, the angle you hold the camera at and eye relief are important for getting a clear picture.

 

If you want the scope in focus as well as the objects downrange you're going to want a high f-stop, high shutter speed, but even then you might struggle to get it to focus on everything and get enough light in. Worth experimenting though.

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yeah, I tried getting someone else to hold it; didn't work out too well...in general, people suck at standing perfectly still for some obscure reason...

cheers for the tip on the f-stop, didn't think 'bout that

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I've been using a point and shoot and have been getting decent results. This is what I usually do:

 

1. Take lots of pictures.

2. Try different angles and backgrounds.

3. Experiment with the different white balance settings.

4. Overcast lighting looks great. Dawn/dusk lighting for when it's not.

5. Tripod/timer helps but my digicam has image stabilization so look for that if you intend to buy a new one.

6. Experiment with post processing (e.g. photoshop).

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Another tip is to shoot in raw... This means white balance, color, brightness, etc setting can be changed by a program on the computer..... And most cameras come with decent basic post processing programs, like my canon Rebel came with digital photo proffessional, which does raw processing, and lets you play with wb, light, color, etc... It won't let you do crazy photoshoping, but it works to just correct errors in settings, etc.... Oh, and gimp is quite decent, nearly on par with my original photoshop cs....

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