I have a confession to make: not all the photos I take turn out the way I want them to. You only see the “good” ones. I was once told that “every exposure is an experiment.” Or in the case of some of my photos “an experiment gone horribly wrong.” I have a whole bunch that will never see the light of day.
And therein lays the solution: light. Too much and it’s overexposed; too little, underexposed. So I took the question of light to Bill Wolfe, who is something of an expert. Bill has photographed the model contest scene for several years. Here are his thoughts:
“The ‘secret’ to highly detailed model photos is, for me, a combination of lighting and equipment. That probably won’t sit well with people hoping they can get similar results with a camera phone. They will be able to soon, we’re just not quite there yet. I like to use a 50mm macro lens on my DSLR. This allows me to get in very close – often as close as an inch from the surface of the model. Getting in that close requires a lot of light being ‘aimed’ at the proper spot on the model.”
“As a tip, if the background is to be white, even more (brighter) light will be needed. This seems backwards, but it is the case. If incandescent lighting is used, often the white background will look yellowish in the final image. This will need to be taken into account with camera settings or corrected in software after the fact. As long as white looks white in the completed image, the colors of the model will be their most accurate.”