How do I fix my HORRIBLE pitures?


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Mar 5, 2009
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I'm not a photographer but i'm trying to make some nice, clean, clear pictures of comic books for posting to eBay. The problem is that most of them are in plastic sleeves and cause all kinds of glare problems. Taking them out of the sleeves is not an option. My results so far are less than desired.Here is an example of one of my pics:

You can see the glare on the top and the pic is not as clear as I would like for it to be. Here are a couple of pics of my picture station so you can see what I'm doing (wrong) to achieve this:



I'm using a Kodak DX3900 3.1 megapixel. My budget is limited. Do I need a new lens, and if so which one? Do I need a higher megapixel camera, how high? Am I doing something wrong or am I getting about all I'm going to get with what I have to work with? Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks!
You can try shooting 1 by 1 in a very well lit room without using the flash. Just try to angle your camera so that you won't capture as much glare.

[[edit: Just read your setup at the bottom of your photos. You have a p&s >.< Wish I could be more of help.]]
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Hang a sheet on each side of your comics, and then shine your lights at the sheet so only filtered, soft light fills the area (kind of like a large soft-box). Shoot on tripod, long exposure, with no flash, and angle the books away from harsh light so you don't see any extraneous glare..
Glare is the cause of direct reflection of the light. The lights must be positioned either outside the family of angles (which it will have to be in your case here) or the lights must consume the entire family of angles.

I'm not sure I have the academic understanding to go over what that means in text as it's still a learning process for me though I can apply it pretty consistently these days. It also depends on what lens you're using.

For your specific case, you would need to move the two lights to the left and right of the board (below and above would would too) at very drastic angles.

You can probably nose around and find some internet info on the Family of Angles (my quick search didn't result in anything I'd feel comfortable linking) or browse 'Light Science and Magic' in your bookstore or library. It covers the topic and taking pictures of flat things as its prime example through a good third of the book. Explains how to get rid of the specular highlights.
Seems to me you just need more light. Those two aren't enough. Notice how the mags at the top are brighter than those at the bottom.

Add a couple of floods on each side, pointing across, while the two on top are pointing down.

You're going to have to experiment to get rid of glare, but that's the easiest, least expensive option I can think of.

UNLESS ... you take the whole thing outdoors on a sunny day!
Welcome to the forum.

Firstly, do you need to photograph them all together light that? It would be easier if you set up to get just one of them right, then run through them like an assembly line.

The glare problem has to do with the angle of the adjust either the position of the lights or the position of the camera so that you don't have big glare spots. I see that you have one light bouncing off the wall/ceiling...that is good. If you could do both lights like that, it might help.

Another problem with shooting them all at once, is that the ones on the bottom are farther away from the lights than those on top...which makes the lighting uneven. Shooting them one at a time would elliminate this problem...but if you must shoot all of them, then you need to even out the lighting.

If you are just posting the photos to E-bay...your current camera will be fine. If you aren't may want to put it on a tripod or some other support surface so that you don't have to hold or adjust the camera each time.

What I might do for something like this, would be to create a 'copy stand' of sorts. Mount the camera on a tripod or something...pointing straight down at a table, close enough to shoot one comic. Position your lights to get nice even lighting without glare. Use the self timer to take the shot (you might even be able to connect the camera to your computer and control it that way, also saving the images directly to the computer).
Once you get the set up just right, shoot all the comics, one at a time, without changing the lights or the camera.
The issue that I see which has been mentioned to a degree is that the light is now diffused which when teamed with the flash is creating your uneven lighting. I would say try and get your lights around the middle of the board you have them on and diffuse the light. You can use parchment paper or wax paper to do it provided you arent using incandescent or halogen bulb due to the fire hazard.
I would have to agree with LarryD " Shoot on tripod, long exposure, with no flash" and make sure to set your white balance.

Why are you selling them no longer a collector.
Wow, what a responsive forum. Thanks for the help so far. The picture was took without a flash. I held a sheet up to the left side to look at the effect and I think that is going to help. Of course, I'm out of staples so I can't actually get it hung right now. :confused:

Shooting them one at a time is not an option, I have about 50,000 to photograph, plus there is the page load time to consider.

I figured I was going to hear Tripod alot but as bad as I need it, it would be difficult. I don't really have room for one. I have thought about rigging something up that I can swing down from the ceiling but the number of comics I'm shooting is different each time. If I set the tripod up to shoot 18 books, the max my board will hold, the camera is too far away to shoot just 2 or 3 books.

Uneven light is giving me fits. I would have to fiddle with my stand to be able to get the lights on the side. If I moved them to the side at a very extreme angle (I would have to attach them to the stand to get them there) would that fix the glare problem? Should I diffuse the lights with wax paper. The bulbs, 150 watts each, sticks out farther than the light so I would have to rig something up so as not to catch fire. Fire in a room full of old paper comic books would probably make for a very bad day for me.

Would it make that much of a difference if I bought a 5 or 6 megapixel camera instead of the 3.1?

Rpwhiz, i'm not quitting collecting. I buy thousands of books at a time, pull out the ones I want for me collection and sell the rest on eBay for a profit. I'm letting my hobby feed me instead of my having to feed it. :lol:

Any further comments are most welcome! Thanks, Rodney
No more megapixels is not going to fix lighting issues. More megapixels are going to be needed if you need larger images for printing. I am guessing that you are going to be posting these online so the camera you have will do just fine. The light is your biggest issue with these shots.

As far as your other questions go..... Consider maybe an even larger light source if you have a halogen work light lying around they work pretty well for flooding an area with light. I would not put anything like paper or fabric over those lights you have as it is a potential fire hazard.
I know this is a photography forum, but with comics, wouldn't it be easier to use a flat-bed scanner? (Assuming you have one of course.)
I know this is a photography forum, but with comics, wouldn't it be easier to use a flat-bed scanner? (Assuming you have one of course.)

/emote: Maulrat bonks himself in the head for not thinking of that... 2x :lmao:
More even light. You have to much on the top and none on the bottom. Try putting a piece of paper of the light source so it doesnt create a harsh light and harsh shadows. Unless you plan on becoming a photographer and shooting daily your camera is fine. Anything over 5 mega pixels though is nice to have. But you should be fine. Just re position the lights.

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