Guide to Beywiki Photography

Sometimes, point-and-shoot photography is not enough to get the image we want. Sometimes, you have to go the extra mile. My goal here is to provide simple tips to improve your photographs and get that extra oomph when showcasing your amazing Beyblades, without having to spend the money a professional studio would. You will still need a decent camera

Short Version

ISO:

  • Optimal: 100
  • Maximum:  400

 

Light:

  • Daylight (daytime: sunny or cloudy weather)
  • “daylight” light bulbs (4000k to 6000k)

 

Setup:

  • White background (ex.: white paper/cardboard), preferably “without texture” (no relief or pattern) and imperatively clean (no visible hair, dirt, dust, etc.);
  • You will need to use your window sill or a white box (size around 8½” x 11”) for light sources creating strong shadows.

 

White Balance:

  • Customized;
  • Weather-appropriate (e.g. Sun icon for sunny; Cloud icon for cloudy).

 

Exposure:

  • Will vary with the intensity of light and the color of your background. Generally:
    • +1 for larger pieces (e.g. assembled Beyblade, Attack Ring, Metal Wheel);
    • +1.5 for smaller pieces (ex.: Bottom, Spin Gear).

 

Mode:

  • Program Mode (P): Gives you A and S in pairs.
  • Aperture Priority (A): Lets you choose your aperture.
  • Shutter Priority (S): Lets you choose your shutter speed.
  • Automatic will lock you out of most choices in settings. Only use if not comfortable with the other settings.

 

Tips

Also found in the detailed section:

  • An equivalent aperture/shutter speed combination will provide the same exposure, but the aperture will still affect depth of field.
  • A flash is generally superfluous to a good initial setup, but some people like to work with them.
  • Never use the digital zoom. This enlarges pixels and degrades the quality of your image.
  • Changing your position or the position of your Beyblade may increase or reduce glare effects depending on the location of your sources of light. As our photo subjects have reflective, shiny surfaces, glares and shines are bound to occur. The best way to deal with them is unique to each setup, but here are the key elements to keep in mind:
    • Where the light emanates from and where it emanates to.
    • The position of your Beyblade
    • The position of your camera
    • Modifying any one variable will affect positively or negatively the intensity and spread of shines and glares.
  • An object farther away from a source of light will normally cast a longer shadow than an object closer to it.
  • It is a good idea to take larger photographs and crop them afterwards. Having larger images gives you more malleability when dealing with framing issues.
    • Just remember that your final set of photographs should be coherent and consistent.

 

Shots:   See detailed version.

ISO, Light and Setup

The ISO setting determines your camera’s sensitivity to light. A big number (ex.: 6400) will be much more sensitive to light and will take photos much faster than a small number (ex.: 100). However, the bigger the number, the grainier a picture gets, and so Large ISO are progressively used as the light dims, when it becomes impossible to take a good picture without raising the light sensitivity .

In our case however, you should always aim to use an ISO 100, and should never use an ISO above 400. This will provide the cleanest and highest quality images possible, and with correct lighting, will not be hindered by slow shutter speeds.

The light, or source of light, can be of various intensity and colors. As Beywiki Photography is very technical, our choice of lighting is limited to sources of light that will least affect to coloring of the image and that will cause little to no color morphs on Beyblade after the White Balance is applied.

The first option is natural light, which comes from the sun itself, under a clear or covered sky. The second option is the use of artificial light, with light bulbs having the mention “Cool White” or “Day/Natural Light” or both. Each of these options will require different setups.

What you basically need to take your photos is a white surface, preferably a white sheet of paper or cardboard. The rest will depend on your source of light.

If using natural light, what you will need then depends on the weather. If under a clear sky, you may need a window sill, preferably from those windowed doors found on most houses or apartments that lead to the balcony, or white walls. Both options will help diffuse the light and more importantly, dim the shadows. Under a gray, covered sky, you may take your pictures pretty much anywhere, as the shadows will be naturally dimmed or absent.

If using artificial light, the setup is rather straightforward, but it will let either your wallet or your creativity shine. Some photography stores sell pre-made white boxes; you could buy one or you could make your own. If making your own, you use whatever you can find: a cardboard box, foam blocks, the corner of a wall, etc. Tape sheets of paper to the surface (use sticky tack if the surface needs not be damaged – ex.: painted house walls). Your white box should be large enough to provide flexibility in the positioning of your camera/shots, but small enough to be effective; a large white box may become ineffective in its purpose, as having the walls too far away from the object makes them useless at dimming its shadow and properly diffusing light; a small box may not allow to take ideal photographs, that is with a homogeneously white background, without showing clear sections, like the separation between the floor and a wall. With this in mind, a white box the size of a standard 8½” x 11” sheet is excellent for taking most Beyblade items (Stadiums excluded). Find a socket or hanging place for your light and you`re ready for the next step.

White Balance and Exposure

White Balance affects the resulting colors on a photograph. It takes a specific color and “says”: “this is white”. It then adjusts every other color to conform to this new definition of white. For example, if you were to use a warm-colored light bulb, the white sheet would appear to be a very light orange. By using a custom White Balance, you could remove the orange hue and return the sheet of paper to a pure white, but doing so would remove the orange hue from every color. Therefore, an object that would normally be magenta in color would appear closer to violet instead.

A custom White Balance remains the best option over the pre-sets, which are better used when no white surfaces are available, and should be found on most cameras, marked with two triangles pointing at each other.

The exposure determines the level of brightness of your photograph. The exposure is the combination of your camera’s ISO setting, aperture and shutter speed, the ISO often being the most static value. Raising or lowering any one value will affect the exposure. Most, if not all digital cameras come with an exposure counter built in that will give you the correct aperture/shutter speed combination to whatever you’re pointing at.

Light-colored surfaces, such as ours, will distort the exposure counter’s perceptions, leading it to believe that there is more light than there actually is. To compensate you’ll need to raise the exposure a couple of stops; 3 to 4 stops (The exposure gauge usually goes from -3 to +3, 3 stops normally equals +1) for large parts (Beyblade, Metal Wheel, Attack Ring, etc.) and 4 to 5 stops for small parts (Bottom, Spin Gear, etc.) under artificial light. Again, under natural light, it’s variable, fiddle with your camera and see for yourself.

Photographs (Shots and Angles)

A list of the mandatory photographs that needs to be taken for the Beyblades of each series. This does not mean that these are the only pictures you can take; an exhaustive set of photographs is always appreciated, and shots like ¾ views of assembled Beyblades and non-gimmicked Spin Gears have become common even though they are still not obligatory. Certain exceptions exist and should be looked upon case-by-case.

Non-specific:

–          Top view:  bird’s-eye view of a fully assembled Beyblade. The camera should be pointing the Bitchip/Emblem/Face/Stone Face perpendicularly.

–          Side view: shot showing clearly the height and the relief of a fully assembled Beyblade.

–          Side view+: Some parts have many sides that are totally different from one another (ex.: Diablo, Dark Knight, Triple Attacker) or simply have segments that are too large to adequately detail them in one shot (ex.: Scissors Arm, Wolf, Bakushin).

–          Bottom view: shot of a fully assembled Beyblade face down. Can be taken at a ¾ angle or in a bird’s-eye view.

Plastics:

–          Attack Ring: bird’s-eye view of a face-up Attack Ring.

–          Weight Disk: bird’s-eye view of a Weight Disk. Unnecessary if a shot of the same Weight Disk already exists and has been approved.

–          Spin Gear: only necessary if gimmicked, and in such a case, needs additional shots of its inner structure and mechanism. Standard Spin Gears are optional. Angle is judged case by case.

–          Blade Base: taken without Spin Gear. Bird’s-eye view and/or ¾ view. Removable tips belonging to the Blade Base are taken as part of the Blade Base, save a few exceptions.

Heavy Metal System:

–          Attack Ring: bird’s-eye view of a face-up Attack Ring.

–          Weight Disk: bird’s-eye view of a Weight Disk. Unnecessary if a shot of the same Weight Disk already exists and has been approved.

–          Core: side and/or ¾ view of the core.

Metal Fight Beyblade:

–          Clear Wheel: top view

–          Metal Wheel: top and bottom view.

  • Single parts and assembled views for 4D Metal Wheels under the same angles.
  • Top view of Chrome and Crystal Wheels. Bottom views are interesting, but not mandatory.

–          Track: ¾ view of gimmick-less Tracks. Additional top view for gimmicked Tracks, as well as views of the different modes if applicable. Tracks made of multiple, detachable parts should also have pictures of them disassembled.

–          Bottom: ¾ view. Certain Bottoms require pictures of the inside portion to better identify molds and various mechanism. (ex.: Rubber Bottoms, Eternal Bottoms).

General Settings and Tips

For this kind of photography, the Automatic Mode is not enough for what we aim to do, as it locks and controls just about every aspect mentioned here. On the other hand, Manual Mode might be too complicated for some people, and unnecessarily so. A good mode for its simplicity would be Program Mode (P); it uses the exposure counter to find the correct aperture/shutter speed combination and some cameras let you cycle through their equivalence*; it lets you adjust the exposure independently of the aforementioned combination, adjusting it itself; it leaves the ISO and White Balance settings unlocked. If you are comfortable with other modes such as A (Priority Aperture) or S (Priority Shutter Speed), you can of course use them, as long as you don’t use the Automatic Mode.

*An equivalent aperture/shutter speed combination will provide the same exposure, but the aperture will still affect depth of field.

– A flash is generally superfluous to a good initial setup.

– Never use the digital zoom.

– Changing the angle of your shot and/or the angle of your Beyblade may increase or reduce glare effects depending on the location of your source of light. As these are reflective surfaces we are photographing, all glares and shines cannot be removed, and the best way to reduce them is unique to each particular setup, but the key points are these:

Where the light emanates from and where it emanates to.

The position of your Beyblade.

The position of your camera.

Modifying any one variable will affect positively or negatively the intensity and spread of shines and glares.

– An object farther away from a source of light will normally cast a longer shadow than an object closer to it.

– Beywiki Photos are required to be 800×600 (although much less enforced these days); it is a good idea to take them larger and crop/frame them afterwards (and even resize them down) to allow more freedom in the distances and angles at which you take your photographs.

Closing Statement

Hopefully, what you have read here was not insufferably tedious and will have taught you something worthwhile, either as a mean to become a photographer for Beywiki or simply to improve your understanding of photography or your photographic skills in general.

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