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Pokemon Cards

  
 
lroger
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Pokemon Cards


Hi All,

I have an assignment to photograph approximately 200 Pokémon cards for eventual sale on Ebay and would appreciate your advice on the best method to accomplish this. I could scan them (easier) but the client requested a DSLR after I showed him samples of both. He also wants each card photographed separately.

My equipment includes a Canon 80d, 100mm f/2.8 Canon macro, tripod with horizontal extension arm, 4 Alien Bees, polarizer filter, polarizer gels for the Alien Bees and a tiltable easel.

I guess I could tilt the tripod to match the angle of the easel or I could just lay the cards flat on a table/floor. If any of you have done something like this I would welcome you sharing your techniques.

Thanks in advance.



Apr 29, 2022 at 11:25 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Pokemon Cards


Yes, properly lit camera images will be much nicer than scans in most situations. You have all the equipment you really need. 2 lights setup at 45 degrees on either side of your flat subject works fine. Use all your polarizing filters to remove as much reflection as possible. If your strobes have modelling lights that makes setting the polarizing easier. Otherwise you'll have to do a few trial and error tests. Use a mirror to align the camera to your target. When you see the center of the lens through the center of the lens it is exactly parallel in all planes.


Apr 30, 2022 at 02:15 PM
lroger
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Pokemon Cards


Thanks jeffbuzz. Would you elaborate more on using a mirror for alignment? I'm not sure I understood.

Thanks.



Apr 30, 2022 at 03:08 PM
sceptic
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Pokemon Cards


I think he means that you put a mirror on the surface where the card is going to be placed (your table top or whatever you plan on using) and then move/tilt/shift the surface until the center of the lens is placed dead center of the frame.


May 01, 2022 at 06:31 AM
lroger
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Pokemon Cards


thanks sceptic.


May 01, 2022 at 11:51 AM
 


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sceptic
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Pokemon Cards


A few other pointers (having shot quite a few close-up/product shots, albeit never professionaly):
Consider the trade off between lens-to-subject-distance and depth of field. Filling the frame with the card (by moving in close) will avoid the need for cropping (losing Mpixels), but will result in a narrower depth of field as compared to moving back and slightly cropping in post. Depth of field may become an issue if the cards are (even slightly) bent/skewed.

Verify on a big screen (i.e. not the rear LCD) that your set up results in the entire card being in focus and evenly lit before going through the entire batch and then realizing that the corners/edges look soft...

Make sure to get the correct white balance. There are many ways of doing this, neither of which is something I can properly explain. Google is your friend.



May 02, 2022 at 08:46 AM
lroger
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Pokemon Cards


Thanks again Sceptic.


May 02, 2022 at 10:07 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Pokemon Cards


lroger wrote:
Thanks jeffbuzz. Would you elaborate more on using a mirror for alignment? I'm not sure I understood.

Thanks.


If you see your lens reflection centered in the frame it is aligned parallel to the mirror surface. Then you will have zero perspective distortion of whatever that mirror is parallel to.

Once you have this setup you can remove the mirror and sub in whatever you want to shoot. As long as it's on the same surface as the mirror was you don't even have to refocus.












May 03, 2022 at 12:55 PM
rico
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Pokemon Cards


A different approach uses a geared head, my preferred apparatus for repro. A plane is defined by three non-colinear points. So, for example, you select a north point and a south point for focus. The head is arranged such that one degree of tilt freedom is north-south. Then you adjust focus and tilt until those points are in focus. Now select a point to the east and merely adjust east-west tilt to bring that point into focus. If the north/south points are off-center then you must iterate. Otherwise, the task is already done. It's a lot easier to do than explain.

One advantage of this method is the plane of focus need not be normal to the optical axis. IOW the subject can be canted but all in focus. This result requires a tilt/shift lens which is another useful item for repro.



May 03, 2022 at 03:28 PM
rek101
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Pokemon Cards


Can you buy one of an amazon tripods that has a horizontal position option to shoot strait down and return it after you're done? As for lighting, I would think shooting through a scrim and bouncing a bit of light back from the opposite side might be a good way to avoid glare, but I'm no expert. I love the mirror trick by the way.


May 03, 2022 at 11:20 PM







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