Thursday, May 5, 2016

50,000 Hits & Looking To Improve! Better Photos On The Way?!?

If you follow GanguStars at either Facebook or Twitter than you may have seen that last we the blog hit the 50,000 page view mark. Something an online project of mine has not done in 15 years. Some of you may be less than impressed with that number since larger toy sites can see 30,000 views in a month. That doesn't bother me, I am super proud that so many people are taking a second to check this page out and spend their valuable time here. So thank you all!
With that, I should say I am still in "home improvement" mode here. I mentioned back in March that I had picked up a new video camera and received some studio lighting. These past few days I have been testing them out. Prior to this I added one more piece to the mix, a stand/backdrop holder for photo shoots. I absolutely could have just bought one off Amazon for $30-$45 shipped. But I only paid $8.50 for the materials here and with just 35 minutes time had a stand that is more customizable and fitting to the photo shoots I take. This is going to see a lot of use in the near future.
Imaginext blind bag princess She-Ra figures toys

With all things in place, a backdrop stand, new lights, using my DSLR I finally got to doing some test shooting. I hate to say it, but results were very mediocre. I know I need to replace my 2006 DSLR with a newer one. The focus sensor on my current camera has been very spotty, and honestly, the camera has also been difficult to use in close-up shots. But I think the real culprit in these past two days have been the new lights, or actually light singular. These new lights are so big when set up that I only had enough space to set one of them up. I really need to start selling stuff in order to make space for projects like this. I don't want to dwell on the space issue, because the real problem is that the photo bulbs the lights came with are florescents! The benefit to these are of course lower usage costs, and a much cooler work environment. The downside is that all my photo have a blue tint to them that I can't seem to get rid of and only minimize when using all the settings my camera has available. However, thanks to computers I can fix this, to a degree.
Star Wars Boba Fett LEGO clock figure giant ESB Empire
It took hours to clean up all the photos I had taken. I did get them to a point where I was somewhat satisfied. It's going to take much fiddling with the settings to get them exactly where I want them. As you can see in the photo above, the original pictures are very blue hued. Every photo I took came out like this, the video tests I shot as well. I changed and adjusted the white balance to get to this point, because it was much worse in previous pics. I also adjusted the color balance, but this was the best I was able to to do straight out of the camera. Photo editing tools did the rest.
Imaginext DC Super Friends Mr Freeze robot Toys R Us comics Batman toysImaginext DC Super Friends Batgirl super heroine comics Batman toys
I'm sure this process will become easier once I get a general idea of the perfect settings, but right now it's super time consuming. And while the final pics look good on their own, if you look at the Imaginext Batgirl pics you can see my photo still looks a little blue/green compared to the promo stock photo from Fisher-Price. This has had me wondering if just replacing the bulbs is the simple fix? Or just shoot using my old system of lighting set-ups. The Joker pic below was taken 2 days ago and looks good to me, but the Microman pic I took a year and a half ago looks great!
Imaginext DC Super Friends Joker comics Batman toysaction figures GanguStars Projects imaginext dc comics Microman

action figures GanguStars Projects imaginext dc comics Microman

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