Scale RC Photography: Tips & Tricks (#01)

Scale RC Photography: Tips & Tricks (#01)

My first tip for scale photography- get low!

With the size of these RC’s, we obviously tower over them- and when we take out our cameras and start snapping pics at standing height you end up with a bunch of photos of the rig’s roof from above. Sure, there are instances where that will produce a decent image, and I’ll show a couple examples of that later in the post, but a majority of the time you’re better off getting low instead.

For example, the photo below I shot at standing level. This particular photo was from an event, so I wasn’t particularly concerned with getting “scale” shots, but it shows what I’m talking about with being above the rig. You don’t look at it and think, “Is it real?”. Plus, having someone’s legs and feet in the shot kind of give it away as well.

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So what do you do? Get down level with the vehicle; kneel, sit, or even lay down to take the photo. You are essentially “scaling” yourself down to RC size in a sense. For example, with scale crawlers most people tend to use the 7″ figures for drivers. With that in mind, you want to try and get yourself to about their eye level.  For the photo below, I knelt down as the truck was passing through this section of the course, resulting in a much more realistic feeling photo (minus the course markers giving it away, but again, as it was a comp I wasn’t fully concerned with the scale shots). Also, try to fill the frame (Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with the rig) and be mindful of your background. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a great scale shot only to have a random hand or foot in the shot.

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(Below, an example of a decent scale shot, but the legs in the background give it away)

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For the photo below, I physically laid on the ground to take the photo. I also removed any leaves, branches, or other items that might not look so scale prior to snapping the photo. Otherwise you’d have a photo with some giant-looking leaves in it giving it away!

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Now what do I mean by filling the frame? Well, with RC’s already being fairly small, if you take a shot from further away it just makes it look all the much smaller (See below). And again the course markers don’t help either and give it away as well. The further away from the RC you are, the more you’re going to capture in your image, thus increasing the chances of having things that don’t look “scale” in the photo or just look out of place.

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However, if you get up close to the rig and fill as much as the frame as you can, it gives it a much more impactful look. It makes the rig look bigger, and more closely like a full scale.

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Of course, there are times when a photo from further away may indeed work. With the photo below, I timed the shot to get the Jeep coming up over the rock so that the scale campsite would be seen in the background. Notice with this one though, I made sure to not catch any of the course markers or stakes in the photo so that there were no immediate indicators that this may in fact be a RC truck.

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With all that in mind, I’m going to cut it off there for now- hopefully I’m not just rambling and people find this post helpful. As always, photography is an art form and everyone interprets it differently, so what looks good to me may not look that great to you- and that’s ok! What I write about is what works for me and I put it out there to hopefully help others who may find it useful.

If you have any of your own tips relating to what I’ve discussed in this post, please feel free to comment them below or get in touch with me on Facebook; I’m always up for some photography chat!

Also, if you’re into Scale RC Photography, check out the Facebook group that’s been started. I would love to see more members join up and be active in the group! Check it out here.

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