4 Tips for better miniature photography

This is not an exhaustive list, but I have found if you can get a few basics right you can achieve a fairly good standard of photography;

1. Light – Use a good light source, light from the front ie the side your camera is, position your light directly over the figure and tilt it towards the model slightly. As you can see in the picture below there is a shadow cast behind the model, to prevent this use two lights, one from the right and above and the other from the left and above. If you can, fit a Daylight bulb for pure natural light. See image below

DSCF1326

2. Backdrop – Use a complimentary background, I have found that models with lots of flesh a light tones look better on a black background and the reverse for darker tones,  I use a light blue for darker models. To set it up just use a piece of coloured paper/card that is blu tacked down at the front and is resting on a small box at the rear. This creates a curve that forms a smooth backdrop behind the model. See image below

DSCF1327

3. Camera – To avoid shaky out of focus shots there are two things you can do, always use the timer and use a tripod (or rest the camera on the table/desk you are using). On most cameras you can change the shutter speed, on my images its set to 1/85, the longer the shutter is open the more light can get into the picture. A secondary setting to change would be the aperture setting, it’s normally displayed on most cameras as ‘F’ with two numbers after it, for example mine is set to F/3.2 .

4. Lastly take lots and lots of shots and edit out the worst ones, I would normally say from 50 shots I may get 1 or 2 good ones, so just snap away.

There is not one set up to fit all, but I found experimenting around with the points outlined above that you can find an environment that can produce some very nice images.

Thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “4 Tips for better miniature photography

  1. I would add that if your camera has a macro setting, to use that for the picture. Avoid using a flash if at all possible. The lower the f-stop setting, the more light is being allowed through the lens. You can also adjust the ISO to 200 or even 400 since your model should be well lit. If that blows out the highlights, then decrease the shutter speed or increase the f-stop. A remote control or wired trigger is better than using the timer, if you have one.

  2. Great article… Could I just add as a sort of side note, if people are looking to upgrade their phone and want to take decent shots of their miniatures , I can recommend the Samsung S3 Android, it’s great.

  3. Nice. Saw this posted on Reddit Warhammer 40k. I know a lot of decent painters (incl. me) have trouble with macro photography.

    I actually use only one lamp, with a GE daylight bulb, positioned right above my camera. Not perfect, but if you can’t set up two, it produces decent results. As for cameras I actually brought an unpainted mini to the camera store and tested the floor model’s macro on it. As a result I found an economical camera that still takes nice macro shots of 15mm and 28mm minis.

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