Miniatures - Photographing
- Use a dark backdrop as they are easier to color-tune.
- Stabilize your camera or smartphone with a tripod if you have one.
- Turn on manual or "pro" mode on smartphones.
- Set ISO as low as you can.
- Change your f-number to the wanted blurriness.
- Slow i.e. increase your shutter until the model is the brightest but black still stays black (doesn't look grey.)
- If your black looks slightly blue or red, change white balance to neutralize this, usually around 5000 - 6000.
Smartphone camera is more than enough for photos for the web. Photos to be printed usually require a proper camera, but there are some rare high quality smartphone cameras too.
Record your settings if your setup stays relatively similar.
Here are settings that work for my setup: I have relatively low budged setup so take anything in here with a grain of salt. smartphone > camera > pro > wide/macro > 2x (macro) iso shutter eva focus white balance 100 1/100 - Auto 5500 (or 200 for some miniatures) + use a matte black background, white background will not work with my bad camera + use the big desktop lights + don't use the box light + check that the histogram is neatly descending photo edits: + heal away any smudges on the photobooth + filter: detail, structure -50, sharpen +100 + vingette: outer -50 Here are setup when I want to take a video: * take the video using desk lamp, not the box light; more focused light * tune the exposure down but high enough so it doesn't flicker * cut the video so the rotation is around 360 * edit the video: shadows -50, black point -10, vingette 100, remove sound
Use a matte background. Black can make colors pop more and can hide shadows more, while white background is more neutral and more suitable for magazines. Prefer matte so it doesn't create reflections. If only posting online, you can use anything matte that contrasts with the miniature but doesn't take away focus. Many people prefer black backgrounds as they're easier to color-tune.
White backdrop is essential for painting in competitions.
Most competitions showcase and review your project against a white background.
Lightning is the most important aspect of taking photos. Even the best paint job, booth and camera won't be enough if there isn't enough light. You don't have to have the most expensive light gear but having at least one, preferably two, movable light sources is crucial.
Makes sure you have good lightning. The best setups have 2 light sources that you can adjust to be between the camera and miniature, slightly to the sides and pointing to the miniature. This allows an even lightning.
Prefer daylight bulbs so not too yellow or blue. You can do some color correction after taking the photo though. Take extra care to check that blacks stay black and whites stay white.
Light the miniature, not the background. Use soft light, make sure there are no hard shadows. The background shouldn't ideally have any shadows if you are using your lights properly.
Ensure the whole model, including weapons and base, are in focus. You can accomplish this by taking the shot further away (up to 90 cm away if you have a good camera) or rotating your miniature. The miniature can take as little as 1/4 of the photograph view, you can crop the image later.
Find the model's Golden Angle and use that. If not sure where to take the picture, see how the model manufacturer advertises that model. Show as much detail as possible.
Try lowering your camera to the eye-level of your model to take a few photos. It has the effect of making the model look more real. This perspective trick works in most cases.