Here’s something useful for all of you participating the Invitational:
Quick and simple guide for photographing miniatures using your phone.
Modern phones are ridiculously good at taking pictures I use old iphone 6s and I think that the newer versions are even better for miniature shooting with their dual optics and stuff.
You dont really need much to take good photos of your miniatures. The technology has come a long way making the process smooth and easy.
You still need to master few things though.
First you need to have good place to shoot.
I take my photos using my desk as a background. This is quick because I don’t really need to setup anything for the photo session. Some people use light boxes but I personally think that they make the pictures too sterile.
Use your imagination when choosing the place to shoot.
Dark background usually works better than a white one. I use simple Ikea box lid.
Lighting is important. I would advice you not to use daylight, since its very unpredictable: it constantly shifts and its tone changes depending on the season and time of day. Here in the north we really don’t have natural light anyway so its not even a choice for me.
You need two lamps with daylight bulbs. One is used as main light, while the other is used for complimenting and removing unwanted shadows.
Heres an example of the differences of using two light sources instead of one.
A single light source can sometimes leave unwanted shadows that hide details:
Those shadows are now removed by adding a secong light source:
Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t try to eliminate all the shadows. Just the darkest ones. You need shadows to make a good photograph. My advice here is that experiment with the lighting, try dramatic light of very dim one. You can easily change the mood of the photo by slightly changing the place of the lights.
Now it’s time to grab your phone and start shooting. Place your miniature against the backdrop, don’t try to take the photo too close, the optics will distort the proportions if you are focusing too close. Take your distance and crop the final result when you are ready.
Focus on the mass of the miniature, or preferably the face. Then, by using your finger slide the exposure curve down until you see that no part of the picture is over exposed.
Keep your light sources close to miniature. So you have enough light in your picture, don’t be scared that it first seems that the whites in the picture will over expose, you will easily fix this by dragging the exposure curve down until you are happy with the result.
Picture 1 with no exposure adjustments:
picture 2 with exposure adjusted. See the difference?
Here we see how the sleet in the base was first over exposed because of the high contrast.
Here it is fixed and the difference is huge.
Once you are happy with the result you can crop the picture to your taste.
Simple and easy and you can do it too!
Remember that photography is a form of art. Tell stories with your photos, don’t just take them, make them!