Mini Guide – Photographing 28mm miniatures

One of the things that I want to do when I get my BB figures back (fingers crossed) is photograph them for a ‘then and now’ catalogue. I certainly wasn’t the best painter as a teenager and probably aren’t now but part of getting back into Blood Bowl is the painting and collecting of miniatures. It looks as though I’ll need to venture into customisation as well this time around.

To get ready I spent some time earlier today, when Frankie was taking his nap, to test out some lighting and camera settings for the photo catalogue. I’ve taken a look on the internet and found a few examples of pictures that I like and tried to recreate them with what I had. I don’t have any BB of the models yet so found something from my wife’s collection of miniature curiosities to stand in for an Orc Blitzer. I purchased two adjustable desk lamps that should work well for photographing the models and will work well for when I get the mancave ready for painting too. They cost me £13 each in Sainsburys. They’re only 40W but based on the results below seem to do the job. Other than that I used my old Canon Ixus 85 IS digital camera and a large piece of thick white paper.

I read the camera’s manual and decided that there were only a few settings that I could play with – ISO, white balance and exposure. The Digital Macro setting was the obvious choice for this anyway. I’m not a photographer so didn’t really know what I was doing other than experimenting. I’m going to use Picasa to view and adjust the images on the computer but I don’t want to do lots of processing; Rename, Crop and Resize is the most I want to do.

The white balance setting dictated the way in which the white of the paper was represented. I tried all of the non-natural light settings but Tungsten was the most realistic of them all; which makes sense given the bulbs I am using.

I naturally picked higher ISO settings to start with thinking that bigger must be better. In fact the higher the value the grainier the picture. Putting it on Auto picked a low setting and resulted in a nice clear picture.

Increasing the exposure made the white whiter and took out some of the shadow that I was getting on the earlier shots.

Fluro light settingTungsten light on 1600 ISOTungsten light setting on 80 ISO

The final setup was to have the model sitting on the curved piece of paper with the two lamps as close to the model as possible, one facing slightly down on the model to the left and the other on the right. On the camera I ended by using the camera’s Digital Macro setting with a +1 exposure on Tungsten light adjustment with auto ISO. I also picked the superfine, best quality image settings.

I’m pretty happy with the result. A little too much shine on the top but I’ll tweak this when I do the Blood Bowl players next week, I want to see it with a painted model before finalising things.

Final image from the test shoot


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