A picture is worth a thousand words

01 Jan 2005

Some pointers for taking good pictures of your miniatures.
These pointers are all taken from articles on miniature photography found at the coolminiornot website.
Set ISO sensitivity to the lowest level
This is like putting in 100 speed film as opposed to 400 speed film. It means that you need more light, but your pictures are going to be more clear (less grainy).
Set the sharpness as low as possible
Set the contrast as low as possible
Set the saturation to a high value
Higher saturation gives "richer" colors; this can be adjusted to taste.
Set the aperature (f-stop) to the highest value you can
The will give you the widest field of focus.
Adjust the shutter speed so that the light meter reads +2 on the exposure
Going above or below this will cause the image to be lighter or darker. Adjust to taste.
Do NOT use the flash
This will wash out your picture at this close range.
Use a tripod
Otherwise you will get a blurry image.
Flood the miniature with light. Shadows are bad. Poor light is bad.
Even a tiny shadow on a miniature will look huge; plus with the low ISO and high aperature settings, if you don't have a lot of light the picture will be very dark.
Try to surround the miniature with several lights from multiple directions so there are no shadows.
Do NOT use the zoom (optical OR digital)
This will make the picture grainy. Instead place the camera as close to the miniature as possible.
Turn ON macro mode
This will allow you to stay in focus even when the camera is extremely close to the miniature.
Do NOT snap the picture manually; use a timer or a remote
Pressing the button yourself will wiggle the camera and cause the picture to be blurry.
Adjust the white balance before you take the pictures
Your camera will assume that the light is from sunlight and your colors won't look true, unless you have manually adjusted the white balance beforehand.
After you take the picture, adjust the colors in photoshop (you do have photoshop don't you?)
Don't use the auto-levels feature. It very rarely gets it right when dealing with miniatures. Instead, use the Selective Color tool. With this, you can get much finer control over how the colors are adjusted.