Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How I Photograph my Minis in Minutes

The setup I use when photographing my minis

Today, I will be continuing the series of posts about how I go about photographing my minis.  When doing this I try to keep my time doing this to a minimum to save my valuable hobby time I could use for painting, modelling, etc.  

The first timesaving tip is I keep the above setup in place so all I have to do is place the mini in the lightbox and put camera on tripod.  I use my wife's Nikon D40 SLR camera to take all my pics.  I have my own SD card just for minis and blogging that I swap in so mini pics don't get mixed in with wife's pictures.  The lightbulb in the lamp is a 150W Reveal(daylight bulb).  

That is my basic setup of all the hardware.  As far as settings on the camera go, I am still experimenting with that, but I will show you some of my results below and tell you how what I use.  I put the camera in Shutter Priority mode first, I know I should use macro mode but I am still learning.  Using the Shutter Priority mode allows me to change the shutter speed up or down depending on light.  This can vary the outcome of the picture greatly as I have found out during my trials.  Another key component in this is to always use the self-time mode.  Touching the camera especially during long shutter openings is very bad for quality.  I usually setup and take a pic using timer.  I then check the lighting in the picture and adjust the shutter speed up or down to let in more or less depending on this outcome.  Usually after a couple test pic I am close enough to finish with my next step.

When I have something I want to post, I will take the photos from SD card and open in imaging software like photoshop.  I usually keep my changes simple, Crop, Resize to 600x400(or thereabouts), then Autocorrect the lighting.  These take just a few seconds and can help the quality of lighting and pic alot.  Sometimes if I did everything right in the photobox I skip the Autocorrect lighting step.  Below are some pics I have taken in my photobox using the settings talked about above.  I am still in the trial and error stage and am still learning more about the camera each time I use it, so hopefully I will get better.

Pics taken just for this article using blue gradient background

Pic posted previously on blog using white background

Taken at same time as above pic

Pic taken with same camera setup, but no lightbox, just paper leaned against glue bottle

Taken same as above

Taken same as above

Pic taken outside with no other lightsources or tripod

Pic taken in lightbox with white background paper

Pic taken in lightbox with white background paper at same time as above pic of Gobbers

As you can see from above there are varying ways of doing this all with slightly different outcomes.  I think all of the above are acceptable for my blogging purposes.  The bottom pics(not Hordes pics) were taken over a year ago while the top pic was taken just two days ago.  As I am still learning the settings of the camera, I feel like I need something that pushes it to next level.  If you see what I am doing wrong, please tell me.  I think there is a little black magic involved in great pics, but that's just my opinion.

Well, I hope you have picked up something useful from my ramblings and poor grammar that will help you take better pics for your blog.  I really don't make a concerted effort to get great pics as I am pretty happy right now with my outcome.  It really only takes a minute or two per pic to photograph(and edit pics) of your minis to the above quality so give it a shot.  I bet you could have photographed your last project in less time than it took to read this post if you used the above methods. 

And as always if I learn more on the subject I will post the results of my trials and errors.  If you know something I can try, let me know and I'll give it a go.  

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