Monday, 13 February 2012

Photographing Your Mini's - the Essentials

Unfourtunately the Apoc' game on Sunday was cancelled! Some players had to drop out so we scrapped it.

Following the latest Elysian Showcase, i had a handful of questions about how i take my pictures. Now you can find out!

Theres no surprises here for the more experienced miniature photographer, but if your just getting started or are looking to improve, these are the things you'll probably need.

1. A Light Box

This ones home made, and they are SO easy to construct! I wouldn't even consider buying one! Take a cardboard box, cut out a large window in the top and sides, then fix grease proof paper/tracing paper over the windows. Done! Get yourself some light sources (these lamps cost about £3 each from Ikea!!) and your away.

In addition to the Light Box you'll also need some Photo Backgrounds. These are widely available for download on the Internet. Just Google it and you'll get heaps of results.

2. A decent SLR Camera

The camera i use is a Cannon EOS 1000D, a mid range SLR. Hell, if you''ve got a decent enough digital camera, that will do just fine! This one belongs to Mrs GunGrave, who i bought it for a few years ago. I also have a Telephoto Macro Lens 70-300mm for close ups and a dedicated Macro 100mm lens for super detail! The lenses are expensive and not entirely necessary for good photography. If you do have them or have access to them they can make your pictures a bit better!

3. Tripods

Mrs GunGrave has 2 Tripods that i have access to (both of which i bought her! She's spoilt rotten!) The one below is a 1.5M Tripod which i use for most of my pictures. The Tripod is so important in certain photo modes, which will blur with the slightest movement! You don't need to spend a heap on them either - you can get a half decent one for about £30.

Sometimes though you might want to get a bit closer to your minis for those super detailed, close in shots. The big Tripod probably wont allow you to do this so this Gorilla Pod is perfect for the job! Again, its not that expensive and small enough for you to get in nice and close.

4. White Balance

Having an understanding about how White Balance works will improve your photos loads, even without the other things listed above! White balance simply eliminates that horrible yellow-tinge you get on photos sometimes, and will give you brilliantly clear photos. A tutorial on White Balance can be found here.

Hopefully this will improve you mini pictures and give you nice clear results. If you do take up some of these tips, do let me know how you get on!

Finally, get some cat-proofing for you Forge! They can really get in the way and screw up your photos sometimes!

(Errr, got any Tuna...?)

The GunGrave


  1. Shame about the game getting cancelled, but I'm glad you posted this tutorial. Getting better at photographing minis has been on my to-do list for quite some time.

    Hopefully my digital camera can manage though, SLR's are expensive!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to post this. I will definatly come back to this when I take my next batch of photos. I have one question though, what software do you use to add a watermark to your photos?

  3. What do you mean by Watermark mate? You mean the logo? If so, i do it in MS Publisher. Its dead easy! Just add your logo on top of your picture, and then save the whole lot as one picture.

  4. Thanks GunGrave, been wondering how to do them for a while.

  5. Yikes, I feel like a huge slug now. I don't have any of this stuff for taking pictures. I need to get on the ball.

    Ron, FTW

  6. On the ball, ron!

    Watermarks can be added automatically by the adobe photo apps, as well, batch import gives you the ability to watermark them and add all the cool copyright info.

    I like this set up, very similar to mine. I also like that cat, awesome...looks feral, :)

  7. excellent, can you just clarify one or two things for me please?

    i have a Canon450d and a 100mm dedicated macro lens. can you advise me as to what settings you use to take your photos?

    i have tried all sorts of settings and the pictures end up awful - any info on say length of exposure, iso and/or f stop?



    1. Hi Steve,

      If you send me a picture that you've taken recently along with the settings you've used, that will help me to diagnose the problem for you.

      Send it to the AGGtG Hotmail account (top right column of this page) and i'll get back to you!

  8. Thanks mate, I will do but it'll be a day or two!

    Currently laid up in bed very ill!