Friday, July 8

New Camera Set-up for Photographing Minis



I've never been particularly happy with how my photos of my minis look on this blog.  I tend to do one of two things when taking photos of them.  The first is to just take a picture with my phone camera using my hobby lamp as the sole light source or I use a small digital camera with a light box, again just using my hobby lamp as the light source.  I then adjust the photo using Picasa to try to get the colours close to how they look in real life.  The problem is that if the colours are vivid, the adjustment really can look terrible.  As an example, look at my photo of some of my Goblin Blood Bowl team.


The models really do look nothing like this at all.  The skins have been yellowed and the red and yellow clothing are far too garish.  Terrible and quite annoying as I actually got a Best Painted award for this team at a tournament.

I knew I really did need to get some extra lamps so I have been keeping an eye out for something cheap on eBay - and I did eventually pick up a light box with four different backgrounds, two lamps and a camera stand all for the princely sum of £13!  I had also seen a webcast where a professional photographer had said that cameras in phones and small digital cameras save the image in .jpg format which means the device is doing a lot of the processing of the image before it's even saved to the memory card.  What you do in post-processing is fix what it messes up.  He took photos in a .raw format and uses his computer software to adjust the raw image data.  So - as the light box kit had included a camera stand, I dug out my wife's old Nikon D40 digital SLR camera which had been in a cupboard for years.  I have since found that camera manufacturers actually have their own proprietary encoding for .raw and Nikon uses a .nef format.  Thankfully it seems that Picasa can edit these so I was good to go.  First attempt was for the four journeymen goblins from the previous picture - and they now look like this :


This if far closer to how these models look on the tabletop!  I have taken photos of the rest of the Goblin team in this way and I'll post these below.  I still need to play around and work out things a bit better as the camera I'm using is a DSLR and it's a lot more complicated than the point and click of the little digital camera or my phone camera.  I need to work out how to expand the depth of field so I can take an image of a group of models and keep them all in focus.  Something for next time!  Until then, here's some better photos of my Goblin team.