Your miniatures are set to do battle, conquer new realms or even fly to far-away planets, so when your photos of these mighty leaders end up making them look like out-of-focus bits of plastic, it’s a real shame. When you’ve spent a long time painting your miniatures, you want to show them off, whether this is on Facebook, Twitter, or just as a picture message to friends. If you’ve ever struggled to get great results and are unhappy with blurry images that have unsightly color casts, Photography for Beginners is here to help. In this tutorial we show you how to take your best-ever shots of your miniatures, from the right settings to creating your very own backdrop.
Tip 1: Go Macro To get in really close to your miniatures you will need to shoot macro. You can do this in a few ways: set your compact to Macro mode (the flower symbol), use a dedicated macro lens if you have an interchangeable lens camera, or use close-up filters or extension tubes. To find out more about these options head over to the Photography for Beginners site.
Tip 2: Choose Your Settings If you have manual modes, set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and select a wide aperture (low f number) to blur the background. Keep the ISO low to reduce noise and your camera will set the shutter speed. Compact users can simply set to Macro mode and the camera will do all the hard work. Make sure you set up on a tripod or prop your camera on a hard surface to keep shots steady and free from blur. you set up on a tripod or prop your camera on a hard surface to keep shots steady and free from blur.
Tip 3: Set the White Balance Ever wondered why your shots keep coming out really orange or blue? These colour casts are down to the white balance the camera picks. Help it out by telling it what light you are using by selecting a preset white balance such as Incandescent or Tungsten.
Tip 4: Create a Backdrop Cluttered backgrounds of desktops or living rooms can ruin your shot, so try creating your own backdrop. Put up paper or card behind the miniatures to remove distractions or set them on the game board for context. Here we have printed out an image to give it some extra color.
Tip 5: Light It Up The most important thing to make your minis really stand out is the lighting. Either set them up by a window for natural light or simply use a desk lamp. Here we have used two desk lamps with tracing paper over them for softer light. Having two will fill in any shadows, but you could use one lamp and a piece of white paper to bounce the light back in on the other side.
Tip 6: Consider Your Angle Think about the angle you are shooting from. It’s best to get down to the level your miniatures are on, or even try to shoot from a slightly lower angle to make them look big and imposing. Half press your shutter button to focus and then fully press it to shoot. Review your shot on the back of your camera, making sure the right area is sharp and the image is well exposed. Move your point of focus or adjust settings if needed.
Tip 7: Edit the Shots To finish, take your image into editing software or an app to enhance it further. Use Unsharp Mask to sharpen it up, Levels to tweak the exposure, as well as Shadows and Highlights to brighten up dark areas. Get the best editing tips and creative ideas now over at Photoforbeginners.com.
Follow these essential photography tips and pretty soon you will be capturing amazing images. Bring your miniatures to life!
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