Saturday, 16 April 2011

Basic Photography tips..

... I see so many pics on the web of what could well be really nice minis but actually look like a blur of colour in one part of the image with some other stuff going on everywhere else, or an out of focus mini with the computer keyboard and cup of coffee behind it in pin sharp focus.
What I'd like to do, for those that want it, is to offer some tips that anyone can use to help with taking pics of minis, this won't involve building light boxes changing the background in photoshop or anything else - they also won't let you take pics to the same standard as someone using an SLR and a proper light box along with a huge tripod, what it will do is let you present to the best of your ability and the equipment you're using an image of the mini you are trying to show to the world, so without further ado:-

1) Be your own worst critic, every digital camera has a method of reviewing the image you've just taken, so use it - have a look at the pic and think to yourself - is it blurred, is the mini in focus and are there 237 other things in the pic that are taking attention away from the mini itself? You'll need to put yourself in somebody else's shoes for a minute and they don't know what the mini looks like in real life, they have no idea of the effort you've put in to make it the way it is, all they have to go on is what's on their screen in front of them, so if you're happy for them to base their ideas of what your work is like on that - go for it, if you think you can do a bit better take the extra couple of minutes to try for another shot - NB If you are using film then ignore everything I've just said, and feel free to get in touch I like talking to crazy people ;o)

2) Find a way to steady your camera, or camera phone or whatever you are using to take your pic, it doesn't have to be a tripod, or a Gorrillapod, (but they do work well), it could be a beanbag or even just resting your hand against something - but I reckon camera shake is the number one reason for crappy pics on the internet. Once you've done that go back to what I said in step one - if you,re happy with the result - go for it, if not find a better way.

3) Use natural light, (i.e. the stuff that comes in your window), wherever possible and if you don't make sure your camera's white balance can cope with the light you are using or you can change it in your photo editing program. If the white balance is wrong it can literally change the colours on your mini and very rarely for the better. If you're not sure what I'm talking about go back to step one above - take the pic, do the colours look like they do in real life - sorted, if they don't then you have a problem.

4) Try and fill the image with what you want to show, if it's one mini then that has to be the thing that draws peoples eyes to it, if there are 237 other things in the picture and every thing is in focus people eyes will dart all around the picture and only go back to the mini now and then. If it's out of focus and something else is in focus - guess where people will be looking? If it's a battle scene or diorama then all of it has to be in focus unless you are attempting to emphasise one particular part of it then it's a good idea to have that part in focus and everything else as far out of focus as possible. If you can't take the pic like that with the camera spend 2 minutes with an editing program to try and crop out most of the extra detail - there are lots of them out there and some of them are both a) good and b) free.

Oh and last, (for now), but definitely not least - practice, honestly it's like pretty much anything - the more you do it the better you'll get at it!

I'll be posting more in future and if you've any questions or comments please let me know.


  1. Great tips! I've learned many of these the hard way through a few years of blogging. I will say that I recently sprung for a 'desktop' tripod and I'm really liking it. It was around $12 so I'm sure there are better ones out there, but it works!

  2. There may very well be better ones out there but if it works that's all you need.