Learning to Take Better Mini Pics

Learning to take better pics and photos of 40K miniatures and models.   A lot of online photo guilds are useful or even simple, but I still need to translate the sage advice into actual pics for this blog.   Game plan is to pick up a few quality light sources on the cheap, flood the model with light and snap away from a tripod. 

Step 1:  Stopping trip to Target

  • Desk Lamp (2)- rated for 60W   $15.98
  • Mini Tripod  $19.99
  • GE reveal 75 bulbs*  $3.49
  • Gift to state of Illinois  $2.66
  • Total  $42.12

*bulbs are ‘Crystal Clear’, notable by their high price and clear glass bulbs.

Step 2:  Set up desk
Hang a plane white sheet of paper as a back drop.   Not only will the backdrop eliminate any clutter behind the model, but the white face should help reflect more light onto the model.


Test 3:  Results
INQ touchup    INQ raw

Both photos were taken with my new lighting set up.  The photo on the left is touched up with Microsoft Picture It!*.  The photo on the right is cropped, but otherwise unaltered.  Moral of the story, even bad pics can be helped with a touch of computer TLC.

*software that came bundled with my PC along with the other Microsoft products.  Spent about 5 minutes flipping switchs for brightness and sharpness.

I need more work on my photo skills – I’m not at all happy with the yellow haze and the general murkiness in the recesses of the model. Two plans spring to mind – first, add more light (I’ve got my eye on a bank of florescent lights at Wal-Mart); second, try to use and understand terms such as ‘color balance’ and ‘aperture’ (I’ve already tried to read what passes for my camera’s manual without much success).

Links to people who know what they are talking about:


  1. #1 by Dragontigre on June 18, 2007 - 3:32 pm

    A selection of links on this topic by a fellow hobbyist and blogger :


    Some are in french but many are in english.

    I still don’t use a light tent/box but I should… Since you take a lot of pictures for your blog too, you may consider building one.

    As for the yellow haze… the most important thing to understand with your camera settings is “White Balance”

  2. #2 by Mad Jack Deacon on June 22, 2007 - 10:27 am

    Tip #1: You may also want to purchase an entire role of butcher paper. That way you can run it up the wall above the level of the lamps. You’ve got the models on white paper, but you’re getting a lot of reflected red off the walls. More paper will reduce that, and when you’re done you just roll it back up!

    Tip #2: Go to the store and look for plastic jugs that have the same sort of clearish plastic that milk jugs use. Buy them. Pour out the contents and cut the bottoms off with a lip of 6″ or more. Use some duct tape to tape them to the lamps. You’ve just created some light diffusers without spending $$$ for an light box (heh… light box.).

    For some other tips go to:


  3. #3 by TAB Studio on July 19, 2007 - 8:18 am

    One Quick comment on the yellow haze is check to see if your camera has a white balance meter and if so utilize it before each photo shoot. I use a coffee filter and place it right where the mini will be and then measure/calibrate, after that measurement I keep the lights where they are or if I move them around I re measure. Keeps the colors looking like what I see IRL. Cheers

  1. Tutorial: Photographing your models – backgrounds with GIMP » Incunabulog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: