Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Photography and The Challenge

I'm not a good photographer, in fact I'd say I'm a distinctly average one. But a new camera that's too clever for my own good and Curt's request for smaller images on Challenge submissions had me looking to improve my setup. This is what I came up with:

First, location. This is in the loft, below a velux window. The brightest spot in the house, neither direct sunlight nor too shady. I tried shooting outside, but couldn't get enough light to the underside of the minis so had to retake the photos inside.

The backdrop is made of a cardboard box. The plain blue card gives a less harsh background than white but would be better if it was blue/white transition. Someday I might try other colours, black seems quite popular. The white paper is an attempt to make the most of the limited light from one daylight bulb and the natural light above. Well, it might work!

I'd like to get more daylight lamps, this angle poise is my only one so it have it as close to the camera lens as I can. Two or three in some kind of light box setup would be great, though would take up quite a bit if space if I left it set up permanently. The daylight bulb is quite harsh, particularly as I often photograph the slightly shiny minis before the final coat of Dullcote. So I've a makeshift diffuser from a piece of baking paper blue-tac'd over the bulb - that's what you can see on the right.

The camera gets great images, but I struggle with depth of field. I'm shooting with a high F number and get best results from the tripod. The backdrop sits on a box file to shoot from a more suitable level. I usually set a 2 second delay too, to minimise any shake from me pressing the button, a tip I picked up somewhere. But the setup makes it a bit fiddly to reach the camera, let alone the subject!

That's my setup, but I'd be interested in seeing how other painters take their shots, particularly any good tips I might be able to use.

As for the challenge itself, we've trundled past the one month point. I think I'm roughly on target to make my points, while I was looking bare I've just logged a theme round and normal entry. I think I'll be relying on relatively quick theme round entries to make my target, unfortunately. Sadly, those 50 point blocks are just too tempting for a painter of my rate and it does give me an excuse to dig through the lead pile for something different.

The side challenge with MichaelA and Greg isn't looking great - that might be a loser particularly as I'm going to detour into 15mm WWII once a delayed Wayland Games order arrives. But I'm pleased what the side challenge has kept me focused this far with a good few units added to the Sudan project. But I'm afraid I'm feeling the grind now so intend to spend a couple of evenings prepping, terraining or on the PS3 before attacking the next batch with gusto.


  1. Well with regards to the photography set up, sounds to me that you have it spot on. Like you I use a tripod and high f. numbers to achieve depth of field, but I have invested in a remote control so I can set up and retire to a safe distance before firing!

  2. Your photography set up is much better than mine. I normally just stick a sheet of white foam-core behind and then either another white sheet or the painted and flocked sheet under the models. I use my standard daylight lamp, but adjust the height and angle. I'm using a basic digital camera with a tripod and a 2 second delay.

    Your entries so far have been great Phil. Your painting quality is right up there, far above mine.

  3. You seem to be doing fine Phil, good images.

  4. Try adding some home made silver foil reflectors if want to get more light. Use a remote as per mr Awdry, or Timer Delay so you are not touching the camera. I am using my camera flash , but using a diffuser which is working well.

  5. Interesting ! it's always useful to have ideas about the photos, a step which is not always the easier !
    I must try a daylight tube....

  6. My camera's far too complicated, the manual is as thick as me!! Looks though your doing everything right though.

  7. Photography is the part of our hobby that I struggle with. I'm better than I was but even now, I'll load a batch of photos and think "what happened here?" My setup is pretty much what you've got. A daylight lamp, a digital camera and pieces of paper I swap out.

    If you crack the code, be sure to post up the solution. ;-)


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