An easy way to improve your photographs is to control how light falls on you minis. By manipulating the lighting you can minimize reflections and shadows that would otherwise obscure detail. Similarly, by controlling the light you can ensure that your photographs capture the true colors of your troops and help make them pop.
The easiest way to ensure good lighting is by taking pictures outside on a cloudy day. If your not patient enough to wait for perfect outdoor conditions then your next best option is to use a lightbox. There are dozens of lightboxes and light tents available commercially, but building your own is simple. Let me show you how it's done...
You can build it. You have the technology.The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies. You will need the following:
- A cardboard box large enough to contain the models that you want to photograph.
- Tissue paper (the kind for wrapping gifts, not the kind for blowing your nose).
- A box cutter, hobby knife, or even a kitchen knife
- A ruler or straight edge
- A pen or marker
The final step is installing a background. If you want the seamless look that many minis retailers use then a sheet of white poster board will do the trick. Trim the poster board down so that it will slide into the box. You want to tape it against the top of the back wall, then allow it to curve out towards the opening in the front of the lightbox. This is the final result:
Let there be light!Now that the light box is complete all that's left to do it is light it up. You will need a total of three light sources. I am using two desk lamps and a magnifier lamp on a long arm to light mine. For best results you should try to use 100 watt daylight bulbs. Incandescent bulbs will work, but will give a slightly yellow tinge to your photos (which you can correct in Photoshop or GIMP, but that's another article).
The tissue paper will allow light through, but will diffuse it so that your model doesn't catch any harsh reflections. You can control the amount of shadow by how you set up your lights. If you want lots of shadows use light coming in from only one side of the box. To reduce the amount of shadow bring in light from both side of the box, and to eliminate almost all of the shadows bring in light from the top as well.