August 2, 2011

Photography and why mine sucks

I was scanning through some of the images on my Photobucket account today when I came across my Circle and Minion miniatures. These are all sitting on a shelf in Ireland now not doing much except gathering dust. They are some of the best miniatures I have ever managed to paint and yet I was never really able to show them off. Why? Well my photography skills suck. I could blame my camera as I have had it for nearly ten years now and even back then it was a basic model! However that wouldn't be true. My camera hasn't changed and yet my current crop of photographs are much much better. These Swamp Gobbers are about the best of what I would have taken back then. The first thing to note is the model is poorly framed. Back then Photobucket didn't have a crop function and I certainly didn't have Photoshop. So this guy sits swallowed up by the gloomy background. The next thing to notice is the lack of contrast between the model and the background. Both are shadowy and dark. This was due to the fact that I was relying on some thin sunlight coming in through the venitian blinds of my apartment. Depending on the irish weather I could have a lot or I could basically have none, generally I had none. Now I have two daylight lamps that drown my subject in light. I could do with at least one more to be honest as I often still have some shadows in my photographs but this is kept to a minimum in general. The coulrs are much truer to what they are when viewed by the eye and I also can't hide the many mistakes me the lazy painter makes. Finally one big change I made and one I don't see replicated much is a grey background. Having scoured many fora in the search for the best miniatures and their painters I often noticed that the best had been photographed on a grey background. I copied this as far as I could. In a lot of my photographs you will have seen the simple grey t-shirt I use. Suprisingly it is quite blue but comes out much more neutral in the photographs. Why? Well I have no idea but it looks fine and whatever is happening to the colours of the t-shirt doesn't seem to be happening to the colours on the model, at least that I can make out. The reason given for this background on various fora is that professional photographers use it and so if they are getting paid for their knowledge then they have to be correct. So ever since then I have used it to.

I would love to have access to my Hordes models again. I really poured a lot of effort into them and as an army they are by far the nicest I have painted. I would really really love to take them out again and do them some justice in the photography department. Maybe if I can finally get back to Ireland then I can collect these too. At the moment I need to bring what is left of my Warmachine army, the remnants of my Dwarves and then pretty much everything from Primal and Evolution for Circle... Thats a lot.

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