Sunday, 12 June 2011

Let there be light

As longer term readers will know, I've always had issues with taking photographs of my miniatures, particularly with the amount of light I could get on the subject.  In recent months I've managed to ease this problem by taking pictures outside (starting with the Juggernaut ).  Unfortunately the British summer has got back in to its usual pattern, and has started throwing it down every so often, making picture taking outside a risky and soggy experience (I haven't tried it by the way, just imagining).

A few weeks back, a "quick" trip to IKEA (just some oak and some pine and a handful of norsemen...) yielded three of these bad boys: 

Photo from IKEA

I'm a big fan, only £8.16 for something that clamps to a desk/work surface and fully adjustable, and can take a 20W energy saving daylight bulb (effectively 100W).  Speaking of which, I managed to pick up some bulbs from my local art store - Craft Factory PureLite 20W.  Unfortunately they only had two, so I'll have to pick a third up from Amazon or somewhere.

So the current photography set up looks like this (these pictures are a little ropey due to using my phone camera):

The top lamp is my trusty painting lamp with an 11W daylight bulb in it, obviously this will be replaced by the third Tertial when I get the bulb for it.  The light box is my own self made affair that I've been using for a while now.  I think I'm going to have to replace the top and side panels, which are currently tissue paper, with something a little more transparent (tracing paper maybe?  I'll need to do some research).

The early results aren't bad but required a little editing in Picassa to bring the light levels up:

This is Huron "post-droppage", which I don't think I've photographed before, I'm still really chuffed with this paint job, even though I've learned a lot since finishing him, and would possibly have done things differently.

Progress wise, things are on track.  The painting for next article of the Ancible is progressing well, although the whole process is slowed down somewhat by the need to take pictures at every stage, but it's still enjoyable.  The Ashkasa is going slowly, but steadily, and I'm making good progress on Boris:

I bought this chap because of the armour, I love the look of the scales and the skull breastplate, and the horned head sword hilt is nice too. It would have been too easy to paint the scales of his armour red, and invite the Khorne/Skorne comparisons, so I opted for blue instead.  This makes him a little less evil than the red would have, but the scales have come out nicely and work well with the gold.  The more I painted the Boris, the more "World of Warcraft" he looked, particularly the face, so I went full on for that look when I did the beard orange.  I'm now looking at ways I can accentuate that look with the rest of the miniature.  

Like a lot of Reaper models, Boris is stuck to a chunk of metal sculpted as ground that acts as a base.  I prefer my miniatures to have a stable base, so picked up some 30mm round lipped bases from Orc's Nest when I bought Boris and pinned him to it, filling in with basing sand to neaten up.  I've got a couple of other Reaper miniatures (one also called Boris for some reason - is Boris the name of choice for Evil fighters?) that I will be doing the same with.

So very much onwards and upwards at the moment - as always, comments and criticism welcome!


  1. Very interesting!

    Photography has always been a bit of a bugbear for me too. I have two anglepoise lamps with daylight bulbs now, set up on either side of the model, with a sheet of typo-detail paper taped over the front to diffuse the light.

    I've had problems when the background is too white and the auto settings on my camera compensates by making the model darker, hence I tend to use a mid-tone background (or terrain) to allow more light onto the model. I realise there are probably settings I could change on the camera but it's not really my bag.

    I do like your lightbox though, could be worth investigating further!

  2. Would suggest using any colour apart from White as the background. It just causes too many problems with light levels and digital cameras. A graduated background works well. I have various coloured papers and material I use.

  3. i too have one of those lights for painting however i picked up some of the bulbs ikea do that are a halogen bulb in a normal shaped bulb. very useful (and warm for winter) was thinking of getting a second but i think that might be a bit ott for my desk.
    admittedly my painting room (if not whole house) is beginning to look like an ikea advert!
    have to try it for use for photography soon i think as i hadnt really considered that.

  4. Looks like I'm off to HobbyCraft to get some different backgrounds then! Cheers Kenny and DT.

    The light box is based on an article from Tentakel Games:

    Millest - our house looks like an IKEA advert too, their stuff is just so damn useful...

    I would definitely recommend daylight bulbs though.