Cheddarmongers Photo Skillz!

I still struggle with photography, but I know it doesn't take a very expensive camera, in fact, a 2 megapixel should be just fine. I use a Nikon Coolpix 3.2 megapixel; it was pretty pricey when it was new, but it would be pretty cheap today.

A couple of things that'll get you good pictures:

[*]Light! Can't have too much light! Just be sure to diffuse your light. If you can, go for professional photography lights. If you can get a hold of the 85 watt color-corrected fluorescent bulbs with lamps and diffusers, or shooting the light through an umbrella, you will be very happy. Standard bulbs just aren't powerful enough for this use.
[*]From Vermis -- For light, you can get daylight simulation bulbs from decent art or craft shops. These give a white light, compared to the yellow of most household bulbs which can alter the colours. They do cost a bit more, though. If you use them sparingly they should last a while.
[*]No Flash! That'll glare and screw up the color -- [i]update -- yes, you can use flash, because it provides more light than desk lamps, but make sure your miniature or background aren't shiny at all. Try to diffuse the flash to prevent glare.[/i]
[*]Macro mode. That's for close-ups. The big downfall to Macro mode for me is that you lose depth of field. That means that just a thin slice of space is in focus. If you're taking a picture of a big figure, some parts of it will end up blurry. I think more light helps, but even with a shallow depth of field, you'll get good enough pictures to post.
[*]Tripod and timer! Some of my shutter speeds are 1 second. A timer and tripod will keep you from shaking the camera.
[*]A neutral background. Don't just take your picture on your painting desk! The clutter will ruin the picture. Some folks use gradiated paper, others use plain white. I have a neutral gray scenic backdrop that I usually use.
[*]From Gi6ers (?) A decent graphics program can help to touch up brightness, contrast, etc. I use GIMP, which is freeware and is more than adequate.

The first tips were the essentials; theres a few slightly more advanced tips I can offer, then you'll have to go to the experts because I'm still not satisfied with my results.

[*]White balance -- many digital cameras allow you to take a measure of white before you take the picture, therefore it doesn't matter what kind of bulbs you use, as long as they are all the same.
[*]Color scale -- I created a color scale including a basic gray scale and printed it out:

[img_assist|nid=336|title=Color Scale|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=52|height=100]

include that somewhere on the edge of your picture so that you can crop it out later. The white area can be used to calibrate your white balance. The 50% gray and the black can be used in photoshop to adjust your curves, and the rainbow pallette forces the camera to include the full color spectrum in the picture. You can also use it to adjust your monitor.
[*]Camera manual mode -- use aperture priority and make the aperture as small as you can (the bigger the number, the smaller the aperture(sorry if I misspelled it!)). This will require long exposure times, but it will help maximize the depth of field. Unless your camera has a pesky filter that pre-empts the aperture size to filter out noise(like mine does, damnit!!).
[*]Image software -- I haven't used GIMP, but use something that can at least crop and resize your pictures. I think the best maximum size is 600 pixels wide, but I may start posting larger pictures.

Any more tips? Feel free to comment!


This is a conglomeration of my photography tips posted in the Forum of Doom.

[i]See my gallery here![/i]
David's Miniatures

Big Boris from Heresy Miniatures contributed the following hints:

[quote="Andy Foster"]
1. For better depth of field, try moving the camera back and zooming in.
2. For better pictures, get a better camera!

[i]See my gallery here! [/i]
David's Miniatures

My photography equipment and technique have been updated since I wrote this, so I'm editing the article, but won't go into DSLR photography here.