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This was an interesting project. Very small, highly detailed and meticulously painted miniatures from the Games Workshop range. The images were to be used to promote the painting and build skills, and showing the detail was paramount.

Lighting tiny objects is subject to the same general needs as any other object. We want to show it’s shape, form and texture. Which means carefully using key and accent lighting to develop the image as we see fit. The biggest fly in the ointment is trying to scale down the light sources to match the subject. In this instance, it wasn’t really an issue, as speedlights are quite possibly the ideal size for these models, although the smallest models may have an issue. A bare speedlight will still give a low contrast (soft) light on a small item, due to the perceived size of the source in relation to the model.

To create a harder light, you could do one of two things.

A) Move the speedlight further away. Although this means it’s more difficult to control exactly where the light affects the model, and is likely to just flood the scenario.

B) Mask off the front of the speedlight, creating a small aperture for the light to come through.

I chose to mask as required, which was just card and masking tape.

The above image was lit with three speedlights. The brand isn’t important, as they were just three manual capable speedlights I dug out of a drawer, and would be triggered by a radio setup.

Lets start with the keylight. The speedlight was set to fire at 1/64th through a small reflector with a diffuser panel (*cough* Lumiquest Ultrasoft *cough*). The speedlight was simply placed on one of those little plastic speedlight foot thingies immediate frame left, and with the added height of the reflector, made it pretty much ideal.

Frame right, but much deeper into the scene, I placed a bare speedlight to give texture along the tail and in particular, bring the highest rider out of the shadows. This was firing at 1/128th.

A third bare speedlight was placed frame left and further back. This was used to accent the model’s shoulder plating and give separation to the top erm.. stuff!

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f8

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The above two images have a very similar setup to the first image, but the frame left accent light has been moved further out, making it not quite as bright, with the softer key light immediate frame left, and the accent light deeper into the scene, frame right. All light outputs remain the same.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f10 for the top image, and f8 for the craft.

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This was a little more difficult due to the model size. The key light remains the same, and immediate frame left, with the frame left accent light a little nearer than the above two images. The accent light at frame right, however, caused too much spill and was far too “soft”. I taped a couple of strips of paper over the speedlight, creating a miniature striplight. This allowed a much more targeted accent light along the model’s left (frame right) arm.

All speedlights are again at the same settings as the above.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f9

It’s a lot of fun trying to come up with ways for speedlights to mimic studio modifiers without swamping the model details etc.
 

Phocal

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Really great post and thanks for giving the lighting setup.

Beautiful images.....................

Did you consider focus bracketing for more DoF? As photographs they are amazing and I wouldn't change a thing, but an increased DoF could be beneficial for showing off the detailed painting.
 
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Really great post and thanks for giving the lighting setup.

Beautiful images.....................

Did you consider focus bracketing for more DoF? As photographs they are amazing and I wouldn't change a thing, but an increased DoF could be beneficial for showing off the detailed painting.
To be honest, I did consider it. Well, for a minute or two. And then I decided I wanted the images to be realistic with the lighting, and that it should also translate to a realistic "feel"to the whole scenario. I believe in this particular instance, the extended depth of field afforded by focus stacking may have reduced the illusion of "realism".

I'm not sure I explained that too well.

Basically, I felt the focal fall off is something we expect to find in an image, and having too much depth of field may actually have taken something away from it, rather than add.
 
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View attachment 597116

This was an interesting project. Very small, highly detailed and meticulously painted miniatures from the Games Workshop range. The images were to be used to promote the painting and build skills, and showing the detail was paramount.

Lighting tiny objects is subject to the same general needs as any other object. We want to show it’s shape, form and texture. Which means carefully using key and accent lighting to develop the image as we see fit. The biggest fly in the ointment is trying to scale down the light sources to match the subject. In this instance, it wasn’t really an issue, as speedlights are quite possibly the ideal size for these models, although the smallest models may have an issue. A bare speedlight will still give a low contrast (soft) light on a small item, due to the perceived size of the source in relation to the model.

To create a harder light, you could do one of two things.

A) Move the speedlight further away. Although this means it’s more difficult to control exactly where the light affects the model, and is likely to just flood the scenario.

B) Mask off the front of the speedlight, creating a small aperture for the light to come through.

I chose to mask as required, which was just card and masking tape.

The above image was lit with three speedlights. The brand isn’t important, as they were just three manual capable speedlights I dug out of a drawer, and would be triggered by a radio setup.

Lets start with the keylight. The speedlight was set to fire at 1/64th through a small reflector with a diffuser panel (*cough* Lumiquest Ultrasoft *cough*). The speedlight was simply placed on one of those little plastic speedlight foot thingies immediate frame left, and with the added height of the reflector, made it pretty much ideal.

Frame right, but much deeper into the scene, I placed a bare speedlight to give texture along the tail and in particular, bring the highest rider out of the shadows. This was firing at 1/128th.

A third bare speedlight was placed frame left and further back. This was used to accent the model’s shoulder plating and give separation to the top erm.. stuff!

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f8

View attachment 597117

View attachment 597114

The above two images have a very similar setup to the first image, but the frame left accent light has been moved further out, making it not quite as bright, with the softer key light immediate frame left, and the accent light deeper into the scene, frame right. All light outputs remain the same.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f10 for the top image, and f8 for the craft.

View attachment 597115

This was a little more difficult due to the model size. The key light remains the same, and immediate frame left, with the frame left accent light a little nearer than the above two images. The accent light at frame right, however, caused too much spill and was far too “soft”. I taped a couple of strips of paper over the speedlight, creating a miniature striplight. This allowed a much more targeted accent light along the model’s left (frame right) arm.

All speedlights are again at the same settings as the above.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f9

It’s a lot of fun trying to come up with ways for speedlights to mimic studio modifiers without swamping the model details etc.
Great presentation as usual and again thanks for taking the time to do the write up on lighting etc. Much appreciated. Photographing of miniatures is a subject seldom covered by the photographic community.
 

hans.aambo

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Thank you for yet another fantastic post! I love to read through and watch how you approach your work! Have you tried to use the high res function for these kind of images? The mark II gives you 1/60 sec with High res isn’t that so? So just a stop away.
 
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Great presentation as usual and again thanks for taking the time to do the write up on lighting etc. Much appreciated. Photographing of miniatures is a subject seldom covered by the photographic community,
And I know it's something you have a particular interest in.
Quite interesting, when you consider there is actually a fair bit of miniature photography going on. There was that time when photographing Star Wars figures was quite the fashion, followed by Lego figures. There also seems to be a fair bit of model cars going on at the moment.
But I do have to agree, other than the images themselves, there isn't as much by way of BTS videos or tutorials as I thought there might be, given the number of images floating about, and the interest in general.
 
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Thank you for yet another fantastic post! I love to read through and watch how you approach your work! Have you tried to use the high res function for these kind of images? The mark II gives you 1/60 sec with High res isn’t that so? So just a stop away.
I didn't bother with theses, as they were initially intended for web use, with potential print use later. 20Mp is certainly enough.

The 1/60th sec would have no bearing at all on the lighting, other than potentially allowing in more ambient. That said, as we were in a controlled environment (studio), the ambient could have been reduced if needed.

I have used Hi Res option before.
 

Phocal

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To be honest, I did consider it. Well, for a minute or two. And then I decided I wanted the images to be realistic with the lighting, and that it should also translate to a realistic "feel"to the whole scenario. I believe in this particular instance, the extended depth of field afforded by focus stacking may have reduced the illusion of "realism".

I'm not sure I explained that too well.

Basically, I felt the focal fall off is something we expect to find in an image, and having too much depth of field may actually have taken something away from it, rather than add.
Nope, you explained it perfectly.

Was just curious if you had thought about that in the process. I personally would have shot it like you did, makes for a much stronger photograph.
 
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Hi Michael, great pics as always!

I have a rough idea how big these are, but can you tell us how long or tall the creatures are?

Thanks!
Please bear in mind, this shoot was from over six months ago, I'm old, and my memory is tripe!

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Length of model from tip of horn to end of tail is about 6 inches.

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Tip of tongue to tail end, about six inches

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Total length about four inches

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Total height, about five inches.

These were actually the easiest to shoot. The single figures were a great deal harder, as I was having to scale down the lighting even further.

I'll dig a couple of those images out and post them.
 
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@barry13 , here you go....

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Most of these individual figures are less than three inches tall
 

retiredfromlife

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Great images. There used to be a games workshop shop near us that I used to admire the models in but it has now closed.
I must admit I would have liked to see a stacked image as well, but I can see your point.
 
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Great images. There used to be a games workshop shop near us that I used to admire the models in but it has now closed.
I must admit I would have liked to see a stacked image as well, but I can see your point.
If I can get hold of another model, I'll do a stacked and none stacked image for comparison.
 

Phocal

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If I can get hold of another model, I'll do a stacked and none stacked image for comparison.
It's like the entire reason I got the 300/4 was to do focus stacked images of baby gators. But this thread has me thinking that maybe the narrow DoF makes them more appealing.............guess we will know when I can find some to photograph (which is going to be hard since hurricane Harvey wiped out most of the gator nest in the area).
 
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that would be interesting.............................

I think the none stacked will be the most visually appealing........................
I would expect a similar outcome.

That said, if it was a catalogue image, aimed at the builder, I wonder if they would buy clinically, looking at the model as an object. Or whether they would still purchase on an emotional impulse, the same as we all tend to do. In which case, I think none stacked images, invoking a sense of realism, may be better suited.

Interesting thought though
 
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It's like the entire reason I got the 300/4 was to do focus stacked images of baby gators. But this thread has me thinking that maybe the narrow DoF makes them more appealing.............guess we will know when I can find some to photograph (which is going to be hard since hurricane Harvey wiped out most of the gator nest in the area).
The loss of population saddens me.

In truth, it saddens me no matter the being; animal, bird, insect or man etc
 

Phocal

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I would expect a similar outcome.

That said, if it was a catalogue image, aimed at the builder, I wonder if they would buy clinically, looking at the model as a an object. Or whether they would still purchase on an emotional impulse, the same as we all tend to do. In which case, I think none stacked images, invoking a sense of realism, may be better suited.

Interesting thought though
That is interesting. I think a narrow DoF shot as the main photo to grab the attention and then stacked images so they can really see the painting would be best for selling. Things like this always peak my interest, guess it's the social scientist in me.

The loss of population saddens me.

In truth, it saddens me no matter the being; animal, bird, insect or man etc
Yes it is sad, especially since this is the 3rd year in a row that flooding has destroyed gator nest...................in a few years there will be a noticeable gap in gator lengths, will not see any 3-6 footers. There is no alarm yet, but another year or two of flooding at the right time could seriously effect gator populations in Southeast Texas.
 
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Yes it is sad, especially since this is the 3rd year in a row that flooding has destroyed gator nest...................in a few years there will be a noticeable gap in gator lengths, will not see any 3-6 footers. There is no alarm yet, but another year or two of flooding at the right time could seriously effect gator populations in Southeast Texas.
Is there any conservation movement in place, or is it still "Wait and see"?
 
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