08 November, 2011

Close-cropped mini photography

We see it all the time. Photographies cropped close around the motif to create a focus the story which the picture is illustrating. It's in the newspapers and allover the web. But not in the mini-world. The standard seems to be that you have to show the whole model. So what it the focus? What is the "story" of a picture of a miniature shot on a blue to white backdrop with neutral lighting?

Don't get me wrong. I love the classic studio-style miniature portrait, which is more a presentation of the whole mini (not to mention the paintjob), but I also love photographs of miniatures where the camera moves into the world of the miniature so to speak. I am no photographer, but I experimented a little with my photography earlier this year. Close shots, cropped closer, and a little photoshop-action. More mood, less blue-white backdrop:

Not perfect. But fun and something else. I hope to find time for more of this in future.


  1. Personally I think (as you allude to), there are two types and pruposes for mini photography. One is to show the paintjob in as neutral settings as possible to allow people to see the "true" colour and work done.

    The other, the "mood" photography is to create a scene and story of which the mini is part of.

    I really like the little scenes you have created since you first showed me them. The lighting in the second one in particular is very dramatic. I also like the idea of creating little backdrops for them too as you have done with the bulkhead.

  2. Yeah, CMDante, I think you're right. Type of photography-style is dependent on what goal you at going for. Focus on paintjob or on mood.

    But I think we can get more value for our money/time if a moody photography practice was used more. Afterall, when a model is painted there is only a limited number of angles for studio-shots whereas a single model could be used in a lot of moody images. Depends what you want to achieve I guess...

  3. I really like "mood" photography much better than models floating on a blue background. Check out my attempt: http://tauofwar.blogspot.com/2010/08/well-beyond-crayola-award-xv-8-crisis.html

    Self promotion is so crass.

    I am right there with ya, Jakub. Can't wait to see more.

  4. Jakob, I completely agree. I think the reason we don't see more of it however is because it often requires greater ability as a photographer and more thought through setup.

    What I don't like is the current trend for studio style shots with dark backgrounds and "moody" light which not only makes the mini harder to see and assess, but adds no value in terms of creating a story or setting for the model.

  5. Setup for moody photography can be tricky as you suggest. I have many models with LOTS of hours put into converting and painting while I have little terrain to match the standard, well almost none actually. A way of getting into doing could be to create little terrain backdrops to each new mini or for a group. Not a scenic base, but just some little things to set off the minis. Could be just a pile of crates, a bulkhead, or som rusty barrels. Gotta do some more to match the current warband project...