Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Photographing miniatures part 5 - keeping the camera still

Two random observations, first:

  1. Pageviews as I started this post: 122221. Nice number. That's a cue for... More gratuitous Kate (no, Beckinsale, not Middleton)!
  2. Piggin' 'eck, but it's hot!
On to the real post:

Chris Stoesen asked (both on blog and in email) some questions about photography, which prompted me to answer in email and consider the next couple of posts here.

If your aim is to have quite deep depth of field, you need a high f-stop, which means the lens lets in less light. Which forces you to have either a high ISO (to make the sensor more sensitive to light), in which case you get grainy/noisy images, or a low shutter speed (in order to let more light in). In which case...

...you get camera shake.

But we can fix that one. :D

Depending on your camera, you have a number of choices. First up, if you have a DSLR, is a proper floor-standing tripod. On the upside? It'll cope with the weight of a DSLR. Downsides: Unless you spend a reasonable amount of money, it'll be a faff to adjust and quite flimsy. If you go this route, Manfrotto are a good reliable make.

Next up is a tabletop tripod, that you can place on the wargames table. The downside is that this may overbalance if you have a DSLR with a heavy lens on it. But it's handy. One very tempting solution is the Gorillapod range,  which are infinitely and quickly adjustable and come in a range of sizes.

Last up is a beanbag. It's exactly what it says - you can plonk it on the table (moving aside figures if needed) and nestle the camera into it however suits. The Pod make one that's quite handy and cheap.

Whatever you're using, here are two key tips:

  1. Take your time to set up the shot. The figures aren't going anywhere.
  2. If your camera has a timed shutter release, use it. That way any wobble you set up in the camera + support by pressing the shutter will have time to die down.
Next up? White balance, and then composition.


  1. Thanks for detailing this out.

  2. I agree - Gorillapods are great - but do get the right one - if you use a DSLR with Zoom Lenses you do need the more expensive version (SLR-Zoom).

  3. Forgot the other key piece of kit - the IR remote shutter release - if available - really useful.

    1. Delayed release works just as well in most 'wargaming' circumstances, at least IMO. In fact, delayed release is also quite useful when holding the camera - you avoid 'the trigger jerk' that way.


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