Photographing minis without a room box

by brae  

When I post photos of new minis, I don't usually photograph them in a dollhouse or room box.  I do a quick setup on my dining room table.

Here's my Halloween 2013 scene, for instance.  It was set up on the kitchen counter.  I used a sheet of unfinished wood flooring, a scrapbook paper sheet clipped to a piece of plywood and held up by a can of paint and miscellaneous miniatures to create the scene.  I have a box for balancing the camera in low light for the nighttime photos and a piece of white foam for diffusing the overhead light in normal lighting conditions.

I start with either a small box or a sheet of plywood on top of canned goods from my pantry.  :D  High tech all the way!  I then put a sheet of unfinished wood flooring on top of the box or plywood.  I use another can to hold up either a scrap of foam core board or plywood and place a sheet of scrapbook paper in front of that.

I place a long piece of baseboard trim in front of the wallpaper to finish the "room."  If it's a table top item, I borrow a display table - usually this EuroMini's island I painted for the Newport.  Along with the item to be photographed, I include my wheat back penny on a wire stand for size reference.

I use the standard macro setting on my Canon PowerShot G9 with its standard lens.  If I need to steady my hand, I'll stack more canned goods to the proper height or use a box in front of the display table.  I also use only the overhead lighting of my dining room fixture, which can be adjusted with a dimmer as needed.

For non-table top items, I just use the scene as is without a display table.  In this next photo, I've used a piece of finished flooring.

With this kind of quick setup, I can change the wallpaper and baseboard between photos easily.  I can also add other props to the display.

If I am in a hurry or just need to photograph one thing, I don't bother with any of the setup.  I grab a clean plywood board, put my item on it, hoist it up in the air so my dining room wall is the backdrop and click the photo!  :D

But, even with this on-the-fly setup, I can still put a piece of flooring on the plywood board beforehand.

For the Navajo rug, I place the stitching frame flat on the table, prop up wallpaper on the side and back, and include props.

12 comments

Comment from: Jeannette Bashore [Visitor]
Great pictures and easy setup! I have always struggled with taking good photos, but you make it look so easy! I also love that paper in your last picture, do you happen to know the name of that? Have a great day!
05/24/12 @ 10:46
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thank you! :D The paper with the Navajo rug is Gold Diamond Filigree by The Paper Company - I bought mine at Joann Fabrics, but I've seen it at Michaels as well. It comes in ivory, too, maybe silver. It's a heavy paper, smaller than standard scrapbook sheets.
05/24/12 @ 10:55
Comment from: Lori [Visitor]
I have always hated the "picture" part of minis. Going to try it your way :)
05/24/12 @ 16:21
Comment from: Lyssa [Visitor]
Now we can ALL have nice photos! Eeeeeee! :)
05/24/12 @ 17:10
Comment from: Carole [Visitor]  
And another of Brae's secrets revealed! Yeah, thank you for sharing!
05/25/12 @ 08:12
Comment from: brae [Member]
You're welcome, and thank you! &#59;D
05/25/12 @ 13:49
Comment from: Lucille [Visitor]
Thanks, Brae! I think you know what I mean?!!
05/25/12 @ 14:09
Comment from: Mindy [Visitor]
Brilliant! I love minis but mostly just look at other people's work. Now I can see how I might photograph some tings I made many-many years ago. Thank you!
05/25/12 @ 22:19
Comment from: brae [Member]
:yes: Yes, Lucille. :))
05/26/12 @ 14:41
Comment from: Mary Moss [Visitor]  
Thank you for the photography pointers. I am curious though. How do you photograph the rooms inside your dollhouse? You manage to capture portions of rooms that are difficult to photograph . I have trouble getting good shots of side walls. I have not figured out how to maneuver the camera given the small tight angles of dollhouse rooms.
12/01/15 @ 22:51
Comment from: brae [Member]
I just take 100 photos and narrow it down to 1 that works. :)) In all seriousness, the camera focuses on what it wants, so I do take multiple shots to get the right balance, focus and light. I move the dollhouse around in the ambient lighting of the real house room as well. You can click multiple times without changing anything and get varied photos. :yes:
12/02/15 @ 07:06
Comment from: Mary Moss [Visitor]
Thank you. I do think you should write a book on this subject with lots of photographs to illustrate how you achieve the look you want. I would buy the book
12/02/15 @ 13:07


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