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Old Feb 8, 2012, 4:02 AM   #1
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Default Minatures/Toy Photography

It was raining, I hadnt gotten to take images in a few days, and i was bored ( I dont do bored very well!) so the below images were taken as a quick expirement.

I am going to attempt them again in a more controlled way at the weekend, but I need some feedback on what could make these look better:

1. Location.
Does the radiator in the background help or hinder the image?
what wold be a better scene to place this action sequence in? Garden? In a house/apartment? Against a block color (white) background?

I considered doing this in the garden with trees and make it look forrest like, but its clear the items are toys, so i thought it would be cool to have them in a house setting. The egg flipper/spatchala adds a bit of humour also.

2. Depth of field.

Treebeard is very much in focus, but as i shot this at F2.8, the spider and to an extent, sauron are out of focus.

do you think the radiator should be even more out of focus (if even there at all?)

As i wanted viewers to know the scene was in a house/apartment i wanted the radiator to be visible yet out of focus, in the background. Given the limited space i had i got that effect somewhat but unsure if it should be there at all.

Should all carachters be crystal clear sharp or does it work as is?

3. Lighting. this is light from the side by a speedlight on a cable. do you think that works? should it be lit from all sides to remove shadows completely?

Thanks for any advice and feecback.
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 5:52 AM   #2
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my thoughts: background should be clean. use an oof sheet or foam board perhaps. characters should all be sharp. lighting should be less harsh. try a large diffuser. try to get lower. like at the spider eye-level if you can. don't overlap the characters. lastly, take a few minutes and watch a cartoon on tv. see how the pros do it.

i think your outdoor idea is a good one. forget that they are toys. make them real. on tv, they don't keep reminding us that the super-heroes are not real. this is pretend. i'm going to look around my own house for old kids toys. sometimes i'm stuck in the house and bored too.
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Old Feb 8, 2012, 4:41 PM   #3
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I think you should either mock up a set as a background or shoot them outside on moss or something that would simulate grass, if possible bonsi trees or other miniture plants as well would give the apperance the toys were larger than they are
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 10:05 PM   #4
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I think the radiator might work if you were trying for a rather abstract composition, but in this case the scale and focus of the detail creates a jarring rather than creating interest. If your idea was to incorporate miniatures into a full size world sorta like Gulliver's travel, then I would try something that ties in the scale better with each other or use it to frame your idea. Another thing is figure which figure (hah..) do you want to focus on. Sauron, while a neat figurine, confuses treebeard's profile rather than enhance it especially in the first image. Finally think of an over arching idea for the picture, if you want it to be more realistic try with a more realistic background, if you want to be abstract use more abstract composition, and if you want to use humor, emphasize the humor more. For example I didn't know it was a spatula at first, it looked like a pocket knife at first glance, after imagining the spatula the humor and the idea behind using miniatures in real world environment becomes apparent.
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 9:55 AM   #5
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I've never tried photographing miniatures or anything using more than one off camera flash. But I do have a suggestion. If you're looking for inspiration consider miniatures in realistic settings.

Most photography of miniatures I've seen was done by professionals for marketing or by fans for fandom. I saw the documentary 'Marwencol' and was amazed by the realistic images of miniatures. Check out the Gallery at the official site, http://www.marwencol.com/ . Or go to Google images, search on marwencol

This image was on the cover of the program for the photographer's first gallery exhibition:

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Old Feb 18, 2012, 5:31 PM   #6
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those shots are awesome! its a great project!
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