Monday, 7 October 2013

Come towards the light

One of the things I hate most about Winter and its impending arrival is how long the nights become. Not only is it depressing to go to work in the dark and arrive home in the dark, but it means I have precious little natural light with which to photograph my miniatures. Sometimes it's so dull during the day that even the midday sun is no good!

To solve this problem (the mini photographing one - nothing can solve the living in darkness problem short of emigrating to Florida), I invested in a light box. But I don't have much spare room and I'm not (at all) a pro when it comes to these things, so I use this fool proof piece of kit, the photo studio in-a-box:

It comes with a foldable white tent, two lights on tripods and a tripod for your camera. It all comes neatly presented in a teeny little bag that is smaller than a shoe box.
To illustrate the difference it's made to my photos, here's a picture of a miniature I made taken indoors with artificial light. It's winter but it is day-time.

It's a funny colour as the light bulb in the room is more yellow than white and the shadows are quite severe.
And here is a similar miniature taken using my light tent, still indoors but during a dark winter evening.

The colour is much more natural and true-to-life because the light bulbs in my little lights on stands are much truer than what you typically get in a room bulb. Plus the shadows are much softer and less distracting as there are light sources on two sides and the tent disperses the light well.

On the negative side, I bought my photo studio in-a-box from the USA, so had to convert the cables to take UK plugs. I also had to buy new bulbs as we weren't sure the USA ones would be happy on UK voltage. So if you're in the UK, it can be a faff, perhaps you can find a UK supplier of a similar product, it must exist! Also the light tent itself 'pops' up from folded and it took me a while to get the hang of folding it back up small enough so it fits in its bag. But it's not difficult once you work it out.

If you live somewhere where bad light is making it difficult to take good photos of your miniatures, I would really recommend this or similar. I've had to work hard at making my miniatures presentable, as my photography skills were non-existent and are only very slowly improving, but this piece of kit has really helped!


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