Venusaur

A 2cm tall Pokemon figure in it’s ‘natural’ environment.

venosaur

To view all images currently in this series, click here.

Follow me on instagram to see before and after repaints of these little figures – @jennifernicholewells.

Pokémon is a media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company, a consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. These companies and their affiliates do not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

Ninja Turtle

In continuing on with the spooky/Fall theme I’ll be sharing more Halloween-y images this month. Other than posting daily here, I also shared images using the Creepy TopicGenerator and posted on instagram in the#mabsdrawlloweenclub. So we continue, daily, never-before-shared on this platform spooky images. Hope you enjoy. If you play along, keep tagging #jhc and leave your link below.

Day 5 – November 7 – Ninja Turtle

Fairly simple here – an HO scale Raphael TMNT photographed standing on some paper.

image3

Ring Wraith

In continuing on with the spooky/Fall theme I’ll be sharing more Halloween-y images this month. Other than posting daily here, I also shared images using the Creepy TopicGenerator and posted on instagram in the #mabsdrawlloweenclub. So we continue, daily, never-before-shared on this platform spooky images. Hope you enjoy. If you play along, keep tagging #jhc and leave your link below.

Day 1 – November 3 – Ring Wraith

(1 of these images you’ve seen here before, 3 you have not)

A 6 inch tall Lord of the Rings Ring Wraith action figure photographed with a smoke bomb. Simple as that. Or is it?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87325942@N08/30008742392/in/dateposted/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87325942@N08/30039071801/in/photostream/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87325942@N08/30008744712/in/photostream/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/87325942@N08/30039072471/in/photostream/

How to Make Realistic Images of Toys and Miniatures

A quick start guide to making images of miniature scenes.

Whether with toys, model railroad sets, war gaming miniatures, you name it, if you want realistic-looking image of miniature environments, this guide is for you.

Get Low

So you have a little plastic figure all set up and ready to be photographed in front of you. Imagine you were about to do a photo-shoot of a full-scale real person. How would you place that person within your camera’s frame? In most cases, you would shoot them straight on, not way above them. Do the same for your miniatures. Get on their level, even if it means you’re squatting or laying on the ground (this takes dedication folks!).

Photographer unknown.

In the words of awesome mini photographer Mark Crummet:

“This picture is a perfect example to me of how Camera Position Matters.

Assuming these guys are supposed to be six feet tall, this picture was taken from a scale 10 feet in the air. Something happens when you shoot down on a subject- it looks smaller. The POV diminishes the subject. This is a common issue in the photography of miniatures, and gets to the root of what it is you’re trying to doing in the first place- are you taking pictures of small things, or are you trying to make small things look big? Are they in our world, or are we in theirs?

Imagine if this picture had been taken from a camera position five inches lower. The whole scale of the image flips. The viewer is now seeing these figures as regular sized humans rather than as toys. Suddenly the whole picture changes- these are not toys posed next to a dead squirrel; now it’s a picture of two guys standing over the carcass of a gigantic squirrel! To me, a much more interesting image.

I see so many photos of miniatures ruined by this thoughtless use of camera position, when a slight change could turn an ordinary picture of a small thing into a really thoughtful, interesting picture of a different world. Pictures of small things are boring; pictures of small things made big is way more interesting!”

Compare the above image, to the one below. The photographer didn’t quite shoot the subject straight on, but they did get lower and look how much more convincing it is.

via imgur user japas

Now here’s one where the photographer got up close with the mini and wa-la, much more realistic.

Photographer unknown.

Blur!

Shallow depth of field is your best friend when it comes to photographing toys and miniatures. Having a narrow field of focus allows you to pick and choose where the viewer looks and what specifically they see. Learn more about depth of field here.

With a less shallow depth of field in the above image, the sky, which is a piece of paper with roughly water-color painted blue streaks would appear as just that – a crudely painted crinkled paper, the sky would look more cut off and less like it recedes into the ground in the distance, the tree would look less full.

IMG_0375

This is the paper that forms the sky in the above image.

Depth of field allows for the transformation of these diorama-like scenes. It’s what makes the photo the final piece of art, rather than the scene itself.

Simple v. All the Things

This one all depends on your style and what you’re trying to depict. If you’re more of a minimalist, then you’ll want to choose what you include in your image carefully and with meaning and then choose your main subject matter as your point of focus.

Aftermath

If you like detailed, all in focus scenes, then those little details matter in a big way.

If you choose not to blur things out, not to pair your scene down, then you need to make sure to make or source realistic items to complete your scene for a realistic look.

Dry Summers

Above are two images made with the same dollhouse doll. While both images are fairly simplistic, the top focuses on her facial features while the bottom shows her toes and the rough wood surface of a porch. A viewer is more likely to believe the second image is of a real full-scale scene because the details, when focused in on have some realism.

And Some Other Things:

  • Mind your scale. Non-mini materials or various scales together can be a dead giveaway that your image isn’t of a real scene. Choose dollhouse and model train layout accessories for things like gravel and grass.
    • But! Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s okay to have small hints of your mini world.
  • Use a tripod and remote or self timer to make sure your camera is steady and stable.
  • If you have it in your tool box or have the budget, get a macro lens and a dslr camera! Otherwise use a macro or microscope mode on a point and shoot camera, or a clip on macro lens on your smart phone.
  • Use a desk lamp or studio light to illuminate your scene. Try to stay away from camera flashes. With your studio lights your aim is to emulate sun light or a room light, so choose the angle of your light accordingly.
    • If your scene is outdoors, use a single light source. There’s only one sun after all.

If you’re reading this post then you’ve most likely looked through mini photography shots before. You probably even have some favorites. Look through them again.

How much of the background can you see in these images? What has the photographer left in focus and why do you think that is? What would make each of these images more realistic? What do you like and dislike about each image?

Study those images and then find more. The answer to the questions you ask yourself will inform your photography.


Tell me all about your experience photographing miniatures and toys in a comment below. If I’ve left something out or you’ve tried some of the tips above I’d love to hear all about it.

Weekly Weather: Sleet

Weekly Weather

Welcome to the week 9 of the Weekly Weather challenge.

Every Saturday I’ll post a new blog with the weather-based topic for that week. Post your contribution (poem, photo, illustration, story, or any other artistic vision) to your blog and share your link in a comment or pingback to that week’s topic post here. Make sure to tag your post #weeklyweather so that others can find your post in their reader. Have fun!

**This challenge alternates with Color your World and will therefore run May through December, taking a break January through April.

Learn more and submit your own topic ideas here: https://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/06/30/weekly-weather/

weekly weather
Icon sources: http://icons8.com/, http://erikflowers.github.io/weather-icons/, https://www.fgdc.gov/HSWG/ref_pages/PrintableChanges.htm, http://www.flaticon.com/, http://pixabay.com

spawn


Thank you to those of you who’ve contributed.

Let me know if I’ve missed your contribution in the list below and please help me spread the word!

  1. https://anglogermantranslations.com/2016/09/27/the-rain-in-spain/
  2. https://teleportingweena.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/weekly-weather-rain/
  3. https://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/rain-in-spain/
  4. https://orangemarmeladepress.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/weekly-weather-rain/
  5. https://katieprior.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/rain/

MMM – Using Toys in your Scale Sets

AKA Alternative Non-Model Train Branded N, HO and O Objects

AKA Miniature Scales Part 2

MMM

There are so many toys old and new that coincide with model train scales. If you’re into that sort of thing, here’s a list of toys, by brand, and the scales they can be used with. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a variety of scale comparison images.

*I haven’t provided links, considering most would simply be to ebay search results. If you’re looking for a specific piece and having trouble finding it, let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Copy of PhotographingMiniatures

Lewis Galoob

(bought out by Hasbro in 1998)

My Pretty Dollhouse (1980s & 1990s)

(I mistakenly refer to this in 2 of the images below as ‘My Dream Dollhouse’)

  • Houses = grandiose HO scale or diminutive O scale
  • 1980s Furniture & Figures (originally called li’l House Wonderfull)= fairly precisely O scale, although a few pieces, like the bed pictured below run a bit small
  • 1990s Furniture & Figures = chunky, in between HO & O scale

Micro Machines (1980s to present day)

  • Star Wars Figures = precisely HO scale
  • Cars = chunky, in between N and HO scale
  • Sets = roughly HO scale, occasionally on the slightly small side
  • Spaceships = tiny, I’d venture to say smaller than Z scale, but they vary in size

Pound Puppies (1990s)

  • Sets = chunky O scale
  • Animals = a scale in their own, as they’re all made to lie flat, they’d be roughly O scale if in a more realistic position

Mattel

Disney Lockets (1990s)

  • Figures = fairly precisely O scale
  • Playsets = between HO and O scale, but likely unusable in any sort of set

Bluebird Toys

(bought by Mattel in 1998)

Polly Pockets, Mighty Max & Disney Tiny Collection (1990s)

  • Houses & Buildings = roughly HO scale
  • Inset Furniture & Figures = chunky, in between HO & O scale

Hot Wheels & Matchbox (still in production)

  • Cars = large HO scale. Seated HO scale figures, Polly Pockets, etc. can fit in these cars with opening doors, or convertible tops, however the car is a bit wide for HO scale roadways.

Beach Babies (1990s)

These could go by another name as I’m not sure what brand they fall under.

  • Houses = pretty precisely HO scale
  • Accessories = vary between HO and O scale, some are slim and perfect for sets, others are pretty chunky
  • Babies = a very large, disfigured O scale

Safari Ltd.

Good Luck Minis (present day)

  • Animals = many are HO scale, although all the animals in the packs are roughly the same size, making a bunny the size of a shark, whereas the shark would be maybe Z scale, the bunny would be larger than O scale. The mid-size animals, i.e. horses, cows, tigers, etc. fall within HO scale.

My Mini MixieQ (present day)

  • Furniture = chunky HO or short O scale
  • Figures = really short, chunky HO, not very compatible with other modeling items
  • Room Boxes = large O scale

Tonka Tiny (present day)

  • Various vehicles in mystery packs = Z to  N scale depending on the vehicle

Board Game Figures (i.e. Risk – vintage and present day)

There’s a surprising amount of consistency in figures made as part of board games. The majority of these are 1:72 scale. HO scale is 1:87, so a bit smaller, making these figures I’d say a large HO, and too small for an O scale set. However, it’s a good place to go if you want a lot of military figures. See a complete list of games here: http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/ShowFeature.aspx?id=72.

 

In these images, the graph paper – 1 square = 1/4 and inch wide (6.35mm), the cutting mat – 1 square = 1/2 an inch (12.7mm).

Scale Horse Comparison - Polly Pocket, Good Luck Minis, HO scale, N scale
Scale Horse Comparison – Polly Pocket, Good Luck Minis, HO scale, N scale
Scale Bed Comparison - 1990s My Dream Dollhouse, 19802 My Dream Dollhouse, 1:48/O scale, HO scale
Scale Bed Comparison – 1990s My Pretty Dollhouse, 19802 My Pretty Dollhouse, 1:48/O scale, HO scale
Scale Car Comparison - N scale, Micro Machines, HO scale, Hot Wheels
Scale Car Comparison – N scale, Micro Machines, HO scale, Hot Wheels
Scale Dog Comparison - Polly Pocket, Pound Puppies, Disney Locket, HO scale
Scale Dog Comparison – Polly Pocket, Pound Puppies, Disney Locket, HO scale
Scale Figure Comparison - O Scale, Disney Locket, HO scale, 1990s My Dream Dollhouse, Polly Pocket, N scale
Scale Figure Comparison – O Scale, Disney Locket, HO scale, 1990s My Pretty Dollhouse, Polly Pocket, N scale
A terrible panorama scale house comparison - Disney Locket, N scale, HO scale, Beach Babies, Polly Pocket, 1990s My Dream Dollhouse
A terrible panorama scale house comparison – Disney Locket, N scale, HO scale, Beach Babies, Polly Pocket, 1990s My Pretty Dollhouse

And just a couple examples of misc objects posed together – as a miniature photographer, and not a train hobbyist, I don’t have full set layouts with these items to show you, but hopefully what’s here will give you some sort of an idea. If there’s something in an image above you’d like to see next to something, let me know.

HO scale astronaut with Beach Babies pool float
HO scale astronaut with Beach Babies pool float
HO scale figure with Polly Pocket house
HO scale figure with Polly Pocket house
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse flooring with HO scale figures and accessories
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse flooring with HO scale figures and accessories
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse with HO scale accessories
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse
1990s My Pretty Dollhouse with HO scale Accessories
capture
A Tonka Tiny with a Vintage Hot Wheels

And some detail shots…

My Pretty Dollhouse furniture set inside house wired with an LED light
My Pretty Dollhouse furniture set inside house wired with an LED light
Galoob Li'l House Wonderful (1980s My Pretty Dollhouse) with furniture
Galoob Li’l House Wonderful (1980s My Pretty Dollhouse) with furniture
Galoob li'l House Wonderfull
Galoob li’l House Wonderfull
Galoob Li'l House Wonderfull
Galoob Li’l House Wonderfull

So that’s that. Do you know of any small-scale toys that would work with model railroading scale sets? Let me know in a comment below. And as always, if you have ideas for a future post, or something you’d like to know more about anonymously fill out the survey or just leave a comment below.