Posing Your Models for Photos

The cover photo is a 1/72nd scale World War One German by Airfix.  He has been painted and given an new helmet from a WWII Atlantic Afrika Korps figure to make him for 1916 or later.  Photo was taken outdoors on a sheet of plywood with the lawn in the background.

There are many ways to display your completed vehicles.  I like to use this set up when I have a vehicle that is unique and I don't want to detract from the features of the model.  This Roco Panzer III has had the barrel replaced to make it the flamethrower version of the tank.  I have placed it inside a small photo studio and added extra lights.  The model is sitting on and in front of two VHS tape boxes.  The translucent nature of the boxes and their featureless surfaces help shine light onto the model but don't distract from it.

Here I have swapped out the VHS boxes for a blue cloth and added another tank, two troops and some terrain elements.  This quick and simple set up is designed to showcase the modified vehicle in a diorama or wargame environment.  It's very quick and easy and simple, but with the blue cloth not all that realistic, but because the cloth is plain and non-distracting the focus is still on the models.

This photo of the Roco Panzer III was taken on my workbench.  It shows the vehicle disassembled so the excess plastic and mold marks can be removed and the model converted into the flamethrower version.  The presence of the micro drill, sprue cutter, and the cutting mats help to set the scene.  Note all extraneous books, cups, and clutter have all been removed or cropped out.  This again creates the tank as the focus.  Lighting is indirect but bright enough to highlight the model parts.  In each photo the model is centered and takes up a large part of the space in the photo.

Here a group of Roco Panzer III have been taken outdoors for a photo shoot.  Days that are very sunny or slightly overcast are best for most purposes.  This day was slightly overcast, that's why the shadows are hazy.  The models are well lit.  They are on a piece of wood that I use to paint on all the time.  The rough surface of untold numbers of layers of spray paint create a concrete like appearance.  By getting down low and showing some of the ground and plants in the background I give the vehicles a more realistic appearance and environment.  Contrast this with the first photo taken in the studio.

These 1/72nd scale Russian howitzers are outside in the dirt.  The key here is to get down close to the models to show what you want the viewer to see.  I wanted to display a battery of guns, and so needed to get close and fairly low.  Notice there are no flower pots, fences, cars or other things in the background to spoil the illusion of scale. 

Here is a small set up of Roco howitzers, resin tractors, and plastic figures and trees.  I used a piece of indoor / outdoor carpet for the ground cover and a piece of wallpaper as the sky.  This was taken in the photo studio.  It's a quick set up to display the various elements working together.  It's easy and can be done day or night.  The set up itself is very generic and can be used for a variety of different models.

This image of an old mission in Texas was lit from above and the side.  The background is wallpaper and the surface is unpainted chipboard.  A set up does not have to be expensive or complicated to show off your models.  Lighting from the top and side helps to highlight the features of the front of the mission.

This little structure is part of a project I am working on to display some of my vehicles.  I built it out of scrap wood that was laying around the house.  Since there are no people or vehicles it is hard to tell the scale of this building.  Placing recognizable items in the photo is important to help the viewer connect with the subject.  This was taken outside on a piece of painted wood, with trees in the yard in the background.  You will likely see this item again in future blog posts.

The only editing I do on my photos on a regular basis is cropping out the unnecessary parts of the image and sometimes rotating the image so it looks straight and level.  The key elements are to keep your subject in the center, use enough light, and get in low and close and your photos will be better.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek


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