Looking around quickly, it doesn't appear that we have a "how to photograph" thread, so I thought I'd quickly whip together the best parts of a thread that came up on another forum:
Almost any digital camera can do a decent job of photographing a mini, as long as you follow three basic rules:
* Use the macro setting (should be a button or dial or something with a little flower on it - Google "Macro icon" if you're not sure)
That is the single most important thing to do.
* Photograph against a one-colour background - most people use a sheet of white paper, gently curved up and behind the model so there's not even a crease for shadows to form in.
* Use plenty of light.
For even better photos:
* Use multiple lamps of all the same spectrum.
* Build a light box to defuse the light evenly.
* Find a camera that has a "Custom White Balance" setting, and learn to use that.
* Use a tripod + 3s timer so that you don't get blurriness from your hands shaking (waste of time 99% of the time, IMO).
I use a Lumix DMC-FS12, which is a mid-range camera in terms of quality. Settings I use are: Super Macro, low resolution (something like 3MP out of a possible 12), high pixel fineness, custom white balance (which I reset every time I shoot, because background light is never the same one day to the next), and then I adjust the light levels using photoshop, crop and resize (cropping and resizing is why I don't bother with high res pics to begin with) and upload.
When I don't care about quality, just want to post pics so I can show people my progress I simply put it in front of a white background with the nearest lamp I can find, use the custom white background setting on the camera so it's roughly right, and this is what I get:
But when I'm careful with what I do, and mess around with the light levels in photoshop, I can get:
I've got a Canon Rebel XS with the cheapo kit lens. Having the option to manually set the aperture, timing, & focus really helps, but I'll echo juckto in saying that your lighting setup is much more important.
In order to get a good depth of field for mini photography (so that the whole thing is in focus), you want a very small aperture, which means very little light is actually hitting the "film"/sensor/whatever. To make up for this, you need lots of light and a longer exposure time. The light thing is pretty self-explanatory, and to do a long exposure you need a tripod to hold the camera still. You also want to set a timer so that you're not touching the camera at all when it goes off.Juckto is correct that almost any digital camera will work. I've even had great results from my phone (the Motorola DROID, but don't expect all phones to behave well).
As to the lamps and lightbox:
- For lamps, look for something with a color temperature of between 3000K and 3500K (I prefer 3200-3500). This is the best range for true whites. anything under is "soft white" and is too yellow. Anything over is "sunlight" and either too bright or blueish.
-You can turn a translucent large white plastic tub into a light box. Just cut out one side (this will be the bottom), and attach a strip of velcro to the tub on what used to be the bottom (now the back) along the edge opposite of the side you cut out. Find a medium gray or white piece of fabric, and sew the opposite side of the velcro along one edge. You could also use strong magnets instead of velcro on the tub and fabric, without sewing or peel-and-sticking (make a magnet-fabric-tub-magnet sandwich!).
-I rarely have to use a tripod or long timer. I just use a lot of light, no flash. My shutter speed typically is between 1/24 and 1/60 if I'm using two lamps. Add a third, and it can be as fast as 1/100.
Best advice: take pieces of everyone's advice until you find a system that works for you.