How to take photos of small figures or miniatures?

How to take mini scale objects photos?

Besides you need a macro lens, it is necessary using a tripod.

In this photo series I was at Hughes water garden. There are many water fountains and lilies there. There is also a mini train platform.
When you take photos of these small figurines, the biggest challenge was: they kept falling on the ground.
I had to look for my small figures ( especially panda ) countless times.
The other problem was I was on my knees on the rocks, that really hurts.
Thanks to RR, he bought me a Thick Garden Kneeling Pad from near by Target.
That was so helpful.

If it is a sunny day, you do not need extra lighting, but if it is cloudy, you may bring a ring flash.
Making these scenes almost takes 2 to 4 hours, so be patient.

I was prepared tea in a termos this time as well as sandwich. I combined my picnic style with photo shoot.
Therefore I took a few break, drank tea and enjoyed the view of the garden.

Hughes Water Gardens. 25289 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin, Oregon

Photo Tips:

  • Carry a small tripod or bean bag
  • Carry wet wipe, you get dirty when you drop figures into muddy water
  • Carry quick dry small towel
  • Carry small flash light ( led is better ) to give dramatic effect on the figure
  • Wear a water proof shoe, it gets wet and muddy around the fountains
  • Wear a vest has lots of pocket, so you can put in lenses,  figures, wet wipe and towel
  • Wear a hat ( caps are useful ) , sunshine might be distracting if you are looking at LCD screen
  • If you want no shadow take photos early in the morning before noon, if you want shadow, go afternoon
  • Avoid using built in flash, it gives too much shadow on the background
  • For inside photo scenes if you have ring flash or light box use it, you get better result

About the macro lens, unless your figures 1:87, or 1:50 scale figures you can work with 50mm,
if the figures are 1:150 or 1:200 scale you may try 100mm. Preiser model people figures are quite expensive but they have very good detail.
You can purchase them online or a bit more reasonable prices.

In these series:
I used Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera.
For inside building photos I used a faster lens; Sony 50mm f/1.4 Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera
For close up photos I use Sony HVLRLAM Ring Light for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera/ α Ring Light

Figures comes in variety sizes: 0.5″ L x 2.5″ H ( about 1.2cm up to 9cm )
Preiser model people figures comes in HO, N, Z, 1:32, 1:25, 1:87, 1:160 and 1:220 scale.
Safari Ltd. Miniature Collectible Figures, Safari People comes in variety sizes; 1.25″ L x 3.75″ H or 0.5″ L x 2.50″ H