Top Tips For Miniature Wargaming Photography & Getting Great Results!

September 21, 2021 by brennon

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We have always enjoyed seeing fantastic photographs of miniatures. However, doing it yourself can be a difficult process. So, we talked to Luke (also known as @lukas_arts89 on Instagram) about how he gets the results he does and also take a peek at some of his work.

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Have a peek at some of the work by Luke and let us know if you have any top tips for doing wargaming photography too!

Ben: Hi Luke! First up, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Luke: Hi Ben, first of all, thanks for taking the time to do this! I was shocked and overwhelmed when I received the email so huge thanks. My name is Luke, I'm 32 years old, an amateur photographer and a huge miniature fanatic.

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I've been doing photography for around eight years now and I started out just doing landscapes and wildlife which soon progressed to shooting weddings and some portrait photography but they didn't quite satisfy what I wanted to do; until I started with the miniature and toy photography!

B: You caught our eye with some amazing miniature photography, can you tell us when you started getting into it?

L: I started collecting Warhammer two years back, and already had all the camera gear. So, after painting my own models I'd do a small shoot with a backdrop but then after my first couple of 40k matches, I kept thinking I needed shots where they're actually in a fight or battle.

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So I got to work building and designing certain scenarios where I could pose and make the shot look like a moment taken from the middle of a battle. And it literally went from there.

B: Could you talk us through the process of bringing one of these awesome shots to life?

L: First off I try to picture what setting would look good; whether it would be a snow scene, a different planet scene or maybe even a city ruin. After that, I get to work on terrain and composition and what would catch peoples eyes. I usually use my TV as a backdrop so I can switch between pictures quickly and lighting is the biggest key to make a shot look good.

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When all this is set up and I have the composition I'm happy with I take around thirty shots of different angles and lighting until I like what I have. Adding certain elements to the scene is always great too; snow, rain and smoke for example. I even sometimes add blast shots or debris flying around which really brings the shots to life.

B: Is there a particular favourite from your wargaming shots that you like the most?

L: My favourite one at the moment is probably the Tyranid swarm in the city ruin...

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It's the sun light coming through the back that makes it pop for me. I'm really proud of that one!

B: What are some of your top tips for someone who is looking to make their miniatures pop like this?

L: Lighting and Composition for sure! Try not to make your models or toys look static and try to get that awesome action shot. The best thing is you don't need all this expensive equipment you can literally just use your camera phone!

B: You do a lot of commission painting too; are you more of a fan of painting Fantasy or Sci-Fi and do you have a particularly favourite scale?

L: Yeah, I have been doing quite a bit. Warhammer is definitely my favourite to paint but I do like all sorts whether it's Dungeons & Dragons or busts.

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My favourite scale is probably 32mm as it's not as straining on the eyes!

B: Do you have any good tips for those wanting to do commission painting?

L: Never undervalue your work. Charge what you would pay is my motto for sure; it's the time and effort you're charging for. Also, be patient. Don't expect your inbox to go through the roof as it takes a while to get some good followers and a reputation. Patience is key.

B: We also saw that you do some great photography featuring action figures! Could you tell us a bit more about this and if there are differences from miniatures?

L: I only recently started with action figures. I've always collected them but never thought to photograph them until I saw a post on Instagram. It was a picture of Mario being chased down by a velociraptor and it just made me laugh so much I dived headfirst into the world of action figure photography and now I can't stop haha!

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It's much more fun than Warhammer in some ways as you can pose them into positions or different scenes to suit them, articulation on toys these days are insane compared to when I was a kid!

B: What are the next steps for you - is there a big project or two on the horizon?

L: I have a great shot in mind which involves Death Guard from Warhammer 40,000. I want the shot in some sort of steel foundry with sparks flying around so I've got to start working on scale specific terrain and composition for that.

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My next steps are to try and start selling my work as prints and possibly take it up full time if I get enough custom or even a sponsor through Instagram. But, that's a long way away. Building a following is pretty tough in such a niche corner of the internet but either way, it's great fun to do.

B: Thanks for chatting with us Luke and it was awesome seeing some of your work!

Make sure to check out @lukas_arts89 on Instagram and let us know what you think of Luke's work. We really like what he has been doing and can't wait to see what's next. I'm sure if you have any questions you could drop them into the comments below!

Which of these shots is your favourite?

"Adding certain elements to the scene is always great too; snow, rain and smoke for example..."

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"Never undervalue your work. Charge what you would pay is my motto for sure; it's the time and effort you're charging for. Also, be patient..."

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