When I started showing my models in photo shows back in 1978, everyone stuck their models on their front lawns and took pictures. The grass was up to the horse's hocks, but if you got close enough to the model to frame it well within the picture, it was all good - cameras back then were really basic, and anyone with a 35MM with telephoto lens was like the photo showing queen!
Today, even the most basic digital camera has double the features of those primitive film cameras back in 1978. Editing software enables you to trim down the pictures sizes, cutting out extraneous items in the photo and focusing better on the subject.
For model horse collectors, this means a renewed emphasis on the entire photo. When all else is equal and we all have cameras capable of taking good, clear images, the entire picture framing your best horses models will enhance their overall appearance and make them show-ring winners.
Today's photo shoot backdrop and props were created with:
- An old cookie sheet we were going to throw out
- Clean clay kitty litter
- Rocks from my garden
- A few leaves from a fern on the windowsill
- Two clipboards
- Two photos that I took of local areas, printed out onto regular paper and affixed to the clipboard
And that's IT!
Here's how to set up the photo shoot like I did in the picture:
- Print a photo that you took for the background.
- Affix it to a firm surface such as a piece of cardboard or a clipboard.
- Place it in the cookies sheet, balancing it vertically against something (in this case, I balanced it against a floor lamp which I moved behind the backdrop to offset the shadows cast by the flash).
- Fill the tray with fish tank gravel or clean cat litter. Sand can also work well.
- Add some props to improve the 3-D effect. A few rocks and twigs from the yard can serve as simple props. Without the props, the picture tends to look too flat. The props help the image seem more realistic and the background more realistic, too.
- Experiment by moving the props around. The position of the props should enhance, not detract, from your models.
- Take several photos of each model - right side, left side. Make sure you can see the hooves as well as the whole horse. Don't bury the hooves in the base material.
- When you're done, download the images to your computer and resize for showing.
I moved the set up close to a natural source of light and turned on ALL the lights in the room. This enabled me to try some photos with a flash and some without. If you take pictures of your models with a flash, you must make sure that they are far enough away from the backdrop so that there are no ugly shadows on the "mountain" or "field" behind the model. A flash may also add shiny patches to your model that detracts from its beauty. Try to take pictures using natural light only if you can.
This backdrop is sized well for Stablemate scale models. I always photographed two Little Bit scale models, some Breyer Mini Whinnies, and some of my dog collection today.
|My set up today: an old cookie sheet filled with clay cat litter, a photo I took printed out and affixed to the clipboard, and some rocks and twigs. Cover the area where the clipboard meets the base sand to make it look more natural.|
|Breyer Mini Whinnies are so tiny the cat litter looks like boulders!|
|I like this background better with trotting horses. It is a trail near my home that I photographed. I just put it on a second clipboard and switched it out. It works well with the Breyer Stablemate Morgan mare.|
|This is a Little Bit scale resin called "Anton". I did not use a flash for this picture, just natural light. I think it makes the whole image look more realistic.|
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