I have written in my other blog about the sort of cameras that scale modellers need to use to get good tabletop photography – I don’t need to repeat it here as the readers of this blog are photographers and can determine their own needs as far as gear goes. Plus they all have their own prejudices and I know better than to amper with them…
But do you know what is available for your shooting pleasure in your studio or at a local model layout? There might be a whole new world of subjects for you to explore. If you are tired of pop groups, portraits, and panoramas try some of these:
1.Ready-made die-cast models. These can be vehicles, aircraft, ships, or figurines. The sizes range from miniscule 1:400 scale aircraft to 1:8 scale cars to 1:6 dressable people. The realism can be amazing for some production models, and there are a large number of people who photograph these models and share the results over the internet.
2. Plastic kit models. If you desire a particular model of something, it is highly likely that a model company has made a plastic kit of it. Planes, trains, cars, trucks, reptiles, engines, weapons…you name it. You can build them yourself or engage a scale modeller to put a kit together for you. The realism level with these is even higher that in the die-cast
3. Scratch-built models. Whatever scale is needed, there is a modeller somewhere who can make a model of something. They are not limited to established kits or bits – they just power ahead and make the goods. It’s complex, but surprisingly do-able and surprisingly inexpensive. Imagination is the key ingredient, Scratch builders are the ones who can make scenery that cannot be bought.
4. Large-scale layouts – trains are what come to mind here , though I have seen large airports and sea harbours depicted. The larger the layout, the more realistic can be the scenic shots. The opportunity for miniature landscape shooting also means that the opportunities for unusual lighting abound – sunsets are as easy to do as noontime and a little PS work adds any kind of sky you wish. But be warned – it will teach you to look at the real scenery twice as hard.
5. Doll houses – the basic ones are charming toys and a chance for artistic expression. The complex ones can be real life in miniature and your illustration of it can be practically indistinguishable from full size. Miniature architecture can be photographed without having to get up at 3:00 AM…
6. Fantasy scenes. If you are a pulp fiction, comic book, or Sci Fi enthusiast you will find that you are never limited to realism. You can out-Spielberg and over-Lucas your shots and people will applaud you.
Note that we have not even looked at scale flying aircraft or sailing ships or racing cars. And scale model R/C trucks are a world unto themselves.
The next time you are coping with snotty relatives at a wedding or standing in the rain a hundred miles from home waiting for the landscape to stop looking dismal…think of the studio and the quiet little world waiting there for you.