In order to tell a story with a miniature in a picture there’s some minor but game-changing details to keep in mind. That is, to tell a story go on eye-level with your miniature. If you just want to showcase your miniature the Games Workshop Photography Guide is perfect. It has also some good explanations of the field of depth which are a good-to-know.
The Story Telling Point of View
A story does not focus on how well you painted your model. The story expects the paint job to be decent enough. And the story seems smoother if the model fits into the setting. If it blends in. In showcasing you choose a background and lighting to highlight your paint job. In a story the picture itself is the work, the output, which then results in an outcome for the audience. And the outcome is what you are interested in as a story teller. It’s what your audience takes away.
The Relationship between Viewer and Miniature
Start with creating a relationship between viewer and miniature(s). For that go on eye-level with the miniature. Place the camera horizontally and adjust the height of the tripod (or any stabilizing tool) so that the middle of the lens is on eye-level. The effect you achieve is that the surroundings of the miniature in the picture is seen by the viewer like the miniature would see it.
The Relationship between Viewer and Surroundings
Why is the change of perspective so important? When taking pictures of your friends, you normally don’t change your stance. Normally you shoot from your eye-level. The same often applies when taking pictures of your tabletop battle. So by showing pictures of tabletop games from an elevated angle the viewers see a tabletop game. But what happens if you change the perspective and go down on eye-level of the battle’s opponents? The viewer is suddenly in the middle of the fight. And loses the overview over the battlefield.
The Relationship between Miniatures
Now go one step further. If you have multiple models in the picture, especially with different heights (e.g. a human sized model and a Space Marine or tank) go on eye-level with the model the viewer will best relate to. Set the eye-level to the human sized model. This way – especially for bigger models – they are shown as they really would.
Tell a story by going on eye-level with miniature. Bring your camera on eye-level with a human-sized miniature. The change of perspective let’s you bring the real point of view into the world of miniatures.