General Hobby – Miniature Photography with the iPhone

I see lots of folks post photos of miniatures online, most with the caveat; ‘Sorry, had to take these with my cell phone.’

Now, if you’re snapping images with a Motorola Razr, I can understand. It has a fixed focus and very very low resolution camera. But if you’re taking photos with even an older generation iPhone, you should be able to get some very decent results. In fact, I’ve taken a ton of macro photos with my iPhone 4S and they’ve turned out great.

Here’s a couple of tips to help your photos.

Get a sheet of grey, blue or white paper (preferable one of the first two when photographing light or white models) and prop it up curved behind the models with a book.

Place a light source (or face a window) facing the models. The paper will reflect the light back and eliminate shadows. If it is a spot or very direct light, diffuse it by shining it through a piece of wax paper or tissue (careful not to start a fire!)

Arrange your models and make sure they are all in frame and that the background paper surrounds them in the shot. You may need to use two pieces for larger models. Do not try to take photos of units larger than 10 models. Your camera’s aperture is likely not wide enough to keep them all in focus.

Set the timer on your phone’s camera for 3-5 seconds. Set the phone up on some books propped up with something so your photos are in frame. Hit the capture button and stand back (hands off the camera). This will take your heartbeat and any shake out of the picture. If you can get one, check out websites like Photojojo for a camera stand.

If you’re using an iPhone, you can use the edit settings in the Photos section to crop out anything you don’t want in the photos, and change the two things you may need to adjust, saturation and white balance. If you’ve gotten the backdrop and lighting right, brightness shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I personally use an App called ‘Snapseed’ available for iOS (now owned by google) to edit these settings.


For very little money (like $21) you can also buy a Macro lens from websites Photojojo which will attach to your iPhone/Smartphone and help you take even BETTER miniature photos.

Believe it or not, cameras on phones will take JUST as nice a photo of your models as a DSLR, so long as you know how to do it. I’ve done it quite a bit!

Good luck!



~ by Achilles on December 14, 2012.

2 Responses to “General Hobby – Miniature Photography with the iPhone”

  1. Wow, wish I had found his out before blowing cash on a camera im still getting used to! Some great general advice too!

    • I’m glad it helped. 🙂

      I read an article the other day about the Smartphone camera as the now number one source of all digital photography on earth. My other hobbies include travel and backpacking and I’ve actually started taking most of my photos with my iPhone with a variety of attachments.

      Cameras on phones won’t ever be as sophisticated as on a high quality DSLR, but for the layman just looking to take some images for themselves (or post online) they are more than sufficient if you take some simple steps to optimize what they can do.

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