Diorma Photography
Greetings everyone. I just recently bought a new DSLR. Man what a difference it makes then my old film camera. Just being able to erase photos that easily is such a plus. Anyway, I need some advice, guidance and maybe a forum to visit. I will be using my camera for many things but one specific thing is taking photos of dioramas or displays of models.

My goal is to do this. Take some great shots that make their models look almost real. Im mostly dealing with 1/32 scale and 1/64 scale. Some HO scale in there too. I dont know where to start.

I want to do some "portrait" shots of these models as well. Im finding that a good macro lens will probably my my best friend. And a homemade Light tent or something. But what about pictures that show part of the layout with the model in the background. Like a train on a bridge or something? Where do I start? I have a 18-55is and a 28-135is but I think Im going to return that one as it's not much more focal length then the 18-55. Then I can get some other more usable glass to do what I want..

So there you have it. Im hoping some of you have done this to sucsess, and I hope you will share with me your secrets..

Thanks for the helpDusty..

Comments (7)


This is a very specialised subject. I was involved with it once many years ago when producing an instruction manual where the action of very small parts had to be shown. A drawing would have been better, imo..

In a nutshell, go and look for a book on it..

Or, start with the lens zoomed to 135 and as small an aperture as you can get (high f number) and use a tripod and cable release. (If no tripod or cable release, jam the camera hard against something and use the delayed action to fire the shutter.) You'll need to do this because the lighting must be soft and that means slow shutter speeds. Or a lot of expensive lights. (Never the pop-up flash!).

I hope this gives you somewhere to start from. The problems will be lighting as models magnify harshness & the shadows are wrong (unless you can use one light at the scale distance the sun is...) and DoF as models are measured in inches and with macro DoF is in microns. So don't use macro but as long a focal length as you can and a small aperture. Which will affect the FoV but you'll have to experiment..

Have fun..

Regards, David..

Comment #1

I'd use floodlights and reflectors, though a light tent or variant thereof to provide either a blue background or appropriate background is necessary..

An extention tube or maybe a couple of them will allow the lenses that you own to focus much closer (which is the usual problem). A macro lens is OK for some close ups but the perspective is usually better with the extention tube on a mild wide to telephoto lens..

High f#s will result in slow shutter speeds so a good flexible tripod. This one allows the center post to go horizontal so that the camera can be swung into the diorama with ease..

And software that allows several different focus points to be merged into one picture for extended depth of field will be very handy. Google Helicon Focus or Photo Acute Studio..

Last a good book on Macro Photography though I don't have one to learning has been by trial and error.A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #2

Thank you guys. This is a great start. Keep this info coming. Never knew Macro would be a choice that is less favorable then a good wide angle..

Lets here more. Examples would be cool too. Dusty..

Comment #3

The US modelling magazine 'Fine Scale Modeler' did an article on this 6-8 months ago. Have a look on their website and order a back issue. Actually, upon browsing further, I found this....


You won't even need to buy the mag - just download the PDF, read and learn..

Another place that might be work a look is....


Don't know for sure, but there's all sorts of things there. Browse around, see what you can find..


Everyone, everywhere, has to do everything for a first time. There is no shame in failure, only in failure to try...

Comment #4

Hi (again),.

Wide angle isn't so usefull for models as they take in a lot of background and the last thing you want is a monster out of scale whatever in the edges of the picture or over the top of the model. So telephoto takes a narrow view and cuts out back ground clutter. Also you then can get more light on a smaller space..

Regards, David..

Comment #5

Thanks Rob.. I will be reading it very soon..

David, Thanks for clarifying. There are a few instances where I want to show the entire display but I think doing a panorama would look nicer then doing a single wide angle shot. Anyway, thanks again.Dusty..

Comment #6

LM2 wrote:.

High f#s will result in slow shutter speeds so a good flexibletripod..

Hmmm... I would have suggested a "rigid" tripod. .

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog:

Comment #7

Click Here to View All...

Sponsored Amazon Deals:

1. Get big savings on Amazon warehouse deals.
2. Save up to 70% on Amazon Products.

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


Categories: Home | Diet & Weight Management | Vitamins & Supplements | Herbs & Cleansing |

Sexual Health | Medifast Support | Nutrisystem Support | Medifast Questions |

Web Hosting | Web Hosts | Website Hosting | Hosting |

Web Hosting | GoDaddy | Digital Cameras | Best WebHosts |

Web Hosting FAQ | Web Hosts FAQ | Hosting FAQ | Hosting Group |

Hosting Questions | Camera Tips | Best Cameras To Buy | Best Cameras This Year |

Camera Q-A | Digital Cameras Q-A | Camera Forum | Nov 2010 - Cameras |

Oct 2010 - Cameras | Oct 2010 - DSLRs | Oct 2010 - Camera Tips | Sep 2010 - Cameras |

Sep 2010 - DSLRS | Sep 2010 - Camera Tips | Aug 2010 - Cameras | Aug 2010 - DSLR Tips |

Aug 2010 - Camera Tips | July 2010 - Cameras | July 2010 - Nikon Cameras | July 2010 - Canon Cameras |

July 2010 - Pentax Cameras | Medifast Recipes | Medifast Recipes Tips | Medifast Recipes Strategies |

Medifast Recipes Experiences | Medifast Recipes Group | Medifast Recipes Forum | Medifast Support Strategies |

Medifast Support Experiences |


(C) Copyright 2010 All rights reserved.