Hey I found this on minipainter on yahoo groups - a good list for advanced painters
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 10:46 AM
> Subject: [mini-painter] Re: Newbie to the group
> Yeah, the pics are pretty dismal, it's impossible to make anything
> But, this gives me an excuse to post my mini pic tutorial:
> Mini photography tips
> You, too, can take mini pics like the pros. I have no more
> photography skills than the next guy, but I've been taking mini pics
> for a year, and with the help of tutorials like those on Zaphod's
> site, as well as practice and perseverance, I'm very pleased with the
> I use a Canon A60, which is below average by today's standards. Any
> camera with macro mode (for close ups) should work. I also use a
> small tripod to aim and steady the camera. I paid $8 for mine
> Lights are important, too. You'll want to control the lighting, which
> means turning off your flash. Therefore, you'll need a lot of light.
> I use 2 75 watt "natural" tungsten bulbs, very close to the mini.
> Gooseneck lamps work well. The natural bulb is supposed to make
> colors look more natural than standard incandescent lighting.
> The background is downloaded from http://www.dragon-
> miniatures.com/images/bluetowhite.jpg. Print it out on any color
> printer. My paper is pretty beat up, so quality isn't important here.
> Now it's time to set up your mini studio. Prop your backround up on a
> box. Take a paint bottle, set up a inch or so from the background,
> and stand your mini on it. Get your lights set up. Make sure your
> mini is well illuminated. Remember, it's on stage, and stage lights
> are hot, bright, and uncomfortable. When your mini starts to squint,
> you've got enough light.
> Set up your tripod about 10-12" away from your mini, with the camera
> at the same height of the mini.
> Now comes the hard part. Take out your camera manual and read it.
> You'll want to turn off the flash, set the lighting for tungsten if
> you have that setting, and get into macro mode. If you can set a
> short delay, do so. It will keep the vibrations from pressing the
> shutter button from interfering with the picture.
> I set the f-stop to F8.0, the ISO to 200, and the shutter speed to
> 1/125. I don't know what that means, but it works for me. I use
> 1024x768 resolution mode, although a lower one might be better for
> more detail.
> Center your mini, zoom in, and click away.
> At this point you should have a pretty decent picture. You may not
> compare to the best, but I'll let you in on a secret. Post picture
> processing can make a good picture into an awesome picture, but
> you're going to need image processing software. You can use anything
> from free utilities downloaded from tucows.com to Photoshop, which
> costs hundreds of dollars. I'm not going to try to cover the exact
> steps for any product, but I will give you general guidelines on what
> I do.
> You'll need to figure out how to use the following tools in whatever
> software you choose.
> color selector
> magic wand fill tool (yours may call it something else, but it's a
> type of fill tool)
> The first step is to crop your picture. Cut out most of the
> background, especially at the bottom. Then use the color selector
> tool to select a color that's near the bottom of your picture. With
> the magic wand fill tool, erase the paint pot by replacing its color
> with the blue you selected. You may have to play with the tolerance
> level. Basically, this tool works by replacing pixels (the little
> dots that make up the image) of one color with pixels of another
> color. It works over a range of colors, and the size of the range is
> called tolerance. Too small of a range, and it won't erase enough.
> Too large, and parts of the image you want (or the whole image) will
> be erased. This is where the undo tool comes in handy.
> If your paint jar is a very different color from blue, your tolerance
> won't matter as much. I use a white jar, and have to click 4 or 5
> times on various shades of white to erase them.
> Now the background is a gradient, and you've selected a specific
> shade to erase your paint pot, which means your erased paint pot may
> not totally blend with the background. Use the blur tool to eliminate
> any sharp transitions and blend the inviso-pot into the background.
> Now sit back and gloat. You have a clear, well lit pic of your mini
> on a cool background, and it appears to be floating in air, drawing
> all the focus to it and making your photography skills seem magical.
> But wait, there's more! Re-evaluate your cropping. Did you take
> enough background away? Also, if you want to do those cool front &
> back 2 in 1 shots, you will have to learn to expand the image, copy
> the back picture, and paste it next to the front picture. In some
> software, you will have to combine the "objects" (the 2 pictures)
> For the finishing touch, use the sharpen tool to really snap your
> mini into clarity. I use the default settings for my software.
> Some people will now go on to adjust contrast, brightness, and color
> levels, but I find I don't need to with the techniques I've outlined.
> The colors will look different on different monitors anyway, so I
> don't worry if the colors on my monitor don't exactly match the
> colors on my mini.
> Now save the image in jpg or jpeg format. The jpg format is very good
> for capturing photographs, and does a good job of making the file
> size small enough to download in a reasonable amount of time for dial-
> up users. If you can control the compression ratio, and therefore
> filesize, try to get your file between 30K and 100K. 30K is easy on
> dial up users; 100K will allow you to get good detail in larger
> images. I aim for around 50K in general.
> Well, that's it. Anybody should be able to complete phase one, taking
> the steps to capture a good image with your camera. Phase two, using
> image software to polish your photo, can be a little harder for the
> average person, but it just take patience and perseverance, as well
> as being willing to use your software's help or tutorial functions.
> Once you figure it out, it's easy. I spend less than 5 minutes on
> each picture I process.
> I've thought about setting up a service where I charge $1 per
> picture, but I think it's too much of a hassle to process the
> payment, it wouldn't generate that much income, and I don't need a
> second job or a few extra dollars.
> Good luck.