Thursday, December 2, 2021

Ground Level Pictures - More Drama From Your Camera


French Cuirassiers du Roi (Minden Miniatures)

Click on all pictures for an even more dramatic view)

When I think about all of the pictures of wargaming figures that I have seen in magazines, blogs or rules books, there really are not many photographs taken from the ground level perspective. At the other extreme, there are too many photos that show the back of some infantry battalion marching across the game table. 

It is hard enough to take a really good picture of figures on a wargame table. You need just the right amount of light, you need to be in a position where you can get close enough to the table to frame and take your shot and it goes without saying that good photo composition makes a world of difference.

The close up photo or the ground level picture puts you, the viewer, into the photo as if you were standing in front of the subject. There is nothing quite dramatic as a good close up of the action. To wit, check out the picture of the final battle scene in the movie Zulu. You can see the grit and determination in the men and you get a sense of how exhausting the battle must have been. The close up creates quite a bit of drama and makes for a powerful picture.

Here are a couple pictures of close up action that I have taken over the years. They certainly are not perfect in terms of lighting and focus (I blame the camera on that one), but the down on the ground and the in-your-face view tell a good story. A little bit of cotton from the first aid cabinet give the impression of smoke from black powder firing or building that have been set on fire.

1st Pennsylvania Regiment fire a point blank volley at the approaching British soldiers in some AWI action .
(Fife and Drum Miniatures)

A Prussian Colonel leads his regiment through the burning village of Zorndorf.
(Minden Miniatures)

The cavalry charge right into the lens of the photographer is one of my favorite modes for taking ground level pictures. You can almost hear the thunder of the horses' hooves as they come right at you. Will that square of infantry keep their nerve and not break before the wild cavalry charge?

The H2 Zieten Hussars are coming right at you (that's a bad place to be)
(Minden Miniatures)

I like to take ground level photos of infantry marching across the table.

Prussian regiment Itzenplitz (IR13) marching through the wintery snows near Leuthen.
(Minden Miniatures; RSM artillery driver)

OK, this picture shows the backs of Continental soldiers of the AWI marching away from the camera. However, once in awhile, the rear view can make for a good photo.

AWI Continentals on the march.

Skirmishing troops also make for great ground level photographs so that you can see the action up close.

British dragoon piquet line fires off a few rounds from their carbines.
(Fife and Drum Miniatures)

Small skirmish affairs appear more deadly when seen closeup and at eye level.
 Saratoga British light company men take aim at some of their Continental Army counterparts.
(Fife and Drum Miniatures)

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures and that I have given you some food for thought on how to photograph some of your wargame units on the table top.


  1. Excellent photos! The charging hussars remind me on the Lady Elizabeth Butler painting of the Scots Greys at Waterloo. Chaaaaarge!!!

    Best Regards,


  2. I, too, love getting low level pics of my troops but cannot often get the opportunity to get a good one!
    Well done on these, and thanks for posting them!

  3. Splendid pictures, a real pleasure to watch!

  4. Very nice! I've considered running games from this perspective, to avoid the "bird's-eye-view" that a real general would never have. I'm not sure how, though I've seen it done remotely with small webcams.