Not as much as toys are adored by the children, more toys photography is adored by adults. Be it in magazines to display Starwars or Avengers toys, in movies to create effects, or to the parents who shop for toys online – it’s everywhere.
Professionals and amateurs love toy photography as it’s different from what we usually see. It can be manipulated in a more advanced form as many photographers use them to create a story.
In this article, we’ll be learning how to photograph toys with some great techniques to make them more expressive and life-like.
Tips and Techniques for Toy Photography
1. Use a Tripod
The first thing that is required to master toy photography is the sturdiness of the camera. When you photograph toys, you are already struggling with the challenge of working with a small object.
For the toy to appear more realistic, it is important that you capture its expressions and actions clearly and in detail. Using a tripod gives you the advantage of clicking an image without any shake or blur.
When you set your whole setup and try to click it through your camera at once, the jerk of your hand may not allow you to get what you’re looking for. Tripod simply lets you click clean and focused images.
2. Props and Scenery
It takes no expensive props and struggles to bring together a scene. Unlike real models, toys are very small. That’s the reason, the background area that they cover needs not to be big.
You can even complete your whole toy photography shoot in a baking tray! Though the props depend on what kind of scene are you trying to click, it doesn’t take too much too.
For example, if you are taking a shot of Superman in a jungle – all you need is a Superman figurine and a handful of sticks, twigs, and grass from your backyard.
Put all of these things into your baking tray or whatever you’re using for your setup. You can then simply click the images as required.
As you can see in the image above, there are more than 10 figures, but not a single one can be found unwanted. The complete parade looks in harmony with the gaze of generals who are watching is matching with those who are walking.
Composition techniques are the ways to arrange the elements of your scene in a single frame to enhance the way the overall image looks. They are used in almost every visual art to make it more realistic and exceptional.
If you just grab a few things and put them together, it isn’t going to give you great success. What you need here is to apply some photo composition techniques to set everything in harmony.
What I mean here is that all your props, the angle, and movement (intend to move) should all be complimenting each other. Your toy photography shouldn’t be scattered all over the frame.
4. Tame the Lights
Lights are very important in toy photography. In fact, these are not just regular white and yellow lights. Many photographers use some red, blue, or neon lights to show superficial effects. The angle you choose for your toy to stand-in should be aligned with your lighting.
It is not necessary that you need to but different lights to shoot your toy in different lighting. There are many lighting lamps and bulbs are available on Amazon that change color and can be managed through your phone.
If you do not feel like investing in such equipment, then you may simply use plastic translucent bottle caps, clothes, or any material that disperse light. You can use this colored material in front of your camera or smartphone lens and let the magic begin.
The lighting effects on your toy photography highly affect the details and the environment you intend you create.
5. Camera Settings
If you can conquer the best setting in your camera, that it’s the half battle won already. It’s better to keep the focus auto as you’ll be using a tripod (you must).
The size of your toy would be small which means that you might be increasing the magnification, using a macro lens, or keeping the object close to the camera. This will automatically create a shallow depth of field. You can keep the aperture small, as a small aperture will also help you in getting a more shallow depth of field.
If your toy is metallic and shiny, then it’s better not to use your camera flash or any harsh lighting. The light can bounce back from the tiny material which will create an ugly, unwanted effect in your toy photography.
6. Framing will provide you with variants
Framing is crucial in toy photography, especially when your focus is the expressions and posture of your toy figurine. You can try different framing like close-ups, half-length, or full-length when photographing your toy figures. Close-up feature shots can be used if the toy figure has a slight and realistic facial expression or pose that can show the character.
Figures like that of Batman’s Joker or action heroes like John Wick should be captured with acute framing to highlight the figurine’s personality.
7. Do not forget the Editing
A few types of photography like leather photography gives you the leniency of not putting too much time into editing. But, toy photography is the opposite of it. Just as movies, it requires highly graphitized illusions to bring the figures to life. You can use it to create variations in lightings, background, and the surrounding effects.
Editing here is a non-negotiable thing. If you are a professional and deals with official purposes in toy photography then I highly recommend you to hire a professional photo editing service provider to keep your images world-class.
Though the thesis is a few toy photography tips, when done correctly, then these are all you need. These techniques are some must perform things to create masterpieces made out of little toy figurines.
Just keep the lighting and camera angle to their best and compose everything together. This allows you to achieve highly animated yet realistic looks out of something you can find in a tiny bag together.
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