A to Z of Toy Photography – Part One: A-E

A is for Articulation.

When looking for my next figure to shoot this is always something near the top of my list. Good articulation can make or break a dramatic shot so it’s always worth baring in mind. Think about the pose you’d like to create and how (and if) your subject can be used in the shot.

i am ironman-1.jpg

B is for Boom!

A great way to create the illusion of battle and explosions in your toy photography is to use sparklers as practical effects. Now, I must say off the bat that you should never play with fire, matches, pyrotechnics or anything else hot or dangerous without proper adult supervision, in a safe space to do so and wearing protective clothing, goggles, and gloves. There. By placing sparklers strategically on the ground behind your subject or off to the side of the shot, you can create some great effects. Please be carful though and stay safe. Don’t use them inside and alway make sure you’ve got a bucket of water to hand to put them into as soon as they’ve been used.


C is for Compressed Air.

Another great (and far less dangerous) practical effect to play with is using compressed air to create explosions. Using a can designed for dusting your keyboard or other gadgets (available online for as little as £3 a can) you can create clouds of dust, smoke effects, and water ripples that will add drama to your images. Speaking of which…


D is for Drama.

Whether shoring an action shot or just a portrait, drama is what we add to our shots to create a mood and a sense of realism. By adding drama to our shots we are able to breath life into our toys. Think about the pose, lighting, environment and story behind your shot and how all these things combined will develop drama.


E is for Environment.

The environment in which we shoot is key to the creating of a story within the final image. Is it an outdoor action shot? Is it a moody indoor shot using the light from a window? By carefully choosing where to shoot, the image will become more real and lifelike. Ironman is very rarely seen in a natural landscape so a more urban setting would suit him more. Characters from The Lord of the Rings will be much more at home in the great outdoors, and storm troopers look awesome anywhere because they’re stormtroopers.


More to come soon. Obviously. I’m not going to call an article ‘An A to Z…’ and leave it at E am I?! That would be nuts! Have any of these tips been useful to you? Do you have any tips to add? Get in touch and share the love.

Have fun and keep photographing! – Mark



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