A to Z of Toy Photography Part 3: G-K

K – Kelvin Scale.

This is another one aimed at my fellow DSLR users. Put simply the Kelvin Scale refers to the light temperature of the image – so the low end of the scale (around 3000-4000K) will give a cold blue tint to the image and the high end (6000-7000K) will inject a warm sunny glow into the photo. This scale is intended to help create natural light, but by using it to your advantage you can create cold moonlit images in the middle of the day, or warm summers days in the dead of winter.

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Taken from the teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, this shot was given its orange hue by shooting the Kelvin through the roof!

L – lighting.

Another key aspect of all photography and in most case the most important thing to remember is the lighting. Natural or artificial? Flash or fixed? All have very different effects in your images and I often find that after the subject comes the lighting before anything else. Once I have chosen my subject for a particular shot, I then have a play with different lighting techniques until I find something that works. Try different angels with artificial lighting as a light directly above with drastically alter the mood from one to the side or below. And if you take my advice, avoid head on flash like he plague – it creates ugly shadows which kill the image dead. Always bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling or use off camera flash if you have the kit for it.

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Shot with a single light fitted with a soft box positioned directly above Jack Sparrow here… Sorry! CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow!

M – Mouldings and Sculpts.

As well as the articulation, something that sells a figure to me is always the sculpt, particularly the face. If I’m going to be shooting an action figure with a macro lens and in fine detail I want it to be as life like as possible. For my money Bandai’s S H Figuarts are the best 1:12 scale figures on the market for this (see my review of their Farm Boy Luke Skywalker for a full overview) and anything put out by Hot Toys for the 1:6 scale collector/photographer. When doing close ups on human and other organic characters – and providing you are looking to create something with an air of realism – the facial sculpt is something to always consider.

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Enter the Dragon – This Bruce Lee from S H Figuarts is a prime example of an incredible sculpt on a 6″ figure. Uncanny likeness.

N – Nothing to Shoot? I don’t believe you.

I my self have a very strict budget when it comes to my toy photography hobby. Im not the richest of blokes and so the money coming into our house goes on either the kids or the house itself – with the odd takeaway and bottle of wine thrown in if we’re feeling a bit devilmaycare. However, I do from time to time treat myself to a little something new to shoot and I find ways of feeding my habit where I can. A cheap way of getting your hands on a figure you may not have even known about is to scour car boot sales, flea markets and eBay for bargains. My most recent finds include three Cybermen for £5 on a Sunday market and a complete 6” Aragorn from Lord of the Rings for 20p (yes Twenty English Pence my friends!) from eBay.

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Battle at Weathertop – 20p. The box of matches cost more!

O – Off Camera Flash.

Lighting is always better when it comes from a source away from the camera’s body. Although you may still get shadows in your photos, they will be far more pleasing and atmospheric than if your flash was mounted to the top of your camera. by using a source – whether it be a flash or fixed light source – off camera you have much more control over your images, the amount of light that hits the subject and where on the subject it hits.

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Created using two off camera flash guns – one to camera left and one behind the Stormtrooper. The explosion is a combination of soil and flour blown into the air using the trusty lens puffer.

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