About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Things to photograph when you're stuck at home: Toy Photography

Things to photograph when you're stuck at home: Toy Photography

Having been pretty much home bound for the past two weeks thanks to a nasty chest infection, I've been going slightly crazy from cabin fever! I've been having the urge to photography something....anything at this point, and this got me thinking about things to photograph when you're stuck at home, and in particular something I had been dabbling in recently: toy photography.

Toy Photography is actually a pretty big thing on Instagram right now. As a fan of Anime, Manga and LegoI have a few collectibles and quite a few lego sets, so a while back I was trying my hand at this growing hobby. Some people are way, way better at this than I am, and these are just a few feeble attempts at dipping my photographic toe in the toy photography pond.

The genre seems particularly popular among Anime fans, and especially with the Nendoroid and Figma line of collectible figures from the Japanese company, Good Smile Company. I have a few of these in my collection. You've probably seen them in the background on various desk shots and I've used them in the past as camera props to make boring camera shots more interesting.

I tried making some interesting shots of my K-On figures. The setup was pretty simple. I had the figures placed on a box with my iPad in the background. I used a picture of the Nippon Budokan on my iPad as a backdrop. (any fans of the series K-On will get the reference!) For lighting, It was pretty much just the window light on one side with a white reflector on the other. I also used an LED torch to add the effect of a spotlight, as it gave off a blue light compared to the warm window light.

The camera I used for this setup was my trusty Nikon D700 with a 105mm macro lens. The figures are pretty small so I needed a macro lens to get in close. Everything was shot on a tripod too. The biggest difficulty I had was managing the very shallow depth of field. Shooting that close with the macro lens means that your depth of field is razor thin, so I had to stop down far enough to ensure that the figures faces were in focus, but not so far that the background came too into focus.

Gundam models are another popular subject for toy photography. I have one Gundam kit that I've mostly assembled, so I tried to get some close-up shots of this too.

I didn't do anything overly fancy for this setup. I didn't use a background, but the lighting and shooting setup was pretty much the same as the other shots.

Finally, as a huge lego fan, I couldn't go without doing some lego shots too. Here are some of the excellent Lego Wall-E model, and a Lego First Order Storm Trooper from the Force Awakens.

As I said earlier, I'm by no means an expert at this genre. I made lots and lots of mistakes. For a start, I didn't clean the models properly, and as you can see there is quite a bit of dust on them. I could probably get rid of a lot of this in Photoshop, but as these are just for example purposes I didn't bother.

There are some really great people out there doing this as a hobby, and some even turned it into a career. One of my favourites is this artist Lovepinkcheeks on Instagram (and her Website)

Here's another great artist: Will Hardi on Instagram

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A Fun Week (Not)