Hi, my name is Joey and like to take toy photos using practical effects. I want to share what I have learned and inspire you to try your hand at incorporating practical effects into your own toy photography.
You may or may not of seen some of my LEGO pictures but I have had some luck with practical effects and creating the illusion of movement.
In this first blog post I’d like to give you a short tutorial on how I create my photos using practical effects. I will show you a couple of images showing the tools I use and my camera set up. If all goes well I will also share my technique on a couple of water shots.
Lets Get Started!
Here is a finished shot of the new monster truck (Set #60180) from the City Theme. I really love this set and I couldn’t wait to shoot it! Shooting a vehicle can be awkward at first, especially if you’re used to shooting mini-figs or action figures. And let’s be honest, you can’t really convey feelings or much of a story with a shot like this. It is however a great way to learn the basic principals of practical effects and get out of you comfort zone. Once you have the basics down you can apply them to other situations. These practical effects can really add depth to your shots.
As you can see the set up is pretty simple. I leveled off a patch of dirt with a trowle then I sat the truck where I wanted it. I used clear brick to prop the front up. Just like in real life I tied the rear suspension down. I thought this would help with the illusion of movement. I really want the truck to look like it was “under acceleration”.
The red power tool you can see in the first behind the scenes image is a cordless blower. I’ve found this to be the most effective tool to move dirt in short bursts. I’ve also had success using cans of compressed air.
Capturing the perfect shot
Now it’s as easy as holding down that shutter and blowing the dirt at the rear wheels. I’ve found short bursts of air to be the most effective. But like all our types of photography, everyone has their own technique. Capturing the perfect shot is going to take patience and a lot of frames. But practice makes perfect.
Because you generally have to be in front of the camera I also use a remote shutter relese which makes life easier.
I did use Photoshop for a little post production touch-ups. I wont go into a whole lot of boring detail, but you will need to use a radial blur on each tyre to make them look like they are spinning.
This is a pretty basic kind of shot, but if you’re new to practical effects this can be a great starting point.
Here is one last picture that I shot when I was first experimenting with practical effects. The sand blowing across the picture adds depth and makes it really look like he’s facing down a storm.
If you’ve made it this far, I thank you and I hope you will be inspired to try you hand at practical effects.