A few years ago when I created my first Lego mini-figure scene with the members of Guardians of the Galaxy, I never would have thought I would be sitting here typing this Post. But thanks to Shelly for giving me the opportunity to write a few thoughts on ‘Why’ I am ‘stuck in plastic’ doing toy photography, I know that I wouldn’t want to be anyplace else.
So why toy photography? Quite simply because it’s fun and creative. Every scene is a yet another idea brought to life. But the process that I follow to create each scene has definitely evolved over time.
Lately I try to follow these Steps:
- Step One: Write down an idea.
- Step Two: Set up a stage made of two sheets of paper and light it with an adjustable IKEA lamp.
- Step Three: Use my Lego Mini-Figure pieces to create a ‘sketch’ of the idea (see Step One).
- Step Four: Take a few photos – adjusting the light as needed – using my smartphone to see what works best.
- Step Five: Edit the photo using the Enlight App on my smartphone.
- Step Six: Publish the photo to social media (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to, hopefully, spark inspiration in others.
One quick note on why I only use my smartphone to capture my toy photography:
Chase Jarvis once said that ‘the best camera is the one you have with you‘. That really stuck with me because using my iPhone to capture toy photography is something that’s very convenient, it’s always with me. It allows me to capture ideas quickly and edit them without having to upload the raw photographs to my desktop in order to tweak them in Photoshop.
To that end, I have nothing against Adobe Photoshop or desktop image editing in general. I just enjoy the spontaneity and the fun of putting a scene together quickly, editing it and then publishing it for others to enjoy.
But enough about my process. How did I really come to be ‘stuck in plastic’?
Besides growing up in the 1980’s and having a few Lego sets that focused on Knights, Castles and even spacemen (yes, Bennie the Spaceman is one of my favorites), my toy photography really started to take shape one day a few years ago when my wife and I were running errands.
We stopped at Target to pick up a few things, and I wandered over to the toy section to check out the Lego sets. I can remember looking at a display that showed off all of the latest Star Wars Lego mini-figures. The kid in me was immediately intrigued, and I told myself that I wanted to start to collect mini-figures because it wasn’t something that I could afford to do as a kid. So when I picked up set 76021 (The Milano) to get Starlord and 76020 (Knowhere Escape) to get Rocket and Groot, I was hooked.
Things had certainly changed with the quality of Lego sets since I had last bought one with my allowance back in the mid-1980’s. And yes, I’ve definitely collected some Star Wars Lego mini-figures along the way…
I hope that you enjoy my toy photography, and I hope to hear from you on how you feel about it because as I continue to grow as a photographer (toys or otherwise), your feedback is invaluable to me.
Thanks for reading.