Having the right tools for a job can make the process smoother and easier. I’ve been fortunate to have acquired fantastic tools to help me in my photographic journey over the years. So I’ve opened up my camera bag to let you have a peek inside:
A: 2 x Canon 5D Mark IV bodies.
B: Canon 100mm Macro L F2.8 lens
C: Canon 85mm L F1.2
D: Canon 70-200mm L II F2.8
E: Canon 24-105mm L F4
F: Canon 24-70mm L II F2.8
G: Canon 16-35mm L II F4
H: Canon 50mm L II F1.2
I: Venus Optics Laowa 24mm f/14 Probe lens
J: Savage RGB VL LED light
K: 3 x LUME CUBES
L: Dracast DRSL-R-400B
M: Manfrotto tripod
N: Joby GorillaPod tripod
O: Camera trigger
Now you might be thinking that this is a bit over the top for toy photography. I am a portrait photographer and was a wedding photographer for many years, so I have acquired a lot over the years. I pretty much use all my equipment, but there are some things that I have that are specific for my toy photography.
K: Lume Cubes
In my opinion, a must-have for toy photography. They are light, powerful, and very versatile. They have several light modifiers to give different light and effects. Here are links to previous articles that I have written about the Lume Cube:
L: Dracast DRSL
I use this as a primary light source for many of my shots. It creates an abundant, diffused light that is soft and even. What’s impressive with this is the ability to change the temperature of light as well as the brightness.
J: Savage RGB LED panel
Having an LED light is fantastic for toy photography, but what makes this neat is the ability to have a 360-degree color range—all the hues you’ll ever need to add a splash of color to your photo.
N: JOBY GorillaPod
This tripod can be spread low to the ground, and is durable enough to hold onto things with its nonslip leg grips that wrap around objects tightly. It’s also useful to hold up the Lume Cubes or the Savage lights.
I: Probe lens
This lens is a super macro lens that can get close and personal with the subject. It’s 24mm, so it can take a wide shot to get the whole scene in the frame.
I don’t have tons of accessories in my bag like pliers and wire, etc. My toy accessories are pretty simple.
A great can of fog-creating effect!
OBITSU Assembly Action Figure Stands
These are my go-to action figure holders. They can be manipulated into any position and are surprisingly stable at holding heavy figures.
And last but not least, (probably the most crucial piece of equipment) is my notebook. I rarely take toy pictures on the fly—95% of my images are ideas that I have thought of and scribbled down in my notebook. It’s a way for me to visualize the shot before setting up.
So that’s it. Simple but it gets the job done.
Let me know what’s in your bag of tricks!
Totally appreciate the notebook sketches…exactly like mine too! Hoping to somehow get that probe lens!!! It’s an amazing piece of equipment!
Thanks Sunny, yeah note book is probably my most prized piece;)
Love this post James! Like Sunny, I have my eye on that probe lens. It recently went into circulation at my local camera store in the rental dept. I think I might try before I buy. Thanks for the peek into your bag!
it is an amazing lens Shelly and really awesome for Lego.. I’d take it for a test drive if I were you 🙂
Good article! I’m a recently retired commercial photographer. I’ve spent the last 25+ years shooting models. Live models. A few years ago, I became very interested in classic/vintage/legacy lenses for use in my personal photography. I wanted lenses that render a different “look” than modern lenses deliver. At that time, I hadn’t yet thought I might become interested in toy photography. Anyway, I now have about 30 different lenses that are between 30 and 70 years old or so. All of them are manual focus and most of them render in ways very different than most modern lenses. I will soon be trying them out with toys. I’ve just started acquiring toys for shooting. I’ve found the local swap meet is a great place to find them. Much cheaper than eBay!!! I’m mostly focused on old sci-fi toys (robots mostly) that are, for the most part, 1990s reproductions. (Can’t afford the originals from the 40s, 50s, 60s.) And also dinosaurs. As far as other gear, like you I have plenty altho I’ve added some Manfrotto PIXIE tripods, some Jobys, a Lume Cube pro kit w/ 2 cubes and all the accessories, an Ulanzi L1 Lume Cube knock-off. I already had 3 LitePanels minis and a bunch of other gear. I shoot with both a Canon FF and a Sony mirrorless FF.
Impressive gear James! And it’s fantastic that You know well how to use it! 🙂 right gear in right hands. I also love this probe lens, I’ve read a review somewhere and it’s so great “glass” 🙂
Thank You for this post!