I would like to introduce myself, I’m Wendy Verboom and I live in Belgium. For my day job I work in a residential and care center as a night care worker. But in my spare time I can almost always be found in nature. It is here that I come alive. I love to photograph birds, deer, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, and anything else interesting that I find. This is also the place where my inspiration for my toy photography comes from.
I started photographing LEGO by accident in 2017. When my friend came across his old Lego sets in his parents’ attic, together we put them back together. It was through this process thatI got the idea to photograph mini figures. While I’ve always been a macro photographer, butterflies and dragonflies were my primary subject. But I wanted to do more, I wanted to photograph with a macro lens in the winter as well.
With a little internet research, I discovered examples of Lego photography. These examples inspired me to revisit my beloved places in nature together with these minifigures. I’m really a nature photographer and I want to show the beauty of nature in my toy photography. If you look at my photos you will notice that nature is a theme that runs through my work. Almost all my photos are photographed in nature.
My current photo set up is a Canon 80D combined with a Sigma 150mm macro lens. I also use an old Helios 44 f2 lens. This old Russian made lens has a softness and unique bokeh that I love. It immediately gives a dreamy atmosphere without the use of a post editing app like Photoshop.
Lighting the scene
I rely on daylight to illuminate my set ups. The best light is found either early in the morning or late in the day. This softer light keeps my minifigures from becoming overexposed. Occasionally I will use a small handheld light to illuminate the minifig in dark settings. Recently I bought myself a white parasol to experiment with. I will use it to diffuse the harsh mid-day light. I’m curious if this will work so that I will have even more opportunities to photography my Lego. As photographers, sometimes we must experiment and try new techniques.
Recently I was experimenting with indoor set-ups for halloween. I rarely do indoor photos, but the weather was bad outside. So I made a diorama with stones, branches, moss and soil for this series of photo’s. I brought the outdoors inside.
Most of my ideas involving minifigs reflect the outdoor activities that I enjoy. These include photographing insects or flowers, hiking and participating in water activities. Beyond the environment my photos are also inspired by the individual minifigure I choose to take with me. I don’t often do much planning before I go out to photograph. I like to be inspired by the open world that I’m exploring. My ideas are a combination of the inspiring nature and the minifigures I have with me.
Other toy photographers are also a source of inspiration. There are so many good toy photographers on the internet and if I like an idea I try to make my own version.
I also get inspiration through the challenges of various toy community’s. This way I can explore topics that I wouldn’t otherwise take on. I always try to make the best of the challenge.
What I look for in a scene
When I’m searching for a space to use for a photograph, I usually look for special mosses. For me they can immediately create another world. When I come across beautiful places, the ideas usually come naturally. This is especially true if I slow down and sit in a spot. By doing this I have time to scan the area for an even better photo.
Water is also always a rewarding subject to photography in and around. Photos involving water are usually my most beautiful photos. I enjoy the reflections created on the surface as well as the quiet environment that usually surrounds water. Usually there are fewer disturbing elements in the landscape, and this brings all the viewers attention to the minifig.
One of my photos which shows a minifig photographing a moss is one of my favorites. It tells my story. The minifig has to introduce me while I ‘m doing macrophotography. This photo won third prize in the big toy photography contest on Flickr in 2021. I’m very proud of this accomplishment.
The tools I use to create my photos are very simple. I use thin twigs or toothpicks or smalle branches to help my minifigures to stand. They often fall over when placed on moss and other natural surfaces. In my bag you will always find scissors, a beanbag to support my camera, kneading eraser and a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil to use as a light reflector and a flashlight
Lessons I’ve learned
Two lessons I’ve learned that help me take better photos are: get on the level of your minifigure. This helps with believability for the viewer as well as creates a different and often unexpected image. The other lesson is to enjoy the process. It is relaxing for me to take a moment to photography. An hour quickly goes by without my knowing it. I get lost in my images and I love that. My biggest dream is to exhibit in an art gallery in order to get more fame and photo assignments. So that I can sell my photos and invest the money in my photography.
If you enjoy my images, I invite you to check out the work of JoeCow, ShellyCorbettphotography, minifigureadventures and Sarouxbastoux Instagram. They all take wonderful outdoor photos similar to mine.
You can see more examples of my work on Facebook or Instagram
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I really enjoy your toy photography, Wendy. It’s nice to learn more about you and your process of creating photos.
I love your photography, Wendy! I’ve learned a lot from your work and gotten a few ideas as well.!
I love your story as it has many similarities to mine. Your Lego nature photography is wonderful. I love seeing the mini figs interacting with nature in a way that is uses the setting nature gave you.
Hey Wendy, So nice to learn a bit about you. I love your work and am thrilled to know we use the same camera. Maybe there’s hope for me yet! Haha. Thanks for writing this piece and sharing so much toy photography goodness.