So, there’s a theme going on this week — action figure photography. Taking photos of action figures is one of my favorite hobbies, it’s like being a photographer to the stars, without the big budget and celebrity egos. Action figures are just lifeless lumps of plastic, but you might be surprised at how life-like those figures can be with the proper placement of your lens. Think of your photo lightbox as a miniature photo studio, where the models aren’t 6 feet tall, they’re a mere 6 inches. The way you compose the subject and lighting is the same, just on a smaller scale.
Watch any photographer, and you’ll see him move around the subject, shooting from different angles and different distances, to get the perfect shot. Use that same technique when you photograph your action figures, and you’ll get a range of results.
For this demonstration, I’ll be using Cornelius from my favorite line of action figures, NECA’s classic Planet of the Apes series.
All of the following photos were taken of the same figure in the same position. The only change was the position of the camera.
The slightest shift of the camera can change the expression on the figure. Obviously, the figure hasn’t moved — it’s eyes and mouth haven’t changed — but its expression has!
Rotate around the figure to see how the light shifts and what sort of effect you can get.
in addition to checking out the view from the sides, shoot from up high and down low.
NECA’s figures are so detailed, you can go in for an extreme close-up.
If you want to move beyond the typical product shot with your photography, experiment with your camera placement, and see the different results you can get. You are the director, and these small figures are your actors, so what story do you want them to tell?
In my next article, I’ll show you how to spice up the backgrounds of your photos.