It all started when...
I begin shooting toy photography over a year ago in my sons bedroom. First, I started shooting his diverse collection of Disney Cars, Transformers and Justice League heroes but later found a unique connection with Lego. Minifigures quickly became my drug of choice. I think the size and detail of the Lego minifig combined with an assortment of highly detailed vehicles from Star Wars and Marvel lent themselves extremely well to macro toy photography. The fit was so well in fact that I soon purchased a macro lens and never looked back.
Over that year I shot well over six hundred Lego toy photos. Most of which shot outdoors in numerous locations around my home which included but not limited to: construction sites, nature trails, rail road tracks, parking lots and of course my back yard. It wasn't just the obscure locations that make the photos interesting but how each minifigure played off the environment. Iron Man looked great next to giant machinery and a werewolf minifig fit perfectly in the woods...It was the perfect combination. Some of my other favorite minifigures included: Unikitty, Ultron, Stormtroopers, tiki guy, Emmit and The Lone Ranger, just to name a few.
I very quickly became obsessed shooting that my collection of minifigs grew at a blistering pace. I felt that If I didn't shoot at least one or two series a week I was getting lazy. This obsession to shoot added new content quickly to my photography gallery but also helped me develop as a photographer. I started to experiment with lighting and different lenses, materials and textures. Amazon and B and H photo were my new best friends. I also set aside a budge for what I would spend on new toys and what to save for camera gear.
More importantly I realized that If I was going to continue and grow as an artist I would need to start purchasing larger Lego sets. I've always loved Lego every since I was a little kid and Building them was great fun. However shooting them on a macro level was my next challenge. Minifigures were easy. I had been doing this with ease for a year but shooting a larger, licensed Lego set was intimidating. It still is not as easy as it looks. Lighting, sharpness, blocking are all much simpler when it's only one minifig but to add a TIE fighter or even Kylo Ren's Imperial Shuttle to the equation and things can start to get messy. My first attempts were nothing to write home about. It's still the most challenging part of macro photography for me and something I continuously try to improve upon every day.
I also realized to improve as an artist I would need to setup a small photography studio. As many of these larger sets need a large space to live in. There are many reasons why this was important. First, I could shoot any time of the day, any day of the week. If the studio is in my home, then I wouldn't have to look for new locations and be limited to shooting on weekends. Second, I would have complete control over lighting. Shooting outdoors your always chasing or fighting with the light. You may have to move a few inches or several yards to get the perfect, diffused light you want. In a studio you set it and forget it. Finally, a studio provides a great place to create an environment. If i want a sandy environment outdoors you have to find it. In a studio you simply make it. It's whatever you want it to be. It’s about creating something that will work with the toys and camera not the other way around.
More to come…