Action Figure Photography 101: Learning The Basics About This Fun Artform

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Photography has become such a huge hobby over the past couple of decades, especially when digital cameras started popping all over the market. Thanks to these point-and-shoot technological marvels, a lot of people have become enthusiasts in this visual art form.

The number of professional photographers increased significantly compared to what the ‘80s and ‘90s had. Amateur photographers far outnumber professionals when high-resolution phone cameras came out. Proof of this is Instagram’s popularity.

Although it took a few years for the industry to get to where it is today, it seems as if the growth was sudden — the type that you didn’t really pay attention to until one day you found yourself surrounded by photographers in real life and in social media.

Marketing for photographers and photography courses was intensified and widespread. A lot of different equipment and accessories flooded the market. Photography, to say the least, has never been better.

A lot of people incorporated their interests and passions into the hobby. Some of them liked taking photos of nature and wildlife. Others focused on showcasing a luxurious and glamorous lifestyle. Some worked with domestic animals.

And then there are the geeky photographers who turned their attention and creativity to cosplay and toy photography.

What is action figure photography?

Action figure photography is another branch of toy photography that focuses solely on action figures. Toy lines such as Transformers, Fortnite, Action Force (better known as G.I. Joe in other parts of the world), Marvel Legends, Roblox, and even Legos are some examples of action figures that most photographers from this genre use.

What gear do I need to get started?

As mentioned earlier, photography is a relatively easy hobby to get into now because of the almost limitless access to technology. You can use a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera or a smartphone, especially now that the latest smartphones have great front and backside cameras installed.

Both the DSLR cam and the smartphone have their advantages over the other. A DSLR can take higher quality pictures that make your subjects — or in this case, toys — appear lifelike. A camera phone, on the other hand, is handy and can be used to immediately upload your pics on the web without the need to download the files to your computer first.

A tripod also comes in handy to keep the cam steady, minimizing the chances of blurred shots. A lightbox or any other light source (for indoor and night shots) is also helpful to have.

But even if you don’t have all the others and the only equipment you have is your smartphone, you’re good to go.

What are some tips and tricks for beginners that can help me get started?

taking a photo

Tell a story with your toys.

The most amazing toy photos are ones that tell a story. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Set your toys up to tell a story or to give off a sense of drama that will resonate with your viewers.

Put the “action” in action figure photography.

If you’re taking photos of action figures, they will look more dynamic when they are posed in ways that convey motion and a sense of drama. While vanilla poses are good for portraits, they make rather bland selections when it comes to action figures.

Learn about lighting.

Lighting is very important in photography. It is as important as composition. The best lighting conditions are still provided by natural sunlight. This means that outdoor shoots tend to be more effective. If you choose to do an indoor shoot, you need to have enough lighting equipment for your work. Learn more about photography and proper lighting here.

Pick the right angle.

Aside from having the right lighting, getting the right angle for a shot can give your photo a sense of realism and drama. Angles, when employed properly, can give you some of the most stunning photos.

Experiment a lot.

The beautiful thing about this art form is that there is no solid set of rules. Every artist has a different approach, and sometimes, they even bend their own unwritten rules to come up with new stuff. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it works for you, great! If it doesn’t, experiment some more. Don’t stop learning.

Check out other people’s work.

If you still don’t know where to start, perhaps a little inspiration is what you need. Check out other artists’ work on Instagram or in Facebook toy photography groups. Ask them questions. In most cases, these photographers are willing to share some tips and tricks.

Have lots of fun.

Lastly, enjoy what you’re doing. As an adult, you are given another chance to play with toys and at the same time, let out some of that creativity. This is why a lot of adults are into toy photography. They get to play and be like children once again, if only for a couple of hours, and they’re able to express themselves artistically.

Toy photography is a great form of visual art that both children and adults will enjoy. We hope you enjoyed this little feature.

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