Toy model photography

Toy model photography

How to do toy model photography by getting creative without a lot of fancy equipment. 

First thing was to create a proper setting. I needed a surface to put my model on and some kind of background. I tried my kitchen table first but I had difficulties with the background. I looked around and found one of my brown leather kitchen chairs the better choice and placed it in front of the window with the light coming from the left. I put the model on the chair and I was off to a good start. But I still was not happy with the surface. I wanted something more special.

Click on the images to enlarge

None of the options had the result I was hoping for. And then I had an idea, why not try using water to make it appear as if the motorcycle is parked on a wet street. Hopefully the water would also provide some reflections. Very eager I dribbled some water on my chair, completely forgetting the slanted seating area. So the first effect I produced was a wet floor. After some mild cursing and cleaning I tried it again, this time with less water and a cloth to prevent a mess. I tried different water patterns until I found one I liked and I even used some water on the back of the chair. Then I had to place the model quickly since the water kept running down the chair and drying up in the front. That was the tricky part, because the thing kept falling because of the tiny stand that was holding it.

With the camera mounted on a tripod I took my first picture. The lighting needed some improving, so I went for my flash and faced it above the chair on a low setting. That still turned out to be to much, so I turned the flash towards the ceiling and turned the camera in self timer mode (10sec). That way I could use a reflector to redirect the light from the flash the way I wanted. It took a long time to get it right, I had to reapply the water a couple of times and get the model in the right position again. In the last step I transformed the photograph into a monochrome with a sepia tone to make the motorcycle appear even less like a toy.

  Here is a list of all the materials I used for the final shot:

  • my brown leather kitchen chair as surface and background

  • the model of a Ducati Motorcycle as my subject

  • camera (ISO 200, 1 sec, ƒ5.6, 104 mm)

  • a tripod 

  • a reflector

  • shoe mount flash

The final Image
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