How to Photograph Action Figures

In the age of digital cameras and Photoshop, just about anyone can take a good photograph. However, some things make a truly great photo, regardless of the subject matter. In this blog post, we will explore How to Photograph Action Figures using some simple tips and tricks. So whether you’re a seasoned photography pro or just starting, read on for some helpful pointers!

Is an SLR camera necessary to take professional photos of action figures?

You don't even need an SLR camera to take great photos of action figures--a simple, inexpensive digital will suffice. I use a Sony RX100 II that I bought a few years ago and the colors still look amazing; it's outlasted so many other cameras.

I feel incredibly happy when I photograph action figures with a movable viewfinder frame because I can observe details that would otherwise be hidden.
photographing Figures are especially exciting to me because they offer a unique perspective that allows me to capture the inner world of an object in extreme detail. When I can do this, the object comes alive and takes on a life of its own- which is what we usually refer to as "living".

I take a more personal approach with each product photography project by framing the shots and editing them to create a unique environment that matches the item being photographed. This allows customers to feel like they are transported into the world of the figure, even if it is something as small as a figurine.

Not only is shooting your action figures a great way to show off your artwork, it can also turn them into soldiers with meaning and purpose. Use your camera to record their impressive battles and share the footage with your friends.

How to Photograph action figures in indoor

First, we set the scene by creating a shooting environment. We use a Frosted PVC Backdrop in light and dark colors to serve as the background for shooting different action figures. Then, we add a table lamp and digital camera (or phone) to complete the set-up.
How to Photograph Action Figures
By choosing a background paper with minimal distractions, the action figures' picture will look cleaner and more impactful.

When shooting indoors, you need to be careful of blurriness because the light is more concentrated and weak. If there's no tripod available, use surrounding objects like books or a box to stabilize the camera.

In addition, the position of the light source is also the key to the effect of the picture, different positions of the light source on the face of the figure will reflect different character traits. Of course, it depends on your preference.

The most common way to light a room is with a light source in the front. However, this can affect the performance of figures' in the middle of the range. To get the best effect, it is important to assess what works best for your specific situation.

When the light source is from the side, your action figures' expressions are very clear. When the light source is from bottom to top, there is a stronger sense of tension and dynamics.
A light source in the front
A light source from the side
A light source from the bottom

How to Photograph action figures in outdoor

If you're going to shoot scenes outdoors, bring more than one or two figures with you. If any children happen to take your figures away as dolls, it will not be a good situation.

First, use a bracket to secure a few items. Next, pack everything into the toolbox so it's all snug and secure. Finally, you're ready to go!
shooting outdoor
The best time to shoot is usually 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, although sunny days are the best. Location choice is generally based on the realism of the setting – more realistic locations like parks, abandoned railroads, riversides, seashores, lakesides, or wilderness areas are often better suited. In short – try to pick a location that you think would be suitable for a soldier on active duty.
shooting outdoor_2
Outdoors, shooting conditions are more unpredictable than indoors because of constantly changing variables such as light and weather. The main outdoor light source is the sun, which is constantly moving across the sky. So your soldiers must always be aware of the sun's position and make sure they don't turn their backs on it unless they want a special backlight effect. I typically shoot photos at 10:00 and 15:00 because the sunlight is more natural then.
shooting outdoor_3
The front light shot is when an objector person is illuminated by a light source, making them look more favorable.
The front light shot
The backlight shot adds beautiful backlighting to your photos, making them pop and stand out.
back light
This photo was taken at sunset, creating a different mood. the light isn't ideal for photography at this time of day, so you have to be extra careful not to move the camera.

The ratio of action figures to their surroundings must be controlled when you go out-takes.

This way, they can ensure that figures are well equipped to handle any situation.
If the surrounding environment is too vast, you need to take care, not to ~ attempt to make the background appear further away from the subject.

Sometimes you can hold the figure in your hand when you want to especially emphasize the background--the general pose looks like this.
This is the photo I took with one hand holding the figure and the other camera. Remember to crop out the hand in post-production.

The final tip for landscape photography is to control the spatial deep.

You can look up the definition of spatial deep online, but in short, it's how much of your photo is in focus. I've included two pictures below to better explain.

The point is to make the figures and background appear as if there's a sense of space between them. You can stand back and use a telephoto lens so that the effect will be that the background is gray and blurry, while the subject appears clear. The following chart (one of their favorites) helped me visualize it.
spatial deep

What is the best angle to photograph an object from?

For example, in the following three pictures, the first is a top view, the second is a flat view (the lens is aimed at the soldier's knees), and the third is a look up. You cannot use the "eyes of giants" to see from this perspective. The first shot of the soldier figure seems small and delicate, almost like a toy. The third shot of the soldier figure is the tallest, with a stronger sense of reality and more beautiful proportions. This is because your eyes are in line with the soldier, acting as a "photographer in the world of figures."
Top View
Top View
Flast View
Flast View
Elevation view
Elevation view


Now that you’ve read our tips on how to take great action figure photos, put them into practice and see for yourself how easy it can be to up your photography game! And if you want to explore other interesting subjects for photographs, check out our blog post on beginner still life photography ideas.

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