I read about this interesting article from PetaPixel about how light plays a major role in photography and having high-end gears always comes secondary after skills. I find it really interesting and it applies as well in toy photography! I'll be posting a two part series on my own take that hopefully will somehow help my fellow toy photographers grasp the same idea for their figure photos. This first part should be the basics.
Taking what I read as an example, I applied the simple light principle that you should initially learn to how to 'play' with light in your photos. Play, in my case, would mean you need to be more imaginative in your shots. Visualize how the light would look on your shots before you press that shutter. Teach yourself how to control it as much as possible.
Here's an SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot of Nendoroid Elsa on my PC table. I'm using a Canon 600D with 50mm 1.8 lens and the settings are 1/100 f/3.2 IS0400.
Now here comes the part where you need to 'play' with light. The light is coming from the window at the back so I positioned the figure, facing back from the light so she wouldn't get too washed out. I wanted to create a subtle and soft feel for this photo; so I visualized it and used the light to create that feel.
Here's a non-conventional tool that helped me achieve this simple shot, a roll of tissue paper. It helped bounced the light back on Elsa so she would appear all lit up! XD You see, if you learn how to play with light, you'll already know how to work around it whenever you have a chance. You will know where the light will fall on the subject, how to bounce it and how you'll use it for your photos.
Lastly, I could never stress how important it is to master your skills first. You may have the best gears but without skill, it would mean nothing. I have been taking photos since 2010 and I admit there are still a LOT of stuff that I need to learn--it's a never ending process! Whether these skills mean how to use your camera properly or learning how to enhance your figure photos; mastering these skills takes time, but it doesn't hurt to take baby steps to make it all happen. :)
Use all the skills that you have to achieve what you want in your figure photos. Given that I'm working in the design industry, I use my editing skills to enhance my photos. Through editing, I like adding some visual appeal to my photos to make it look more vibrant and life-like!
For my SOOC shot of Elsa I think it already looks good on its own, but I still wanted more. I wanted to enhance it so I gave it some warmth and voila! She looks all too warm and summer-y LOL.
So in general, it's all about how we look and play with light in our photographs to get the outcome that we wanted. With your gears and skills as tools, you will be able to capture light in its most beautiful form for all your figure photos. ;)
I will be posting a few samples, maybe something really simple on how I play with light on my figure photos. :)