It’s amazing how the background of a picture can take a photo from meh to magnificent! It’s not difficult to achieve some really exciting results using items you can find laying around the house.
If you want your subject to really pop out, use a background color from the opposite side of the color wheel. Greedo is green, so an orange sheet of paper certainly makes him stand out more than a green backdrop.
That “sand dune” I used in my previous post is actually just a crumpled up paper bag. The white “sky” is where the bag ended and the lightbox ceiling met.
Turn an empty coffee can on its side and you might be surprised at the result.
For a colorful backdrop, use some toys! For this photo of the Skylander, Pop Fizz, I put some colorful plastic balls in a ziplock bag, which created a colorful, trippy backdrop. When you use a low depth of field, the items in the background will be blurry, while the subject close to the camera lens will be in sharp focus.
Tin foil can result in some exciting effects, as light gets reflected in unplanned ways.
A trip to the garbage can resulted in bubble wrap and a rubber hose — and a pretty fun result!
And speaking of garbage, even a black trash bag can look good!
As you can see, just about anything can be used for a backdrop when you photograph your action figures. Give it a try and let me know what works for you!
cody mix says
These look great!
John Morey says
Excellent article! Sometimes my backdrops really are just random objects using that kind of perspective, though most of the time theya re cobbled together from various toy dioramas:
Wow, you take some great photos — those Predators! Awesome.
I’d love to see your lighting setup. Are you using LED lights?
Sometimes, yeah. I actually use my iPhone’s screen often – when it’s all white, it is a strong, but not overwhelming light source for mini figures.
George (GI Jigsaw) says
Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.
The Rebel says
Great tips Brian! One must never underestimate the power of simple everyday items as fodders/background for your action figure photography!
Great article. You know, I stumbled onto your site years ago when I was looking for toy photography. Nice to see you are getting back to it. If you want to talk about simple backgrounds, check this out.
Both were done sitting in front of my laptop using my iPhone and a LED flashlight. However, I really like your suggestions in this article. Gonna try something tonight.
Excellent! I’ve seen some people use their iPad screen as backgrounds, opening up unlimited possibilities. I’m going to have to try that!
Dex1138 (@Dex1138) says
I’ve used my monitor for backdrops to nice effect
Nice! I definitely need to give this a try!
Fantastic article. This is the best one yet of the series, Brian. Some brilliant ideas there for cool backgrounds. I love the Iron Man one and the Boba Fett one.
Howie Decker says
This made me ridiculously happy. Excellent information, totally spoken in a way any level of photographer could easily understand. Great article, Brian 🙂
Thanks Laura! 🙂
Thank you for this blog – it’s fantastic! I’ve only just started dabbling in this sort of thing and have stuck to white backgrounds. Looks clean but is dull. This has definitely put a new perspective on things 🙂