El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

Lilith (2)

4:37 PM by , under


I'm just going to come out and say it. Whoever is the guy that takes the photographs for McFarlane toys? I want your job. I'm sure you have loads of other duties and responsibilities around the office, but watch your back. I make a mean cup of coffee and I'm not completely useless in front of a copier, either. I'm coming for you, baby!

That brings us to today's photo of Lilith. I've been watching the 365 Days video podcast and it's made me think about how I approach my toy portraits. Chris Maverick has a fantastic tutorial about his lighting set up and I really wanted to try and apply some of his techniques to my toy photos.

My setup wasn't all that elaborate, but I built a reflector out of aluminum foil to help balance out the shadows and bring the whole figure a much richer color and clarity. I just bounced a regular pocket flashlight off the reflector and clicked the shutter. It took a couple of tries, but I'm really, really pleased with how it looks so far. Taking it into Photoshop, I only played with the contrast a little and added the glow for the painted look that I like so much, and Save As.

Now if I could only shoot people like this!

Four score and EXIF years ago:

Camera: Fujifilm FinePixS2Pro
Exposure: 0.333 sec (1/3)
Aperture: f/1.8
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: -1 EV

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:01:16 18:29:51
Tag::TIFF::0x882A: -6, -6
Exposure Program: Normal
Date and Time (Original): 2008:01:16 18:17:39
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:01:16 18:17:39
Shutter Speed: 1584963/1000000
Brightness: -266/100
Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
Color Space: Uncalibrated
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 630 dpc
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 630 dpc
Sensing Method: One-chip colour area sensor
Exposure Mode: Auto bracket
Focal Length In 35mm Film: 75
Saturation: High saturation
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 1211 pixels
Image Height: 2022 pixels

Be good,

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2 Reply to "Lilith"

april on January 17, 2008 at 5:22 AM

i really really like how this turned out-- the lighing is fantastic! it has a very nice even tone about it.
great job! (yes, send your resume to mcfarland!!)


Mav on January 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM

I'm glad we could be of help.

If you're doing a lot of toy photography, I'd really like to recommend you look into building a "macro studio." I have other friends into toy photography and they've been really happy with the results. Instructions on how to build one for about $10 worth of parts can be found here:


the strobist tends to use flashes for his photography. If you don't have an off camera flash, then you can always use one of the $5 shop lights I recommended in the podcast for constant lighting. You can get them at most hardware stores.