It’s always intriguing to hear directly from a photographer in regards to their favourite images so we continue our series of image breakdowns as we take a closer look at the top picks of photographer Tham Ying Keet as he share’s his favourite images alongside some exclusive shots from his latest shoot.
I was so excited when I was approached by Jack from The Exclu collective for an analysis feature on some of my favourite pictures. Going through my gallery is like picking out songs for my greatest hits album. I started out in Toy Photography with just my iPhone 6 as my main camera for taking my pictures. As I go along, I thought that if I wanted to do this seriously I should get myself a DSLR camera.
Luke and Han
The first picture that I want to share with you guys is a shot which brought a lot of attention to my account. Until today, it remains as one of my favourites. It was shot with my iPhone 6.
I got myself a customised Episode 7 Luke Skywalker head-sculpt from @oldboy_ctts. It was a very beautiful head-sculpt and the idea behind this scene was to have Han & Luke fighting alongside each other after all these years. It was a cool idea which I guessed many Star Wars fans would’ve wanted to see in The Force Awakens but sadly it did not materialise. I was one of them! Hence, I decided to setup this scene for myself and many of the fans out there.It had Luke dispensing off some First Order Stormtroopers with his lightsaber and Force push. Old Han would be doing what he does best with his blaster.
I took the shot with the iPhone at a low angle which gave the scene an epic lightsaber battle feel to it. Lighting was fairly simple, 2 LED desk lamps and my iPad. Lighting for Luke’s lightsaber was from my iPad. The lightsaber and blaster effects were created with LensFX, an iOS app which I’m still using for all my FX shots. A Mafex stand was used for the flying Stormtrooper which I carefully hid behind some boxes that came with the diorama. Post editing was done on the iOS Camera + app (the picture was also taken with this app) and also Snapseed.
Return Of The Jedi
One of my favourite Toy Photographer is Jason Yang or better known by his IG name @workmoreorless. I was really impressed with his digirama technique and was eager to try it myself. What digirama means is that we use a monitor as a backdrop. Using a monitor as a background can be a tricky affair. It’s a hit and miss tactic for me but the image for the background worked really well for me for the following shot.
This shot was based on the father and son duel in the Return Of The Jedi and remains as one of my favourite scenes from the movie. I had the usual lighting setup with 3 LED lamps for this shot. One from the top and one each on the left and right. A black acrylic board as my flooring and an image of the Emperor’s throne for the background. It’s a fairly simple setup. The usual apps were utilised for the shot :- Camera +, Snapseed and LensFX. As you all may know by now, I love setting up these lightsaber scenes.
Troopers On Alert
My next piece would be a group shot. Looks fairly simple, right? To be honest, this was one of the toughest shot to set up. The troopers kept falling down on me! I don’t know how guys like @darthranzacar and @tuskenmilkbar takes such great pictures of Stormtroopers!
This shot was inspired by one of the pictures in the Star Wars Rogue One – The Ultimate Visual Guide. It took me more than an hour to take the perfect shot as the figures kept falling down and I had to line them up again. To make matters worse, even the Spacewalls kept falling down! Another challenge of doing this group shot was the posing of the troopers. I wanted to pose them as natural as they can be, I wanted them to be running in sync, military style. I was quite happy with the end result. I shot this in Manual mode with my Canon Eos Rebel T6 with a 55mm kit lens. The aperture was set at F5.6, shutter speed was 1/25, ISO at 400 and focal point at 55mm. Post editing was done with Lightroom and Snapseed on my iPad.
I’m a big fan of movies and Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one of my all time favourite sci-fi action movie. I was introduced to the NECA line of action figures by a good buddy of mine Rohazmi, also known as @az_7r on IG. I fell in love with this line of figures immediately, they may not have the best articulations as compared to the Japanese imports but the paint job on these figures are top notch, perfect for Toy Photography!
I recently acquired the T1000 Motorcycle Cop and was blown away by the sculpting and paint job on the figure. The setup for the shot was a fairly simple one, I used a poster board as a background and a 1:12 scale Harley Davidson as a prop for the figure. Now the figure doesn’t fit on the bike as it is in 1:10 scale. Hence, I had to use a bit of a forced perspective to get the right shot. I positioned the bike near to my camera while the figure was standing further away from the bike.
I had an LED light shining from the bottom of the figure to give it a more drama/suspense feel to the shot. This is a Terminator after all! He has to look deadly and terrifying. I also place my LED lamps at the back of the figure, by the side and also a light shining on the bike. The general rule for me, if I were doing these shots is to not have your lightings shining directly at the background, whereby you create unnecessary shadows on the poster board. This is definitely one of my favourite shots and I was very pleased with the end results.Camera settings were :- aperture was set at F5.6, shutter speed was 1/25, ISO at 400 and focal point at 55mm. Post editing was done with Lightroom and Snapseed on my iPad.
The Rebel Pt 1
This is the first of a 2 piece feature which I’ve decided to make it exclusively for The Exclu Collective. I will post them eventually on my page over at Instagram.
I’ve been a fan of the Star Wars Rebels animated series. I decided to shine the spotlight on Kanan Jarrus. Hasbro did a great job on this Black Series figure. My only gripe with it is that it doesn’t come with an ab crunch unlike all the rest of the male figures from the Black Series line. The first shot from this 2 part series has him taking out a bunch of Stormtroopers with his lightsaber. Yes, it’s lightsaber action again guys! I used my Spacewalls as backdrop for this shot.
I had my LED lights shining from above the figures for this shot and another shining from the side. One smaller LED light shining slightly at Kanan and the Stormtrooper but not at the Spacewalls.
The Rebel Pt 2
The final shot is the aftermath of the battle where we have Kanan standing over the dead bodies of the Stormtroopers. I have 2 LED lamps shining at the figure from both sides. Another blue LED light to add some effects on the lightsaber which I also did on the first shot. I edited the pictures with Lightroom and Snapseed. As for the lightsaber and sparks, I used LensFX for them.The aperture was set at F5.6, shutter speed was 1/25, ISO at 400 and focal point at 55mm. Taking Star Wars pictures will always be my first choice when it comes to Toy Photography but I have recently been exposing myself to other line of figures like Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, NECA Toys and also Japanese imports like SHF Figurarts and Mafex.
Once again I would like to thank The Exclu Collective for giving me the chance to share some of my work with you guys. Feel free to hit me up with any questions over at Instagram through @yingkeet0675
A huge thank you to Tham for putting so much effort into this image break series for us exclusively here on exclucollective.com. It’s such an amazing and cohesive series of shots that really highlight his strengths as a photographer and we cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for Tham so be so to head over to his page and stay up-to-date on all his latest shoot this year.