As much as we encourage photographers to partake in our themed challenges we do also love to see natural shoots taking place to really get an understanding of the person behind the lens unhindered. This exclusive shoot comes from 14 year old Brendan Elkins and showcases a recent on-location series featuring a very diverse range of imagery from the Star Wars license and really shows his already considerable skill-set which is only going to grow as he develops his own flavour of photography.
“Hi, I’m Brendan Elkins, a 14 year old photographer from Denver, Colorado. I started toy photography a little over a year ago, with my phone, and a single stormtrooper doing dumb things around the house, like playing hide and seek or something. I started using a DSLR camera back in October of 2016, which then led to me using practical effects about a month later. That’s when my photography really blew up.
Since then, my page has been growing quite fast and I was lucky enough to talk to the team at Exclu Collective about my photography. I recently went out on an exclusive shoot, so you guys can see and understand what I do to produce my pictures. In this shoot, much like almost all my other shoots, I went down to two different locations.
First, I went down to an open space that was right by my house to capture the frost from our previous day’s big freeze. I placed my more photogenic figures among the bushes and small plants that were frozen over so I could get some frosty ice land shots, my favorite being my Boba Fett figure looking and holding a flower that was covered with ice. From there, I went over to one of the various sand patches that this particular place had to offer. I placed my figs in an area and position that you couldn’t see the frost, to make a sandy warzone area. I placed three death troopers in a battle pose, and set my camera. I put my camera on my mini tripod and put it about a third of a meter away from the setup. I then set my camera to take a picture after ten seconds. I counted ten seconds, and right as it took the picture, I kicked sand and dirt into the shot to simulate an explosion effect. It took about four tries, but I finally got a picture that I was happy with and moved on to the next location.
I walked about ten minutes to a swampy area with all my figs and my camera. I then set up my three death troopers in a small pond that they could stand up in without going beneath the water. I went about 2 meters away, layed on the ground to get a low angle, and snapped a couple of photos of them in the water. I didn’t use any effects for this shot, just trying to focus in on the troopers and the reflections on the water. Even though it was cloudy, I set my camera to to the sunset lighting setting, so I could pick up a goldish color and warm temperature on the photo. I then used that same pond at a different angle to create a rain effect with a handful of imperial forces walking through it. Similarly to my death trooper action shot that I mentioned previously, I set my camera on my mini tripod and dropped a rock into the water the second before the pictures were taken, so the drops of water from the splash landed on the figures as if it were raining on them.
My final shot for this series of photos is another action shot. But this time the troopers are on a small hill of red sand. I layed down on the slope of the hill and set my tripod to get a really low angle shot, so I could pick up a better sense of scale, to make them look like real people. Once again, I kicked a bunch of dirt into the shot once my camera took the photo. When I was looking at the photo, I noticed something. The red sand that was being kicked looked as if a grenade had exploded right out side the shot. I used a simple app on my phone to add a small orange glow and a little bit of smoke at the origin of the kick to simulate the glow of the fire.
Behind The Scenes
That pretty much sums up my creative process for taking some pictures. Again, thanks to Exclu Collective for giving me the chance to share this, and thanks to you guys who read this whole thing. It means a lot!” – Brendan Elkins
A huge thank you to Brendan for sharing this exclusive shoot with us as its great to see a young photographer really in their prime on a natural project so keep up the great work. Be sure to head on over to Brendan’s Instagram portfolio @sixinchpics and show your support by leaving a comment below to discuss the feature.