Behind the Scenes With a Professional Toy Photographer

With more than 70,000 followers on Instagram, Johnny Wu has carved something of a niche: photographing action figures in his home studio to the extent that they look like screengrabs from a movie. In this video, we get a behind-the-scenes look into how he creates his images.

The level of detail and the use of special effects makes Wu’s photography stand out, from rain and fog to small explosions. He also relies heavily on his knowledge of small studio lighting — particularly Lume Cube lights for whom he is an ambassador — to create a dramatic feel, bringing the action figures and toys to life.

For many photographers, it’s a love of cameras and image-making generally that leads to career in photography. Wu, however, came to photography through his passion for a particular hobby. It was having built up a collection of figures that led him towards capturing them on camera, and then learning how best to shoot them as a process of research and a degree of trial and error that, as he acknowledges, is still a part of his workflow.

Perhaps most impressive is the cinematic feel of his work, mostly through the shallow depth of field that creates loads of bokeh, and occasional lens flares that give a hint of J.J. Abrams. Be sure to check out more of Wu's photographs on Instagram.

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Studio 403's picture

Good Post, notable. I have a toy ambulance given to me, Been thinking how I might shoot this. Think I will give it a go . Inspired. Thanks FS.

Joe Black's picture

Fantastic work. His Instagram is astonishing. The YouTube channel has a few other videos for him witch I recommend seeing.