Four Ways For Fantastic Figure Photos With Just a Smartphone!

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The subjects of these photographs are Phat!’s Goblin Slayer figures Cow Girl and High Elf Archer. Both are currently available for pre-order on the TOM Shop.

The photos were taken with a smartphone in a park near the TOM office. No specialist equipment was used, nor were any apps with special processing techniques. With a few simple tips, you too can take fantastic photos just with your smartphone!

Changing the subject for a minute, why do you buy figures? There are so many things you can do with them – putting them out on display, keeping them carefully preserved in their boxes, but don’t you want to have a little more fun seeing as you went to the trouble of buying them?

All you need are your figures and a smartphone with a camera. The place to do it is anywhere you are. To be honest, anywhere is fine. Now, there are four important points to bear in mind – so let’s get going!

All photos in this article were taken with an iPhone 6 and edited in the Photos app.

1. Change the Scene

Once you’ve decided on the figure you want to photograph, it’s time to start searching for a setting. The figures we’re going to use for the article are Cow Girl and High Elf Archer so we tried to recreate the world of Goblin Slayer.

The Goblin Slayer universe:
– JRPG-style fantasy world buildings
– The natural world – fields, forests, caves etc
– The existence of magic but no mechanisation
So, for Cow Girl we went with a farm scene in the suburbs near where I live. For the High Elf Archer, we chose the forest and a dungeon adventure scene.

However, it was difficult to eliminate concrete walls and glass fronted buildings from the background (this is Tokyo, after all). So, Point 1 is to change the world around you.

Just a normal park at first glance.

Could we make a regular lawn look like fields on a farm? Could we make trees on the side of a road look like dungeons and forests?

Look around you and see if there’s anything you could use as a background for photographs. You’re photographing figures, not full size humans, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something you can use.

This patch of grass in the park has transformed into Cow Girl’s farm!

2. Kneel Before Your Figures

So, you’ve found your prime location. Now you need to set your figures. Kneel down in front of them. You might think we’ve gone mad but just keep quiet and try it. Squat down and look at your figures so you’re staring them right in the eye.

Be careful of the area around you when you’re getting down to look at your figures.

This is the most important point when you’re photographing your figures. If you can photograph your figures from their eye line, you can give them more character and reality. Don’t look down on your figures like a god, get down on your hands and knees to look at them from all angles so you can really become a part of the figure’s world.

You can get amazing results just from crouching down – just some otaku world common sense.

3. Figures Are Living Beings, But Also “Things”

Once you’ve found your figure’s eye line, it’s time to get your phone out. Activate the camera and look at the screen. It might take some time to get used to, but move the camera around until you line it up with the figure’s eye line. You need to think of the figure as a living being. Try to gaze into the figure’s eyes while remembering that they are active within the screen.

You’ll feel like you’ve made friends with your figure when your eyes meet.

This is where people start to run into trouble. There’s a building in shot, or the lighting is bad, and so on. These are things which tend to happen when you’re shooting outdoors.

With figures you don’t need to worry so much. They’re much lighter than people and you can easily carry them around by hand. In this respect, they are “things” and you are free to move them.

You can take fantastic photos with very little effort.
The figure is leaning back slightly.

In this photo, for example, you can see people in the background. By taking the photo from above, the rest of the background becomes a stone wall.

4. Crop Out the Rest of the World

When everything’s ready, take the shot. This is a completely normal, 21st century scene but the rectangular screen on your smartphone has turned it into the world of Goblin Slayer. Put your heart and soul into it and press the shutter button. Even if it’s no good, your smartphone has plenty of charge and storage space so you can try again as many times as you want.

Now, try capturing the world of the characters with your own hands.

Just press the shutter button!

How did you go? You just tried to take a photo using nothing but the most basic of tools and your everyday environment.

If you wanted to take a photo of a cyberpunk character, you could try taking it at downtown at night.
If you wanted to take a photo of a beautiful princess, why not try using one of your mother’s dresses as a castle curtain?
If you want more reality, take your figures away with you on a trip and challenge yourself creating a mini diorama for them.

If you’re not really satisfied with the lens quality of your smartphone, try it out with a full scale camera. It will be much more fun. You’ll be able to create photos like the ones below much more easily than you think.

*The two photos below weren’t taken with a smartphone but with a single lens reflex digital camera and clip on flash.

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