Photo-Setup guide for your figures!

Today i would like to show you my photography-setup, with some example-pics.

First, this is my gear, and I strongly recommend, you get at least 1 external strobe for yourself!

The Background:

Black/White/Grey strong and matte Paper

OR any other Background you like!

Try to avoid any corners, be sure that the paper is bigger than your figure and you don’t get any open spots when you look through the lens of your camera. It looks best to place the paper curved, like in the example pics.

The Camera:

Nikon D750 DSLR and a Nikon Nikkor 24-85mm 1.35 – 4.5 lens.

Any other good quality Cam with the possibility to use an external flash light OR to manually adjust your exposure time will do. I will explain this later. You can also use mirrorless-systems. Be sure to use some higher focal length like 70mm or 85mm, or even more.

The Strobes:

1x Nikon SB700 External Strobe

1x YongNuo Speedlite YN650III External Strobe

2x YongNuo Wireless Strobe Trigger (optional)

YongNuo Gear is pretty cheap compared to original Canon or Nikon stuff, and i can highly recommend this strobe. I use it in professional photography for years now and never had any problems! It also has an integrated wireless receiver for usage with their Wireless Triggers, so check it out if you can get a hold on some cheap YongNuo strobes around somewhere :wink:


You can get along with only 1 external Strobe, and create pics similar to this:

But if you want good lightning and detail in both sides, you will need 2 Strobes. Another option would be, if you just want to experiment with it and you don´t want to buy external strobes:

Use 2 strong LED Lamps, or something similar! Experiment with the light-positions, as seen in the picture. The Strobe-Positions are a good starting point. You will need to use long shutter times, like half a second or even more, to get the effect. You will also need a very dark room to get the desired effect, keep that in mind when using long exposure and normal LED Lamps and not strobes!

You can also try to place one strobe/light slightly behind the figure to shine “from the back”, so you get a nice highlight on the contours of the figure.

This one is an example of using only 1 strobe.


You will realize that the other side is kinda dark. You can try to light it up with either to use another static Light Source, if you don´t have another external strobe. OR you could try to do one shot, place the strobe on the other side, and do another shot. Then you can try to blend both photos in photoshop, but you will need an additional tripod for the camera for this technique and photoshop-skills…this is beyond this guide for now ^^

This is an example of using 2 strobes, left and right placed like in the setup-pics above:

Here you can see that everything is very well lit.

Photo-Settings:

I mostly use low ISO (100-200), mid-closed aperture (f10 –f15), and with strobes, times around 1/200. Without strobes and only LED-Lamps you need to experiment with long exposure to create similar effects!

Check your white balance settings to reflect real life condition and the look you want to achive. A good starting point is something around 4000-5500k.

Use low strobe intensity. I needed to reduce the output to the weakest output (1/128 or 1/64) or played around with the distance from strobe to figure to get the desired effect.

Be sure to read the manual of your external strobes and how the get triggered, I can´t explain this as every strobe and brand is different, so you will need to google this for your self.

Additional Tips:

Try to get the poses as natural as possible, use real photo´s as a reference if you just start with this kind of photography.

Be sure you get everything in place, clean up dust, check equipment hanging too loose or unnaturally, etc.

Once you get the hang on it, the setup is quickly build and you can do a shooting session with your new kitbash in no time!

Enjoy it and don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work out in the first time. Come here and ask me question´s if you get stuck, I am happy to help J

If you think you can add something, please tell me, I am happy to expand this guide! I am sure I missed some parts ^^

9 Likes

Very nice, thanks for the generous toot, CG138,

Thank you for a generous guide!

THX for sharing your feedback @CrimsonGhost138. :wink: