OMG. I have a style. A Brick Sailboat photographic style. It wasn’t always there, I guess parts of it were, but now I see it clear as day. I see it in most of my shots. Consequently, my style is absent from every shot I decide NOT to share. Hundreds of discarded shots sent to the digital trash can. Poor things. All lacking that special something I want to see in my finished work.
Style doesn’t come easy, or quick. I didn’t really find mine until around shared-pic #400. Once I realized what the pictures of Brick Sailboat were all about, it has become so much easier to get the shots I want. When I’m having a frustrating day shooting, I take a moment and remember my style. It gets me back on track. People often ask what kind of camera I use. What they’re really asking about is the list below – what makes a Brick Sailboat shot!
The Brick Sailboat style (for now anyway):
- I’ve got to get the focus right. Since I shoot primarily outdoors, this almost always involves natural light. More recently I’ve started using DIY reflectors to bounce the natural light into the faces of the figures (avoiding the dreaded sunline!).
- I like to get in close…really close. Fire up that macro setting and let her rip.
- I often shoot from below the subject (this sometimes involves building sets on stilts and/or digging a hole in the ground for my camera).
- The background matters…a lot. Take pictures in wild places.
- Stay candid. This is the most important. I want my minifigures to look like they would be having an adventure, even if I wasn’t there to photograph them. That means they rarely look directly into the camera. A lot of times there are figures in the background doing rather boring stuff – walking, checking their phone, doing what they do. I regularly crop parts of figures out of the frame. Turn heads, move arms & hands, make it look natural-ish.
- Stick to the story. My pictures are connected by story. Not all pictures further the plot, but when they need to – they need to. Could the picture tell a story without a caption?
- I can’t get comfortable in my style. Study others. Try to figure out what makes their shots unique. Experiment.
So, there you have it, the seven ingredients that make up my own personal style. I’m sure my list will grow as I continue to take pictures and study all of the great toy photographers here on SiP and beyond. What’s on your list? What makes your photos tick? What makes up your personal style?
~ Mr. S (a.k.a. Brick Sailboat)