Sticky Tack or Blu-Tack can be a toy photographers best friend. If you’re not familiar with this amazing substance, it is a little piece of removable gummy substance you can attach to your toy to help with a difficult pose, an uneven surface, an uncooperative accessory or a stiff wind.
I love tack and rely on it to help me quickly manage any unruly set up. I even have a wad on the front of my camera so I can access it quickly.
I know there are a few photographers who shun the use of tack in all its forms because it almost always requires some amount of post processing. Not everyone has access to Photoshop (or the equivalent) or has the inclination to edit an image to remove the offending little blue (or white) blob. While this is definitely a draw back, rarely will you need a lot of it.
I enjoy the challenge of balancing my mini figures on rocks, dirt, moss and the like. But sometimes even my patience is tested and I will wad up a small bit of tack to save me time and keep my frustration level down. Of course there a few photos that would have been impossible to capture without this handy trick. One of my favorite photos of Boba falls into this category…
Tack comes in a few different variations:
- Blu-Tack – the classic, is sturdy, never fails but is bright blue
- Double Sided Adhesive Dots – little dots of extremely sticky tape and invisible
- Museum Putty – just like blue-tack, but white and easier to hide
- Holding Wax – a stiff clear wax used for holding small items in place. perfect for really tiny toys like HO scale figures
I’ve had the pleasure of using all of these items and I can assure that they all work great. They all grip onto rock or other rough outdoor surfaces; one caveat – they generally don’t work on wet surfaces. I would recommend the double stick dots as a great method, especially if you don’t want to do any post processing.
What do you use (if anything) to keep your toys in place so you can grab that perfect photo?
Welcome to a new category on Stuck in Plastic, called The Basics. Over the next several months I will be writing short posts on The Basics of Photography and how these concepts relate specifically to toy photography. I hope you will enjoy this series. If you have a particular topic you would like me to address, feel free to leave a comment or message me.