Tips and Tricks

When Portrait Skills Merge With Toy Photography

by Skip Cohen

When my buddy Scott Bourne posted the image above on the new community site for Platypod Users, I was blown away because it looked so real. The information about the portrait is below, but I still wanted to call him. It was our phone conversation that prompted me to want to write this post.

The star of the image is a toy, and while it was done in the studio, Scott gave credit to everything he ever learned about portrait lighting, starting with Monte Zucker. Monte’s name is sadly not recognized by many young photographers. He was a master of lighting and portraiture and blazed a trail for so many of the techniques in lighting and posing today.

As we talked, the depth of Scott’s understanding of lighting kept going deeper with names like Clay Blackmore, Tony Corbell, Bambi Cantrell, and Matthew Jordan Smith, just to name a few. And that brings me right to my point and why I wanted to share this image in today’s post.

I am a part of all that I have met.

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote that quote above, but it fits perfectly with everything Scott’s learned in his career through so many different specialties. From his own workshops, to attending every convention he could find time for, he’s never stopped learning, regardless of what his primary business in imaging might have been at the time.

​He lit Boba Fett the same way he’d work with a live model in his studio to create a pensive portrait. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a boudoir, portrait, family, maternity, newborn, or children’s photographer – understanding the craft and especially lighting will always raise the bar on the quality of your images!

​Interested in seeing more of Scott’s work? Follow him on Vero.


by Scott Bourne

Boba Fett Pensive Portrait

Sometimes you have to break the “rules.” Typically I’d make a portrait where the subject looks into the empty frame. It’s more comfortable and the eye likes to have a place to go. Here, I want to create tension and dissonance. Because of that I have Boba looking out of the short side of the frame. There’s a tank trooper in the background. Is he friend or foe? That is for you to decide. I am merely the storyteller. My job is to get your mind churning on the possibilities.

The lifelike sculpt in the Hot Toys 1:6 scale Book of Boba Fett figure is amongst the best I’ve seen. I can work with this guy any time I want. He’s probably my favorite character to photograph. And he always does exactly what I tell him to do.

This is mostly SOOC from my Fuji X100V using a Hoya +4 Closeup Filter. Photographed against a printed background from See the BTS photo for more info. Shot at 1/80th sec @ f/2
Remember, toys are joy.

For a list of my toy photo gear and props go to:

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