Toy Photography - A Behind-The-Scenes Look With FigureKingdom

by Jay Cochran
May 29, 2023
There is no denying that the art of toy photography has become a major part of the modern day action figure collecting hobby. People collect action figures for all kinds of reasons, but none of those reasons highlight better the artistic aspect of this hobby like toy photography does. While some see action figures as simply toys to be played with, I see them more as a modern day art collection to be looked at and displayed.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to pull back the curtain a bit and see what is involved behind the scenes in creating some of these masterful images we see online from toy photographers who spend lots of time, energy, and money on equipment for their craft. So today we are spotlighting Manuel Viramontes, better known online as FigureKingdom who specialized in toy photography of wrestling figures. Here is his story:

Imagination is everything, it's the preview to life's coming attractions. Action figure photography is more than a passion. In many ways this has saved me from a dark space I was in after being hit by a drunk driver. Out of the darkness, I found my saving grace which is bringing the wonderful world of toys, play, and imagination into a scene that can set off nostalgia.

I use a wide array of tools for what I do. The key element is lighting. Lighting is truly everything. You can add hints of color or add shadows and light to your scene so you can truly set the mood. I spend more time with my lighting to balance out the scene more than I would with posing or framing.

I also use a cheap clear string to suspend my action figures from an old broomstick that I taped to a floor lamp. I like to use things from around the house to bring my visions I see in my mind to a photograph.

Another key element I use is smoke or fog. If I am going for a cemetery scene, then a light fog using a smoke machine does the trick. Or if I need something more dramatic, then a quick spray of Atmosphere Aerosol can take your photography to the next level.

I make sure to write down all of my ideas. Pen to paper. The old fashion way. That way I have a clear game plan of what my vision is for that particular day in the studio. Everything is written, from storytelling, posing, color scheme, props or dioramas. I have hundreds of ideas that I have yet to photograph, but are on my list just ready to go!

The camera I use as my main driver from day to day operation is the Sony A7iii. I tend to switch out the lens depending on the style or genre I am shooting. But usually I will use the Sony 90mm Macro and the Sony 50mm Macro lens.

While I don't spend a crazy amount on my supplies I use, one thing I will splurge on is my lighting. Lumecube is the Rolls Royce of lighting. I will use both the Lumecube Panel Pro models. Those are great because you can add colors all with the quick swipe of a finger! I also use the original cubes as well to brighten up a shot!

We are the modern day dreamers. Those who dare to be vulnerable and showcase their works on a daily basis to hundreds or sometimes thousands of people at a time online. While often nerve wracking, it is absolutely an amazing feeling to connect with so many across the globe with my works. Thanks! -Manny

Below are affiliate links on Amazon for the equipment Manny uses in his work. You can also visit the Lumecube website and use code "10Figurekingdom" to save 10% on purchases there.

-Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera
-Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens
-Sony SEL50M28 FE 50mm F2.8 Full Frame E-mount Lens
-SINGER 00260 Clear Invisible Nylon Thread

The WWE Action Figure Ultimate Edition Coliseum Collection Jake “The Snake” Roberts & “Ravishing” Rick Rude 2-Pack and WWE Ultimate Edition Attitude Era Ring and Kane Figure were provided by Mattel.
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Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
fromashestofire - 2023-06-07 @ 4:49 pm

Nice work and lightining!

FigureKingdom - 2023-05-29 @ 3:13 pm

I sincerely appreciate you and all the love! This project was a real pleasure to do!?

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