Create your own photographic toy story

Felix Hernandez

Struggling to find things to shoot? Try revisiting your childhood and bringing toys to life. Felix Hernandez is picking up plaudits for his stylish scale model set-ups, and while some Photoshop work is required to realise the end result – such as the addition of the trees and headlamps in this shot – he keeps the raw ingredients pretty simple.

Lighting is key to creating an authentic 'real world' illusion. "For example, if I want to recreate a scene with overcast sunlight, I would take a big modifier and put it close to the model to achieve that soft quality of light," says Felix. "If I want harsh light for a desert scene, I will use a small modifier or no modifier at all, and pull the light away from the set-up.

Felix Hernadez

Of course, a macro lens will allow you to get close and play with scale – Felix uses focus-
stacking techniques to extend the depth of field – but he stresses that creating a story for a set-up is key. "For me, it's not just a matter of taking a toy and making a photo. It's all about telling a story, that's why I focus on the details. Imagination is key to bring inanimate objects to life."

Make it look like the real thing

Felix uses a host of household items to create effects and build the atmosphere in his shots. For 'The Love Car', he used bags of flour for the snow, butane gas to create the iced windows and cigarette smoke for the mist. Take a look at this behind the scenes video, while you can view more of Felix's work at

Image copyright: Felix Hernandez. This feature was originally published in Digital Camera Magazine, to subscribe, click here