Written by | Artists

Tonight we are humbled to present a really in-depth self analysis of the work of Ruben Martin-Milan @martinmilanstoys who really went above and beyond for this article.

Ruben may not be all that well known in the community but by effort alone he deserves to be and we’re sure that 2017 is going to be a huge year for his content so definitely keep your eyes on his feed. Check out what Ruben has to say below :

“I’m used to a range of audiovisual concepts because of my job, and in the beginning I just wanted to improve my lighting skills just to transmit better any given idea. However, I’m an amateur photographer so I guess my process is far from being complex or orthodox, but I think that this may change over time.



I only take toy pics indoors nowadays, and I don’t have much diorama ware. I decided to print some textures, patterns or any pseudo natural background idea that can take me out of my solid colours backgrounds, because indoor can be so repetitive, and so my pictures are starting to be. I’ll eventually have to go outdoors, or keep printing backgrounds. I use my smartphone camera and software to edit almost all of my pictures. Makes my process faster and more simple since I’m not a pro.  Maybe in the future I’ll step up and use more professional tools and procedures. My process starts setting up my workspace and selecting some figures.


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If I haven’t thought of nothing previously, I focus on lighting one or two characters, with an emphatic approach. Backlit is one of my favourite light positions, aiming for a good contrast and heavy shadows. I have a small couple of led torches that I often use with my DSLR camera. They have a dimmer so I usually place one as main light and the other one as backlit. Besides, I have four small led flashlights in case I need to spot something or casting some shadows. Whenever I need a powerful global flooding light, I use white fluorescent tubes and I use my torches for different roles. I don’t have any specific lighting stage, just an angled cardboard piece, where I place my backgrounds. Cardboard boxes help me to collocate my lights and I have gorillapods to grip the lights or the camera when handheld shots are shaken.

I waste a lot of time testing variations, regretting what I just did and starting over because I missed something that has definitely ruined the shot. In fact, being a good improviser you require lots of exercising to adapt styles naturally. This picture is a funny scene with a bunch of friends trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. It’s supposed to happen on a living room so I tried to use a realistic light, composed by a primary flooding light and a very soft backlight, so everyone’s expressions are shown. I tried to use different props but finally I decided to leave a blank background to add a digital one. I’m in the search of effective lighting setups, but also investigating more techniques for more natural lighting styles.

I love when a picture transmits a concept on a simple way with the proper lighting so, on my next pictures I’ll try to focus on transmitting deeper concept, contain more action and have different lighting styles. I want to thank all of the ‘outside the box’ photographers, amateur and professional, because they are a great source of inspiration and all the amateur toy photography buddies that I found for their support.”

A massive thank you goes out to Ruben for putting in so much effort for this article and we hope that you have benefited from getting a look behind the scenes of his work. Be sure to follow him over on Instagram to stay up to date with all his upcoming projects @martinmilanstoys




Last modified: January 16, 2017

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