Written by | Themed Shoot

The next shoot in our ongoing themed series comes from @ronan_the_collector who brings us his exclusive shoot “Defeat” that shows off his creative thought process behind each story and his ability to weave miniature narratives into each shot.

An exclusive shoot from Ronan

I live in small town in Canada. Usually when I go out to shoot it’s at my local park down the street, or on nicer days down to the river. Sometimes I may have vague ideas that I work out as I go, but occasionally an idea I can’t let go of I write it down. Lately I’ve shot a lot of black series, but I’m gradually moving back into transformers. My photos have been less frequent lately due to me taking up making customs, some of the more simple repaints of various black series troopers such as my Stormtrooper commander (from the game star wars the force unleashed) and accompanying 501st Stormtroopers.


When I learned that my theme would be “Defeat” I considered it a chance to try out a more bleak emotional tone in my photos, I used these skulls that came from a NECA  Predator as props for this one, I believe they speak for themselves. There is little colour or much else in the frame because I wanted to express a feeling of dread with it without actually using any “figures”

My process is generally just to get some general ideas about what to shoot, and then once it’s nice enough to go out I take a backpack full of figures as well as whatever comes to mind (Compressed air can, lights, stands) and then just figure out my poses and angles based on what’s available. I don’t tend to write stories to accompany my photos because I’d rather just have my picture tell its own story. Most of my collection is just the bad guys, I like my villains, so when I do an action shot I have to be resourceful and use whatever heroes I have at my disposal. I think this photo is effective at telling a story despite showing very little of the figures themselves. the figures I’ve used here are the Black Series Darth Vader, and Black Series Kanan Jarrus.


I believe posing is very important to the tone of a photo, and that it’s the very minor things like hands and other joint positions that make it key to setting the tone of the scene you want to create. If you like to collect 6 inch figures like marvel legends or star wars black series, then my advice is to experiment with poses. Try to get some wild fight scenes, use props or stands to help with the crazier poses. In my opinion it’s no fun to have figures with such good articulation and not have them doing crazy stuff or just standing around. I don’t generally like NECA products due to their poor quality, customer communication, and articulation but I did the best I could with this alien warrior and chopper Predator to create an action scene


The camera I use is a Nikon D60, not the newest model but for a hand-me-down I can’t complain. I generally shoot with high shutter speed or low exposure to create a darker atmosphere that puts all the green around here to good use. This next shot shows some of the characters from the series Star Wars Rebels being captured by the empire, also giving a better look at my Stormtrooper commander.


I find toy photography to be a fun way to express creativity, as well as introduce the wonderful world of collecting to new people. My advice to any new faces to the game would be to think outside the box, step outside your comfort zone and try to challenge yourself by learning new things!

A huge thank you goes out to Ronan for taking some truly inspired shots for his theme series “Defeat” that really showed off his creative practise and shot execution. Be sure to head over to his Instagram portfolio @ronan_the_collector for much more and leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!

Last modified: May 23, 2017

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