Tourmaline .

Toy Photographer, Blogger, Resin Crafter, Toy Photography Historian

Posts from the ‘In the Studio’ category

Making a resin house that lights up!

My quarantine brain hasn’t been the most creative, but I did finally make this cool house out of epoxy resin the other day! It’s filled with flowers I hung and pressed to dry, alcohol ink and glitter! Watch the whole process in the video below.



Epoxy resin, alcohol ink and flowart from The Epoxy Resin Store here:

Get 20% off your order with code TOUR20.

Find the other supplies here:…


Let me know what you think!

Focusing on Toes

I first published this post on Toy Photographers 6/29/17. I've made a few minor edits here.

I love toy photographs that make me do a double take. The ones that just look so very real. Bringing toys to life is such an intriguing ambition that many of us share and finding new ways to do so really gets me motivated.

The six image narrative project has me thinking about images I’ve created in series in the past. Some I plan and then shoot all at once, or in sequence over the course of a day, week, month, etc. Others develop more slowly. I have an idea I return to, or a figure that turns into a muse. And with that figure and idea I create one image, then some time later another, until a series forms.

At one point, this took the form of melancholy, and in that a doll and her toes. Or maybe the key is that most of my work is self portraiture, and I insist on bare feet in my real life as often as possible. Read more

2012, A Look Back

While certainly not the only images of note that I created in 2012, I began this blog in July of that year and am going to go with the assumption that the images I chose to share here were some of my best. I have delved deeper in my collegiate and prior photo history, and while I appreciate those images for where they’ve led me, I can’t say they’re good, so I’l stick with showing off the below.

2012 was my junior year of college. I had firmly decided that miniatures were going to continue to be a part of my photographic work, but was largely creating for course assignments. That summer I studied abroad in Italy, and prior to arriving, knew my main photo goal was going to be photographing the street-sold souvenirs alongside their full size counterparts.

2012 was also the year that my dad wrote a book and had me create the cover. Only my second ever book cover, and I enjoyed having relative freedom with how I chose to depict his words.

Let me know what you think.  Check out my 2017 post here.

Read more

Tourmaline ., The barn went swirling up in little red pieces against the sky and the stars moved backward., 2017

2017, A Look Back

Over the years my creative process has changed. As of late, I’ve been focusing on longer form photo series, as well as life outside of my artistic practice. And as I consider where I want my art to go from here, I’m reminded of pieces I’ve created in the past. Lately I’ve been enamored by my 2017 work.

You have to understand that this is not normal for me. I tend to create, be proud of what I create for a bit, then heavily dislike whatever it is for awhile. Eventually I’ll settle back into a level appreciation, but always feel like I could do better. Overall, I think this is a good creative drive, but it’s also a good feeling to legitimately feel proud of what you’ve made.

From changing my artist name, creating book covers,  youtubing, being a part of gallery shows and publications, to the beginning of my vitamin deficiency struggle and  pulling away from blog challenges and zine publishing, 2017 was quite the year on all sides of the spectrum.

In any case, here I present my favorite images I created in 2017, in order of creation.

Let me know what you think in a comment below. Maybe I’ll do some other look backs soon. :)

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10+ FAQs of Toy Photography

Some frequently asked questions and answers!

Let me know what I missed in a comment below whether on the question or answer side!

Click on a question in the list below to be taken directly to that spot on the page.

  1. How do I take realistic images of toys?
  2. How do I create practical effects in toy photography?
  3. Can I use trademarked toys in my photos?
  4. Who are the most famous toy photographers?
  5. Why toy photography?
  6. What lens should I use for toy photography?
  7. What lighting should I use for toy photography?
  8. Where do I get action figures for toy photography?
  9. Where do I get accessories, sets and clothing for those figures?
  10. What’s a typical toy photography set up?
  11. What do I need for travel toy photography?
  12. What are the best toy photography hashtags on instagram?
  13. How do I make emotive toy photos?
  14. How can I make money from toy photography?

Read more

HO scale warehouse building, toy photography by Tourmaline .

The Numerous Wonders of a Tiny Building

There’s a toy store at our local flea market. It holds a collection of opened and sealed toys, new and old, plaything and collectible. My fiance (oh yeah, I’m engaged now!) collects action figures from time to time, I photograph toys and miniatures, so between the two of us we’ve bought a good bit of items from here.

A few months ago the shop owner stocked some HO scale items – figures, vehicles and buildings. There was a warehouse I admired from the start – very detailed with so many interior pieces. I learned that it had been the store owners father’s. He hand built and painted the building and interior pieces. I wasn’t prepared to drop the cash on it, but admired it at each visit.

This last time around, my fiance snuck off and bought it for me. Read more

Slickforce Softlight

Ignore my messy backdrop… This is the Slickforce light standing at 8.25 inches, with only 1 center pole attached.

About a month and a half ago slickforce graciously sent me this mini soft light. And I finally have gotten the chance to try it out and review it. 

I’m always looking for new small scale lighting options, so I jumped at the chance to try out this light. 

All detached parts

This light, at full height, stands at 11.5 inches. When attached directly to the base, or using just 1 of the center poles, it can be adjusted to stand at 5.5 or 8.25 inches as well. However, the light cannot be tilted up or down, and is instead made for straight on even light diffusion rather than a more creative lighting technique. The face and diffusion does pop off if you need it to, and I imagine the LED light inside could be replaced.

The light works as expected. And because it takes batteries, rather than having to be plugged in, is very portable. 

There’s no denying that this is an adorable mini model of a full scale studio light. Coming from a photo background, and being obsessed with minis, this of course grabs my attention right away.

The slickforce (left) next to a standard table top studio light (right)

My main complaint is that it’s very top heavy. I’ll admit, all my small table top studio lights fall face down plenty, but this one, with its thin, lightweight, plastic pole and base can really hardly stand up on its own. I got around this by wedging the battery pack between the base sections or simply taping the light down. But I think a redesign with a heavier metal base would be well worth it. 

I usually shoot in a table top soft box meant for simple at home product photography. A nice thing about this particular light is that it’s diffused as part of the design which gets rid of the need for a soft box. 

Testing it out:

My image set up – the slickforce at its lowest height, behind a piece of textured transparency film (to add a haze to the final image)

No tabletop studio necessary here as the Slickforce light really did make for nice even lighting. It was a tad brighter than I wanted for this scale of figure, but could have been moved farther away from the scene if necessary, or diffused more so with paper or fabric.

Overall, for $15 the Slickforce Softlight is a good buy. I already have lights I’m pretty happy with, but if you’re just starting out this is a great brand to consider. If you’re wanting a mini studio in which you show the lights in your images these are a no brainer.

Learn more and purchase your own here:

So what do you think of the Slickforce softlight? What lights do you use when taking photos indoors?

As I Lay Dying Behind the Scenes

I’ve shared the following images here a couple times now, whether posting them individually, or the story behind how they’re recreations of my first ever toy photos from 9 years ago. However, I’d like to take the moment to go into how I created each one.

I am so happy with how this one turned out. And it was actually a very simple set up. I took a pack of plastic wedding doves (about 1 inch wide each), painted them with varying shades of brown to create a more vulture-esque look, glued them to a blue gradient sheet of scapbook paper, then lit the paper from behind to create the sun effect.

This one I sadly don’t have any in-progress shots of, however it’s fairly straight forward – a horse drawn wagon from the flea market surrounded by green poly-fill esque scenery and fake mini trees. I then photographed the scene from a low angle and added the dirt like fog in post processing.

I designed this barn in tinkercad then printed it with my m3d. Once printed I painted the outside with brown acrylic paint and lined the inside with orange and yellow cellophane. I then placed a lit incense cone inside to create the swirling smoke effect and lit the barn from behind with a small studio light. The sky in the final image is cut together from multiple shots to get more fog. I then added the ash bits in post processing.

The background of this post is the barn you see above before it was painted. The tree is a dollar store Christmas village accessory with the white snow painted yellow. I then held the tree to the war gaming grass mat with clay and positioned the figures. The boy originally was holding a bag above his head. I cut this off and his hand went with it, so I drew his hand back in in photoshop.

And finally, my favorite of the bunch. I purchased a fishing pole and attached fish from hobby lobby, detached the fish and dirtied it up with brown acrylic paint. I then created a coffin in tinker cad and printed it, glued the coffin down to a piece of glass from a picture frame using e600 glue, then placed died preserved moss in and around the coffin. The base of this picture is a piece of scrap book paper and the water is clear glue. Fun fact, the glue never did dry and was a huge mess through this whole process, it achieve the solid edge, reflection and bubble effect I wanted however.