Robert Schymiczek

Robert Schymiczek

Toy Photographer

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Duisburg, Germany is home to the worlds biggest inland harbor, and this week’s Under the Macro featured artist, Robert Schymiczek. With a primary focus on Lego Toy Photography, Robert brings his subjects to life by being able to bring the world around us and make it a part of his images. Enjoy this look at Robert and his work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, and where you’re from.

I am a playful father of two boys. I live in Duisburg, Germany and I enjoy board games, miniature painting and awesome series like Doctor Who.

When you’re not photographing toys, what do you do for a living?

I am really lucky to work as a marketing manager for a boardgame publisher. I do game tests, assist in product development and organize events and fairs for our company.

When did you get started with toy photography?

Six years ago, when I was buying the first new LEGO Sets for my children I realized the big step they made in terms of facial design. LEGO Minifigures became so lively in the last years that I had to take some photos of them. And they turned out so nice, I continued doing this as a hobby.

Is there a specific type of toy you like to shoot the most? Brand, type or size?

I really like taking photos of LEGO minifigures. Sometimes I also use board game meeples or miniatures.

Before you started taking your own shots, did you have any interest in the world of toy photography?

Actually no. I discovered the whole world of toy photography just when I started taking photos myself.

“I found out how small details can change the whole look of a photo.”

Did taking toy photos lead you to collecting toys, or did you already collect them?

I was already collecting toys. But taking photos led me to look at collectible toys in a new way. Now I am looking at a toy and try to decide if it is working in some of my photo ideas.

In the beginning, do you feel there was a learning curve?

Yes. Definitely. Especially in setting up a scene, adding motion, foreground and background. I found out how small details can change the whole look of a photo.

What is the hardest part about toy photography?

You need a lot of time and patience at your actual shot location. My toy shots are set up with a lot of time and in many, many different ways. Small changes in movement can make a big difference. It just should look natural and not artificially set up. This always takes some time.

If you could go back and impart a bit of wisdom to yourself when you were just starting out, what would you tell yourself?

Keep your minifigure parts organized. There will be moments when you have a perfect idea and you can’t find this one accessory!

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What can you explain and share about of your process?

The process in my photography is mainly about motion and story. At the beginning of my work, I was placing toys at interesting places and made it look cool. That was totally fine for the beginning but then I discovered the power of storytelling. If you manage to tell a small (or even long) story within a still photograph you can be sure that your photo is something special. And that’s what I am seeking for at my current work. The other thing is motion. And I mean real motion, nothing done in Photoshop in post-production. This can be achieved by really dynamic posing of the minifigures or by flying stuff like leaves, dirt or other small parts.

When you’re looking for ideas of types of images to take, what do you do?

There are two ways to find ideas for new photos. I can go for a walk and look for nice spots in the nature. Then I ask myself: What could happen in this environment. And the other way is taking a minifigure and think about a situation this little guy could stumble into. Both ways work for me.

Can you tell us about your equipment?

I use Canon EOS 80D with different attachments.

How do you display your photos?

My biggest joy is that my children love my photos and like to have them as a canvas in their rooms. So we have several of these in our house. Besides that, I am displaying my photos at my Facebook Page.

What is your favorite image or series of images you’ve taken?

I like my picture “Tiny Epic Duel”, showing two samurais fighting each other at a tree stump. This photo has so much motion and works very well.

What type of photos do you feel are the hardest to take and why?

Adding motion into a setup scene is very hard. But these pictures are also always the best. Flying sand, leaves, dirt, elements like these add a lot to the scene.

What was the most challenging photo you’ve taken or attempted to take?

The skaters at the metal bar (showing a looping in the background) were very long planned and I went to this place two times to get the perfect shot. I have tons of different pictures from this one location. Additionally I always had to go there very early, otherwise, the place gets crowded with people.

How much do you rely on staging and how much on post-production processing?

I try to avoid a lot of post production. I like to stage my minifigures without any support and get the mood of the picture right from the beginning.

Other than your camera, do you have a favorite piece of equipment?

Small adhesive pads. 🙂 They keep minifigures in position and are absolutely necessary for almost all my photos.

Follow Robert online:

Toy To Life Series Branding-11 300-1Do you love toy photography?

Want to take your photography to the next level? is excited to announce the upcoming launch of the multipart online video course teaching the ins and outs of taking better photographs of the miniature world. The multi-session series will get you up and running and perfect your skills.

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