Artist Spotlight: shundeez_official

Each month, we pick a LEGO photographer and share some of their work and a little about themselves. This month, we put the spotlight on shundeez_official

I’m 40 years old, I’m a director, a photographer, a video editor, drone pilot, husband, and father to two amazing kids. I love Star Wars, comics, movies, surfing and of course, toys!

I live in Cape Town which is right at the bottom of Africa in a country called South Africa. It is a very beautiful place to live and I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to shooting outdoors. I have beaches, mountains and forests all on my doorstep.

Studied fine art and majored in Photography in my third year. I always loved photography and collecting toys. I never thought of combining the two until I saw an image by Mike Stimpson (@balakov) of a Lego Stormtrooper lying on a bed of red confetti.

It was a recreation of the American Beauty poster and it just spoke to me. I thought to myself “I could that” and so started my toy photography journey. That was 8 years ago in 2013 and I started with the absolute basics.

Shooting at night on the kitchen table. Trying to figure out how other toy photographers did it on Instagram. There wasn’t much BTS in those days so I would literally just ask and hopefully get a reply.

I learned a lot from other toy photographers like @Avanaut, @castleinthepool, @fathersfigures, @sgtbananas, @bg_toyart to name just a few. I watched a lot of Photoshop tutorials and slowly over the years built up my skills and gear.

Back then I mainly shot outdoors. If I was out walking on the beach or forest I was constantly on the lookout for the perfect “Lego Spot”. It would drive my wife mad as I was constantly stopping and getting her to hold a reflector or throw some dust. Not much has changed except now my kids can lend a helping hand.

One of my highlights of my toy photography career was when I became a moderator at Brickcentral and to be recognised by the community. I had a blast being part of the team!

I now shoot with a Canon 6D MKII and mainly use 180mm macro lens for shooting Lego. If I’m shooting outside I use natural light and reflectors.

If I’m shooting in my studio I use everything I’ve collected over the years like LED panels, Lume Cubes, smoke machine and reflectors.

My new love is learning all I can about flash photography, which Anna (@fourbrickstall) helped push me towards. I have two Godox TT600 flashes which I use mainly as backlights and rim lights. I love how clean the light is that it creates, as well as how bright they can go.

I often get my best ideas when I’m just about to fall asleep or wake up. I practically see the image in my mind before I shoot it. Other ideas come when I’m sorting through my toys and I get ideas for mashups or something funny.

I spend a lot of time on Instagram and get tons of inspiration from other toy photographers. I still find myself looking at other people’s shots and wonder how they did it.

I really enjoy putting myself to the challenge to try to recreate the lighting or techniques they have used until I’m satisfied with my results. I’m always learning, always perfecting my skills and my craft. I think that’s the key to most things in life. Always strive to do better.

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