One thing that I will never get tired of shooting, is toys. Specifically, my large collection of Star Wars action figures. I mostly collect the figures in "The Black Series" collection, which are usually 6" and feature an impressive amount of detail and articulation. I often set up the figures in dramatic battle scenes, using certain practical effects as well as Photoshop techniques to create the look and feel I'm after. I typically use a combination of small sparkler fireworks and duster air cans (the kind for cleaning electronics) to create battlefield smoke, explosions, and dirt charges. With a few exceptions, I shoot primarily outdoors, looking for small vegetation and rocks, and perhaps some water sources. I try to find interesting environments that will allow me to achieve a realistic, yet impactful photo.
My favorite figures to shoot are Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers. My main goal with figure photography (and most of my photography in general) is to capture and tell a story within a single image.
With these particular figures, the challenge is to evoke feelings of desperation and joy, fear and courage, or other emotions in an otherwise emotionless figure. With their faces hidden behind helmets, it comes down to posing, composition, environment, and color tones to establish the overall feeling of the shot. Typically, lower angles help me capture an image that makes you feel like you're in the scene with the figures. This allows me to achieve more realism while creating a certain sense of drama. Half the time I find myself shooting blind with the camera on the ground, that is, until I got my latest camera with an articulating screen so I can see what's in the frame!
Once I have the shot, I "complete the story" with final edits in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I add and create the tones I want, while adding in certain effects like muzzle-flash, sparks, or even blood. You can see how post editing really creates a more dramatic feel with the before and after photos below! Doing this sort of photography has been more hobby based, but I feel it helps me develop skills in other areas of my work. Essentially, it allows me to create with a subject that I've held on to since childhood, and let's me be as creative as I want to be!