Applying your Platypod Ecosystem to Toy Photography with Dave DeBaeremaeker
Words by Dave DeBaeremaeker Edited by Eryka Bagwell
"This video is all about tips and tricks for getting the most out of Platypod eXtreme, Platypod Ultra, Platypod Goosenecks, Platypod Discs, and Platypod clamps (or as their team likes to call it, the "Platypod Ecosystem") for toy photography. I use my Platy-gear all the time and I want to share some lessons learned with you all. If you have other tips, please drop them in the comments!
"Having the right gear in my bag makes my life a whole lot easier, so here are some tips and tricks just for you about how I work with my Platypod gear during a photoshoot and how you might be able to do the same.
"If you've never heard of the Platypod, it is a low rise and low base tripod replacement to secure cameras during shoots. This prevents you from having to carry a big bulky tripod (also helps with avoiding the tripod police)! Having the Platypod, I feel more comfortable and confident putting my camera in places that I wouldn't otherwise be comfortable with i.e. snow, puddles, sand, etc.
"The Platypod keeps the camera angle low which is beneficial for Toy photography. This can sometimes be troublesome when shooting Toys that are much smaller than the vertical set up of Platypod with a ball head attached to your camera."
Watch Dave's video (here and also on YouTube) to learn more about the tips and tricks below:
"Which brings us to our first tip -- You don't always need to use your ball head with a Platypod. On the camera is a "Platypod Disc" which contains a 1/4 20 thread which allows you to attach camera to that disc and then attach directly to your camera. Now you see that it is at a much better (and lower) level for your shoot."
"One of the primary things that I use Platypod for are to hold up lights. It holds them up securely and at just the right angle. For this, I like to use my Platypod Ultra. It has a smaller weight capacity however it is a little bit cheaper price point than the Platypod eXtreme and it includes several 1/4" 20 threads that allows for any 1/4" 20 bolt to attach to it.
"The Platypod goosenecks 1/4" 20 male end and a 1/4" 20 female end with an adapter. I like to use the adapter on the end and then thread on my LumeCube light (which already includes a 1/4" 20 thread it in) Now I have a light stand to light up my figures.
"Why stop at just one light when you can add two! With this you'll notice that the weight distribution isn't balances and I like to grab a weight (personally I grab a brick) and place it on the opposite side of the lights to off set the weight. Another tip from a fellow Platypod user was to use 1, 2, 3 block (as a counter weight) which I was able to purchase online for about $12."
"Removing stuck adapters: At some point in time you'll want to remove your light and often times what happens is that the adapter will stick to the light. So what I like to do is use a set of pliers (highly recommend having a pair handy) they're very useful.
Another tip is the the Platypod Goosenecks include a hole on the side. This is where I like to store my extra bolts so I don't loose them."
"Using the Platypod Gooseneck to hold up props: I've used it to hold up Spiderman, Doctor Strange's cape and other props for shoots. So these goosenecks don't only need to be used for lighting. Having these bendable propped up tools can be very helpful depending on the look you're trying to achieve."
"The Platypod Mini Super Clamp and using those jaws for things like holding toys and also used them to hold up backgrounds and things like reflectors and bounce cards. Get creative with this clamp tool so you have your hands free to do what you need."
"Making life easier in the field: you can quickly run into the need for an extra hand. A hot shoe adapter 1/4" screw with a plate at the bottom to attach to the hot shoe of your camera and because it's 1/4" 20 you can use to attach to your Platypod.
I like to attach my hot shoe to my camera, attach a gooseneck and then add a light at the end. This set up is perfect for off camera lighting."
"Why just one light when you can have two on the go but you don't need to limit yourself to just lights when using the Platypod Super Mini Clamp. Use a clamp for your scene set up and you can add a reflector, bounce card or other."
"The Platypod Ecosystem everything works together to allow you to come up with solutions for problems that you didn't even realize that you had.
This is a solution to a problem that is unique to (I believe only) Toy photographers. You have to get down really low and sometimes you might not want to get down low. This solution is a Platypod Max (latest model is Platypod eXtreme) with two goosenecks with clamps with a disc on the bottom of the Platypod that allows me to attach to a tripod which allowed me to take a shot of Spiderman against the sun without having to get dirty.
In conclusion I leave you with a final thought. With Toy photography you often need to come up with solutions on the fly to get the shots that you want to take. Getting those shots of course is your end goal so having gear handy helps keep you in a creative flow rather than struggling to figure out your gear."
Please visit (and subscribe) to Dave's YouTube channel for more tips and tricks on how to use your Platypod gear! Also be sure to visit his website to see more of his work.
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