Isaiah Takahashi

Isaiah Takahashi

Isaiah Takahashi (@blksrs) is a photographer who has dedicated his work to toys. Isaiah has a knack for positioning his figures in an authentic and relevant way. He peels back his post-process technique, showing how he uses layers to create next-level toy photos. When he is not shooting toys or chasing around his two kids, you can find him doing work at Related Grey.

toy figure photograph by Isaiah Takahashi toy figure photograph by Isaiah Takahashi

What made you want to become a photographer?

I remember taking some RAW family photos and opening them up in Lightroom. I was blown away by the amount of creative control you have in pushing the colors, tones, and mood of a shot! With Toy Photography that just goes to a whole different dimension! Being able to create these photographs and play with all of those settings as well as lighting and fx is such an awesome creative outlet!

How and why are you using Lume Cube 2.0s in your work?

Lume Cubes are perfect for toy photography! I use them in almost every shot I take. They offer the ability to add great supplemental lighting to any natural light, as well as completely light a scene from scratch. Being able to adjust the brightness level gives you an amazing amount of control while building out your scene.

Who are you inspired by?

A lot of my photography is influenced by films, games or shows that I love. For me, I’m always trying to create something that looks cinematic and could hopefully be mistaken for a still from a movie or game. Beyond that, there are so many amazing toy photographers in our community that are constantly inspiring me and pushing the medium forward in new innovative ways. @Plastication, @WorkMoreOrless, @Swittpics, and @Noserain just to name a few!

If you weren’t a photographer? What would you be instead?

When I’m not taking photographs, I’m the CG Director at a company called Related Grey. I have a great passion for 3D animation, modeling, and rendering. If I’m not out shooting toys, I’m usually creating something in a 3D environment.

What is one toy that you would love to photograph but can’t get your hands on?

OOOHH man, so many! There are a ton of higher-end toys that are incredible, yet out of my price range. If I had to just pick one, I’d go with the Optimus Prime DLX figure from 3A!

toy figure walking with fire toy figure photograph by Isaiah Takahashi

What is your go-to camera?

My go-to camera is the Panasonic LUMIX GH5!

Any advice for new photographers?

Have fun! Never stop trying to learn and improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The toy community is full of amazing artists who are happy to help!

How do you keep your photos fresh and new?

One of my goals is to try and do something different with each new shot. I try to approach each from scratch and see if there might a better or different way to accomplish what I’ve done in the past. It may not always work out, but I strive to keep my shots fresh and new each time. Whether it’s just with a figure I haven’t shot in a long time, or hopefully, with a new technique or scene I’ve never done before!

What is the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is when I get home from work and see my family. Nothing better than my two kids (1 and 4) running up excited to see me!

What’s your favorite photo you’ve taken and why?

Oh man, tough question! If I had to pick just one, it would probably be the shot I did of Leonardo from the original TMNT film. The scene where Leo is sitting in a chair watching over Raphael. It was a scene that stuck out to me so much from my childhood. When Neca announced the 6-inch line of figures from the film I instantly thought of recreating this shot. I was super excited to be able to recreate it using toys! Side note, my Lume Cube AIR came in so CLUTCH on that shot. Not sure I would have been able to do it without it.

toy figure walking sitting on wooden chair in dark room

Describe your photography style in 5 words.

My photography style is cinematic. (Hopefully)

What is one photography type/technique that you want to try next? Any new special effects?

If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, it would have been a forced perspective! I’ve recently been messing with it, and it is an awesome challenging technique to perfect. One thing I’ve yet to really try is using practical water fx in my shots. I think it would be cool to pair some interesting water features with my Lume Cubes! Plus, they are already waterproof!

If you could sit down and pick one photographer’s brain, who would it be?

Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider him a photographer, Simon Stålenhag is my all-time favorite artist! His art is incredibly inspiring. He also posts iPhone photos on his Instagram. While of seemingly mundane locations, they have so much depth and feeling. I’d love to sit down and pick his brain someday! Can you guys make that happen?

It looks like you have an awesome community around you, how did you grow connections in the toy photography world? (Events, meetups, Instagram,etc.)

Yes, totally! The Instagram toy photography community is just incredible. I’ve met so many amazing artists and people. Some of whom I consider to be my very closest friends. It’s been awesome to meet a bunch of them while attending San Diego Comic-Con as well as other local collector shows and meetups. If anyone is at all interested in giving toy photography a try, I can not recommend it enough! You must!

Follow Isaiah Takahashi on Instagram!

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