If you’re familiar with Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles then you might know of the Sideshow Freaks forum. I’ve been posting there for a while now and have made some awesome new friends including Sabrina AKA SN Collections on Facebook. She has taken some amazing photos of her figures, including using some kick ass Photoshop skills. I asked if she’d be interested in a little chat about her collection/photography and she agreed!
First, the basics! How did you start collecting?
Sabrina: Gosh, I’m not sure I even remember how it all started exactly. I do remember being into the TV show X-Files and discovering the Sideshow Collectibles action figures of the Mulder and Scully characters. I put them on my Christmas list and lo-and-behold I got them; those two were my first introduction into the action figure world. I truly did not start collecting until the 2012 release of Marvel’s The Avengers. My first introduction into the Hot Toys line was the release of the Captain America: The First Avenger action figure. I was so impressed with the quality and care put into these figures that I didn’t want to stop collecting them.
And when did you get into photography?
Sabrina: That would be about 13 years or so ago. I went with my dad to see the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Airshow and I just happened to have brought along a disposable film camera. There’s one picture that I took that I absolutely loved! I thought to myself, ‘I have finally discovered my creative side!’
Was it a natural progression to just start including your collecting into your photography?
Sabrina: I have always had a love for portrait photography and these figures are just tiny people really, so yes, in a way it was very natural for me. Actually, taking pictures of my collectibles was a really great way to experiment with photographic techniques and lighting.
How do you come up with your ideas for poses and backgrounds?
Sabrina: Many times, before receiving a figure, I will sit down and watch the movie that they come from, that’s a great inspiration for poses. I have also asked several friends for posing ideas before and that always yields new and unique ideas. Another fantastic source is Google; often I will just search through images of the characters and find inspiration there as well, many times my figures will be mimicking comic book art.
As far as backgrounds go, it really depends on which type of scenery pieces I will be using or what fits the character the best. For instance, my Star-Lord character regularly receives an otherworldly background or The Winter Soldier often gets urban surroundings.
How exactly do you create your photos?
Sabrina: The backdrops themselves are pulled from Google image searches, typically they are from desktop wallpaper sites. All of my backdrops are matted in using green screen techniques and Adobe Photoshop, specifically Photoshop CS5. In over a period of about 10 years, I’ve been self teaching myself Photoshop, I am still always learning new tricks, but as I never learned the proper techniques, photos can sometimes take awhile to do. I am getting better at it though. My favorite photo (see below) actually took me a good 2.5 hours, but since that learning experience, I can do a similar photo in about 30-50 minutes now.
Do you have a favorite photo that you’ve done?
Sabrina: I have several to choose from that I like equally best, but if I am hard-pressed into choosing just one, it has to be the one that I worked the hardest on: The Defeated Series Captain America: The First Avenger photo. It’s the one that got the biggest and most positive reaction from everyone, non-collectors to fellow peer collectors alike.
Do you have any ideas that you haven’t been able to pull off yet?
Sabrina: One day, once I have more figures from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, I’d love to do Avengers team photo shoots ranging from simple poses to dynamic action scenes. Recreating the famous scene of the Avengers standing in the circle, ready for battle, from the first Avengers movie would be a dream.
And finally, what figures do you currently have on the way and anything exciting on preorder?
Sabrina: All of my current pre-orders are from 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron: Hawkeye, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man MK45 and Ultron MKI. They’re all very exciting, but the most anticipated is Iron Man; he’ll be my first traditional red and gold IM. The only figure on its way is Captain America, which will be in my possession very, very soon.
I want to thank Sabrina for taking the time to answer my questions! If you like what you see here, be sure to like her Facebook page! I honestly can’t wait to see her photos of AOU!Captain America. I know she’ll do a fabulous job!