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Shooting King of Tokyo!

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A backer on Kickstarter asked if I would do a walkthrough for one of the photos I was adding to the calendar. Since I had only seen King of Tokyo once at Origins last June I thought it would be perfect because I didn’t already have a mental image of what I wanted the King of Tokyo photo to look like.

A lot of photography is about working the scene and adapting to find the best shot. In some cases I know ahead of time what will make an awesome photo but there are tons of other times when I’ll stare at a game and move components around trying to get that magic shot.
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With King of Tokyo, I really wanted to focus on the dice. The dice are cool and I could take some really gorgeous photos of them, but ultimately decided it was a mistake because the photo I was trying to take really needed to represent King of Tokyo the game and not just a single component. So I pulled back and started adding on other components.

After one photo I knew that I should stay away from a straight down shot. Since most of the compoents are flat, shooting at that angle just made them look flatter and boring.
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So I dropped the angle of the camera and ditched the brick, deciding to go with a simple black background. It wasn’t that I so much hated the brick as it was that I couldn’t really fit everything onto it.

I still wasn’t happy with the overall aesthetics so I added more components and set-up a mock game. Usually if I’m struggling with a game photo I’ll set-up a fake game because it can be inspiring. In a way, a game session is a story. There is a beginning, middle, and end and there is also a sense of conflict. So being able to see that on the table really helps the writer side of my brain think of a new way to visual approach taking a photo.
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All in all this really isn’t a bad photo. If I was shooting King of Tokyo for a client and giving them 20 or so photos I’d have no problem including this one in that group. However for a single photo that’s supposed to be awesome and represent the game I just wasn’t happy.

King of Tokyo is a brawler. It has a whole bunch of giant monsters duking it out and I really wanted that to be thematically clear in the photo. So I decided to add in all the monsters from the base set of the game!
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Originally I was thinking I would shoot the photo with a whole bunch of monsters lined up like a corridor and I used a reallyyyy low angle so that the monsters seemed larger and more monstrous.

I also added the brick back in because I felt the black was too bland where as the texture of the brick brought in some personality. However I had to be really careful because the brick was so small and if I zoomed out at all it’s edges would be super noticeable.
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Once I knew that I wanted to squeeze in all the monster and had a sense for where things would be, I started adding in additional components so that it would once again feel like an actual game. Plus in this case it really feels like the Kraken is our hero and all the other monsters are ganging up on him!

The photo was FINALLY coming together. The cards, cubes, and monsters really worked well but I didn’t like the negative space in the front. The brick was too distracting. So I decided to add one of the character dials back into the game.
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And this is it. The final photo!