How to create a Star Wars photography project 

Creating a project, theme, or series can be rewarding and lead to a lot of creative ideas. I created a Star Wars photography project for Star Wars day on May 4th (“May the 4th be with you!”).

I illuminated Yoda from the top as if it were a spotlight. This was photographed in my backyard at night.

Purchasing Star Wars toys to photograph

I purchased some Star Wars toys. Sometimes, I was able to find a Yoda bank. Other times, the toys were reasonably large toys or action figures. A pawn shop near my house had a three-foot tall Yoda for $500. It was all I could do to resist purchasing it.

Finding fun locations

Since I do night photography, I decided to do a series of photographs with the Star Wars figures. While photographing in a galaxy far far away sounded enticing, I photographed these closer to home. In fact, some of them were done in my backyard. Other times, I photographed them in the Mojave Desert. It was humorous stuffing my backpack full of Star Wars figures just before wandering through the rocks of the Alabama Hills to find interesting locations for them to look their best.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter

I illuminated the luminous beings – the Star Wars figures – with a handheld light after carefully placing them in their best locations. The action figures, such as Darth Vader, toppled due to the wind sometimes! I had to photograph quickly before the Sith Lord face-planted in the Alabama Hills.

Then, from various angles, I shined an LED flashlight on them during the exposure.

I used several different lights to light paint R2-D2 at night.

For R2-D2, I used El Wire, or electroluminescent wire, to create the look of the fire. And for good measure, I added a blue ray of light seemingly emanating from his top using a small laser pen light.

Working from a project or series

Now, of course you don’t have to do a Star Wars series (although…why not?). The idea here is to create a fun series from something that you love. The project practically generates fun ideas on its own, stoking your creativity.


Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure prints and more.  My books are available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review, thanks!


Night photographers Tim Little, Mike Cooper and I all use Pentax gear. We discuss this, gear, adventures, light painting, lenses, night photography, creativity, and more in this ongoing YouTube podcast. Subscribe and watch to the Nightaxians today!

Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like)

Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020


How We Got the Shots: Five Photographers, Five Stories – Night Photo Summit 2022


Ken Lee’s Abandoned Trains Planes and Automobiles with Tim Little of Cape Nights Photography
Conversation about night photography and my book with Lance Keimig of National Park At Night

A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols



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