Toy Photographers Podcast 03 – Brett Wilson Interview

It’s Sunday, so you know what that means: Another episode of the Toy Photographers Podcast is now available!

This week, we have another interview episode, featuring our very own Brett Wilson! Brett and I had a fantastic conversation, covering how he got into toy photography, what it’s like having such a famous SigFig, how much luck has contributed to his many opportunities, and so much more!

The episode is live now on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and other podcatchers, or you can listen to it right here:

Thank You

I want to thank you all for the great reception you’ve given the podcast so far! It truly means a lot to me. This first month of the podcast has been even more successful than I could have hoped, and I have some really exciting episodes planned!

There won’t be a new episode next week, but check back in on Sunday, February 4th for my interview with The Toys That Made Us creator Brian Volk-Weiss!

Until then, enjoy this week’s episode, and please either leave your thoughts and comments below, or shoot us an email at toyphotographypod@gmail.com!

-James

If you’ve made it this far, come continue the discussion over at our G+ community! And while you’re at it, subscribe to our weekly email round up so that you never miss a post!

Toy Photographers Podcast 02 – “Play” with Kristina Alexanderson

Thank you to everyone who listened to our debut episode of the Toy Photographers Podcast last week! If you haven’t heard it yet, you can listen to it here.

This week on the podcast, I’m joined by Kristina Alexanderson for our very first “theme” episode. These will be slightly different than the interview episodes; Kristina and I will have picked a specific theme to photograph, and taken a photo with that theme in mind. We then jump on Skype, share our photos with one another, and discuss what we see, both literally and in terms of how it relates to the theme we picked.

The theme for this week’s episode was “Play,” something I think all toy photographers have considered when snapping shots of LEGO or action figures! Continue reading Toy Photographers Podcast 02 – “Play” with Kristina Alexanderson

MasterClass

Last year, I confessed that I’m actually not very knowledgeable when it comes to photography. In the months since writing that post, I’ve become more and more comfortable with my camera. I now know which buttons do what, and what to do in order to achieve the vision in my head. Most of the time, anyway.

Still, I wanted to take it a step further. So, I’ve enrolled in Annie Leibovitz’s online MasterClass. Continue reading MasterClass

Introducing the Toy Photographers Podcast!

We’ve been teasing an exciting announcement, and here it is: We have officially launched our very first podcast! 

The podcast will, of course, be centered around toy photography and the amazing people around the world who have chosen toys as their artistic subjects. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or your other preferred “podcatcher” apps, and they’ll also be made available here on the blog. Continue reading Introducing the Toy Photographers Podcast!

Viva La Resolution!

I’ve always loved the New Year. I know it’s all psychological, and that despite the Earth completing yet another trip around the Sun, New Year’s is just another day.

Yet, I can’t help but feel a renewed sense of excitement at the idea of a “clean slate.” The transition from one year to the next means that you’ve passed Go; it’s time to collect your $200 and move around the board again.

It’s true that only 8% of people actually complete their New Year’s resolutions. Does that mean we should stop setting them? I don’t think so! Continue reading Viva La Resolution!

With a Little Help from My Friends

Wow! I can’t believe 2017 is drawing to a close. This will be my last post on the blog until the New Year. Like Brett and Shelly before me, I want to use this time to give thanks, and to look back on my journey through 2017.

I think it’s fair to say that this year was a whirlwind for all of us. Personally, it was at times both the best and worst year of my life. I can happily say that the depression I was dealing with this summer has subsided. Though it will inevitably rear its ugly head once more in the future, I am thankful for this respite and am going into 2018 with high spirits and optimism. Continue reading With a Little Help from My Friends

Off the Shelf

We’ve discussed many sources of inspiration here on the blog. Things like exhibitions, a change in seasoncards, and challenges can get the creative juices flowing. This summer, Shelly wrote a piece about the books that help inspire her photography. I have a reference shelf of my own, though it’s not populated by studies on photography or creativity…

I love “Art of” books, usually those about my favorite films. I’ve talked before about being inspired by movies, and this is an extension of that.

Shelly’s image of her bookshelf inspired me to recreate it with my own!

If you’re unfamiliar, the “Art of” books I’m referring to usually center around a specific movie or television series. They’re collections of behind the scenes information, character and story details, and – most importantly – concept art, storyboards, and production stills.

“It’s time for Woody’s roundup, he’s the very best!”

When I’m in a creative funk, flipping through these books can help spark new ideas, or force me to think of my potential subjects in new and interesting ways.

There are hundreds of these books out there! If you’re working with any of LEGO’s licensed sets, or with action figures from properties like Star WarsAlien, or Marvel, you can easily find tomes to choose from. I have “Art of” books for Pixar, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Incredibles, Wonder Woman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Apart from the images – which have been helpful even for simple shot compositions – the actual text provides knowledge that I might have otherwise overlooked. Those details then help fuel the stories I tell!

LEGO Books

The other half of my shelf is filled with more specific books about LEGO. Things like Matthew Reinhart’s LEGO Pop-Up, a Journey through the LEGO Universe or our friend Vesa’s LEGO Star Wars: Small Scenes from a Big Galaxy.

Daydreaming of Hoth

Because these books specifically highlight LEGO – my photographic subject of choice – they are a bit more successful at igniting my creativity. I’ve been inspired by Vesa’s work for years, and I can’t tell you how valuable it’s been to have it accessible in such a tangible way.

lego books

I’m also a big fan of DK Publishing’s books like I Love that Minifigure or the character encyclopedias for LEGO Star Wars and LEGO DC Comics Superheroes. They usually come with a rare minifigure, and are packed with character details and minifig information. I’ve added many a minifig to my collection because I saw them in these books, and have since taken dozens of shots with them.

The Cult of LEGO

cult of lego

Last but not least is a book called The Cult of LEGO. Rather than simple referential information, it’s about the history of LEGO fandom. The book is chock full of information about various subsects and communities, and has countless photos of amazing LEGO builds and artwork.

Nothing sparks creativity for me like viewing the work of others. It inspires me to up my game, improve my skills, and tell better stories!

With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps you should consider adding these to your wishlist. Or buy them for a fellow photographer or artist!

Do you have any referential or art collection books that you use to spark your creativity? Tell us all about them in the comments below! 

– James

If you’ve made it this far, come continue the discussion over at our G+ community! And while you’re at it, subscribe to our weekly email round up so that you never miss a post!

Maintaining Momentum

We toy photographers sure are a busy bunch! Shelly has turned to setting deadlines to reach her goals, and Brett balances his full plate with intentional, restrictive time management in the editing room.

As we draw closer and closer to the end of the year, I’ve found that I too am struggling to keep up with the passage of time. Projects I envisioned or began earlier in the year have fallen by the wayside, photo ideas have gone untaken, and I feel constantly behind schedule. In fact, this very post is being written last-minute thanks to traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. I rushed the setting sun in order to nab my required photos in time! Continue reading Maintaining Momentum

Review: LEGO 76085 Battle of Atlantis

When first planning this week’s review, I set my sights on the new LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of NASA kit. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock both online and at my local LEGO store, so that review will be a bit late. In the meantime, I’ve decided to celebrate the release of Justice League with one of the film’s three tie-in sets!

The set in question is 76085 Battle of Atlantis, featuring DC Comics’ iconic ocean dwelling hero, Aquaman. The kit features a small piece of the lost city of Atlantis, where two Atlantean warriors are watching over a Motherbox, guarding it from a Parademon. It uh… all makes more sense once you see the movie. Continue reading Review: LEGO 76085 Battle of Atlantis

Review: LEGO 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest

November upon us, and the Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner for those of us in the United States. At the risk of being region-specific, I decided to take this opportunity to review the latest LEGO seasonal kit: 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest.

Like its predecessor, 40260 Halloween Haunt, 40261 is a small vignette with two minifigures, a handful of accessories, and several mini-builds. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, or take some nice autumnal shots, is this the set for you? Continue reading Review: LEGO 40261 Thanksgiving Harvest