Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

If you’ve ever read the Toy Photographers blog, you know that we’re big fans of Google+.

We leave a little invite to our community at the end of each blog post, and Shelly herself has written several posts about the thriving platform, the big opportunities available there, and how our community was even featured in Mashable earlier this year.

I won’t rehash too much of what Shelly has already said here, but because of the disappointing and frustrating goings on over at Instagram at the moment, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer my two cents on why Google+ has quickly become my go-to platform for toy photography. Continue reading Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

A Day in the Life of a Toy Photographer

As I ride the bus to meet my sister, I think of Brett’s post about how he went to Sydney and there was no sun to take pictures. He was unable to take the pictures he had planned due to the weather.

I was looking forward to this day. I was going to get to see a part of the city I haven’t been before. And with my sister by my side, we would have so much fun and take so many Lego shots. Continue reading A Day in the Life of a Toy Photographer

Image Recovery & Shooting Outside your Comfort Zone

I’m pretty strictly a studio photographer. I like having full control of the entire set and lighting. But there were a few pictures on my ‘to do ‘ list that just seemed to be begging to be shot outdoors.

My sister came into town to visit and needed some beach shots for her blog. That was the final ingredient I needed for an inevitable outdoor shoot. So, armed with her shoes, and my toys, off to the beach we went.

Honestly, it wasn’t the best beach day. A bit too windy and chilly. But we stayed for just over an hour. I photographed seagulls and I photographed toys and I figured all the photos would be crap, because I was out of my comfort zone. Continue reading Image Recovery & Shooting Outside your Comfort Zone

LEGO City changed my life

OK, maybe LEGO City didn’t exactly change my life. But by taking a deep dive into this under appreciated LEGO theme, I learned a lot! For two weeks all I did was think about, and photograph, City sets. Through this activity, I was able to get a fresh perspective on my work and on the work of others. While these sets are aimed at boys 6-11, there are still plenty of interesting stories to tell.

This unexpected deep dive into LEGO City came courtesy of Kevin Hinkle and Kim Thomsen of The LEGO Group. Recently I received an email asking Boris Vanrillaer of Stuck in Plastic, Will Heron of TexLUG and myself, if we would be interested in working with the Lego City marketing team. Who was I to say ‘no’ to such an opportunity. Continue reading LEGO City changed my life

Series 17 Winner

When we dreamt up the idea of running a photography themed giveaway, we never thought picking the Collectable Minifigures Series 17 winner would be so difficult.

We had 38 entries on G+ and 203 entries on Instagram. That’s over 240 wonderful photos that we had to sift through to pick just one winner. Not an easy task!

So, how did we do this?

We, the judges were made up of Shelly and I, plus we lumbered our G+ moderators Tony, Jason and Jordan with the arduous task of helping us.
Continue reading Series 17 Winner

The Art of the Brick

Art nurtures the brain. Whether made from clay, paint, wood, or a modern-day toy.

-Nathan Sawaya

Last week my wife and I got the chance to check out the incredible work of world-famous LEGO sculpture artist Nathan Sawaya. His popular exhibit, The Art of the Brick, is currently on display at OMSI in Portland. I’ve been following Nathan’s work for a while now, and was not going to miss the opportunity to see it in person!

Needless to say, we were absolutely blown away by the exhibit. It’s one thing to see Nathan’s amazing sculptures and recreations on the internet, but seeing them in person, and getting the chance to lean in closely to examine and appreciate the detail and artistry that goes into each one, was a whole other experience. Continue reading The Art of the Brick

Growing little worlds

A strolling Brett gathers mo moss

“Growing little worlds” sounds like a cheesy song title, but it’s a way to create little living habitats for toys to roam.

I was intrigued to see Luigi’s ‘Killer Score’ and ‘The Are Not The Droids’ setups, in particular the scale, or lack of, that he utilised to create these shots.

It was interesting to read Shelly’s post on the outdoors being studios. I especially liked reading that Kristina had shown Shelly that you ‘can do a lot with very little’. Continue reading Growing little worlds

Seasonal Infectious Disorder

Confession time; the changing seasons do affect my photography. I will call it a seasonal infectious disorder that is characterized by an irrational exuberance caused by the blossoming of trees, longer days and the sun peaking out from behind the ever present clouds. I didn’t realize how much it affected my toy photography until I was packing toys for a recent outing.

In an earlier blog post, Brett asked: “As the seasons change, do your toy photographs change with them?” I cavalierly thought, sure, of course it does. Who doesn’t take there toys to the beach in the summer and into the snow in the winter?  Ok, a lot of people, including me. Sometimes I find myself on a Hawaiian beach in the winter or high in the mountains of Colorado in the summer where the snow still lingers. On closer inspection it seems that location is not always an indicator of the season. Continue reading Seasonal Infectious Disorder

Instagram, WTF?

Instagram, WTF? Ever since Instagram changed their algorithm, I’ve been having trouble finding an audience on the platform. And by ‘audience’ I mean a reasonable amount of engagement on each photo as compared to before the change. Today I found out why engagement on Instagram is a struggle for me – I appear to be shadow banned.

If you’re not familiar with this concept, shadow banning is a way for Instagram to crack down on users who abuse their service by violating the terms of service, who use third party apps that automate activity, limiting an account that has been reported or you’re using broken hashtags. Continue reading Instagram, WTF?

Saving Ideas

Google image search ‘idea journaling’ and you get beautiful pages full of neat handwriting, perfect sketches, scrapbook paper and washi tape.

I keep an idea journal. Mine is not beautiful.

My journal (or should I say journals, because I constantly start new ones before old ones are full) is messy – scrawled script, scribbled pictures – complete nonsense to the onlooker. However, this process is a way for me to save things that I may not remember later, to brainstorm vague ideas for images and make those ideas fuller, to feel like I’m creating even when I don’t have a camera in my hand. Continue reading Saving Ideas