A dialog between a toy photographer and himself

Great! I’ve found a place that looks like a forest! Look at that moss!
What could i place here?
Why not a minifig riding a motorbike?
Ok, sounds reasonable. 
Why don’t make it a sidecar?
Ok, let’s do it. Who will be the passenger?
Why not a rabbit?
Ok, let’s do it.
Why don’t cornering the sidecar to make it looks taking a dangerous turn?
Yeah, a more dynamic pose, let’s do it.
Why are they together?
Don’t know. Strong bond like friendship?
Ok, everybody should have a rabbit as a friend.
Where are they going? What is going to happen?
Don’t know. Let’s take some pictures to find it out.

1-Friendship

2-Friendship

3-Friendship

4-Friendship

5-Friendship

6-Friendship

~Marco (The APhOL)

The $5 Photograph

I’ll readily admit I have a lot of supplies for my toy photography – various toys, camera equipment and other gear.

I don’t have the latest and greatest anything, but I make what I have, and what I can further source, work for me.

This concept can be true at any range of your budget. While social media can make it seem like you need a $2000 camera and $300 figure to make it in this field/hobby that’s far from true. Continue reading The $5 Photograph

Chasing “that” shot

For forever and a day I shall chase that White Whale

We’ve all spent time searching for that shot; the elusive White Whale, the Holy Grail that thwarts us. Chasing that shot is a fruitless, all-consuming quest. Or is it?

Drown like Captain Ahab
Trying to slay that Great White Whale
So tied up in their own rules
People jump ship and they fail
Jello Biafra with the Melvins – Lessons in What Not to Become

I’ve got a handful of shots in my mind that I’ve wanted to capture for some time now. Some of these have haunted me for years, taunting me with their imagined exactness.

Many of them come out with me in search for their ideal locale, more times than not returning empty-handed. They scoff at the bland parodies of their imagined precision. Their jeers at my bids to replicate them follow me to every fresh attempt.

Thwarted by their lofty expectations and demands, I usually sit before yet another lacking Lightroom import. Continue reading Chasing “that” shot

6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk

Discouragement, fear, demotivation, I’ve discussed these way too much at this point here (I promise I’ll write about something else soon). But no matter how many posts I write (which end up being extensions of lectures I’ve given myself) about forgetting the world and creating for yourself, there is always more to say.

I am very good at not taking pictures. I’ll have tons of ideas itching at my brain, the supplies to make each one and absolutely no motivation. Whether stress, general creative discouragement, or a world of other thoughts in my head, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to create. The problem there, is that then I mentally beat myself up for not making photos and the cycle continues. Continue reading 6 Ways to Fix your Photo Funk

The joy of creativity

Right now, I’m more in love with my printer than my camera. This is a huge departure from where I was three years ago when I wrote: “For the pure joy of the photograph”. I’ve grown a lot as an artist in the last three years and my joy of photography has expanded to a more inclusive joy of creativity.

In my original post I talked a lot about the thrill of photography. I wanted to take photos and not actually “do” anything with them. I referenced Vivian Maier and her well know habit of taking hundreds of rolls of photographs and not developing them. The act of taking a photo was more important (easier?) than developing, printing and exhibiting her work. Continue reading The joy of creativity

What have you created today?

What have you created today?

I ask myself this question everyday. It might seem like an easy question to answer, but somedays its hard to answer positively. Like you, I have the usual litany of personal responsibilities that accompanying the act of #adulting. I won’t bore you with the details because I’m sure you have a similar list. Yet, with all these responsibilities its important to be able to answer: “Yes, I created something today!”

You and I are similar…we love photography and creativity. I know this because you’re reading this blog. We all have our different reasons for using toys as our subject, but at the core, we’re all creatives. (If you’re not familiar with the many reasons toy photographers use toys, you should check out our “Why?” series!) As a creative, I bet you want to understand and improve your photography.

I know I am. Continue reading What have you created today?

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

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

Quality over quantity?

Recently, I have read on someone’s Instagram post that they don’t like the “cheap route of posting daily the same iPhone photos of the shark suit minifigs or minimalist shots of Stormtroopers.” They prefer to “focus attention on creating well-crafted models and shooting artistically – styled vignettes.” Basically they were calling for quality over quantity. Continue reading Quality over quantity?

On Measuring Success

By dictionary definition, success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose (it’s also ‘the attainment of popularity or profit,’ but let’s focus on the first one for now.

I think the path to creative success begins with a pride in your work. Are you creating work that you love, that fills your creative craving? Maybe your work isn’t always your definition of complete perfection, but can you look at your latest image and think ‘this is it, I’m getting it, this is where I need to be?’ If not, why not?

Continue reading On Measuring Success