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!

Season of Change

Autumn is here for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, and I must admit that I’ve been hit with a strong case of Seasonal Infectious Disorder! Fall is my favorite time of year, and I’ve already begun to see the change of season reflected in my photography.

Fall signifies change – the shift in color and shedding of leaves, cooler temperatures, and the beginning of the rainy season here in the Pacific Northwest. The air itself feels crisp, the daylight hours become shorter, and the countdown to Halloween begins.

Most people feel energized when the sun is shining or when the weather heats up, but I’m the opposite. I thrive off of cooler temperatures and the Autumn rain. Continue reading Season of Change

Review: LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod

While Brett is always on hand to review the latest series of Collectible Minifigures, we felt that expanding our reviews to include full sets was in order. We’re also looking forward to premiering some non-LEGO reviews as well for the action figure crowd.

These new reviews will come with a twist! Instead of centering the discussion on things like piece count or the build itself, we’re taking a look at its overall photographic potential. We are toy photographers after all! Continue reading Review: LEGO Star Wars 75176 Resistance Transport Pod

My Latest Flame

I’ve taken a few shots this week that I’m really proud of. I was going to sit on them for a few days but I couldn’t wait to share at least one of them. The arrival of the new Last Jedi SDCC Exclusives has really given me a kick to get out and shoot more. These two new figures are characters that will feature heavily in the new film, but they also have uncertain paths to take. Continue reading My Latest Flame

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!

My Love for Star Wars

…or why Leia, Rey and Jyn are so important to me.

I want to thank Shelly for inviting to me to write another post for the Toy Photography blog.  Two of the topics that she suggested are:  “Your love for Star Wars” and “What is so important about Leia, Rey and Jyn?”.   This got me thinking: why do I love Star Wars and why am I drawn to these characters?

Continue reading My Love for Star Wars

Shooting Star [Wars]

Last week, I wrote about the #LEGOEaster photo contest. I talked about LEGO potentially finding you through the contest and maybe wanting to use your photos. This week, I was reminded of this happening when an email inviting me to participate in the LEGO Star Wars Days at LEGOLAND® again landed in my inbox.

One of the features of the LEGO Star Wars Days is a Fan Gallery, where LEGOLAND® host photographers from around the world that specialize in LEGO Star Wars. Participants are asked to send 6-8 photos that are shown alongside other LEGO photographers from around the world. At the end of the event, all the photos are raffled off to visitors. That’s cool! My photos might be hanging on the wall of a STAR Wars LEGO fan somewhere in the world. Continue reading Shooting Star [Wars]

Have Toys, Will Travel

Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

By “towel,” Adams meant “toys,” right?

I never travel without at least a few toys. No matter how far I go, I can carry a little piece of home with me, and as a bonus I have something to photograph when I get there!

Continue reading Have Toys, Will Travel

Behind the scenes of “These are not the droids…”

Another photo which I created for the Stuck in Plastic Star Wars contest is “These are not the droids we are looking for” and you can easily understand why I titled it that. What? Wait a minute? Haven’t I just written that I tried something different from my usual Benny and Mr. Robot adventures? Well, that isn’t exactly 100% true, as you can see here. I woke up one morning with this idea in my mind and I couldn’t help but take this photo. I kept chuckling. 🙂 Continue reading Behind the scenes of “These are not the droids…”