Photographic styles. It took me a while to think and research on this subject and this blog took a couple of different directions while bits and pieces came to my mind about what I should write.
Rather than add to already well-written articles found online and here, I wish to share my own journey of discovery with respect to toy photography. Along the way, I hope you too share the same experience while discovering your own style.
I decided to write about this because I realized that every time I scroll through my social media feed, I am able to instantly recognize a particular toy photographer’s work because the image has a distinct look. Continue reading Styles
**Just a disclaimer, this is not a critique on Kristina’s recent post. I completely understand her point, and relate. If you read between the lines, this post even reiterates a few of her points. This is instead a response to comments I’ve read and heard in the toy photography realm at large.**
Product v. Commercial Photography
‘Product photography’ seems to be a four-letter word in the toy photography community. A fear of a corner you’ll be placed in, an insult… But I don’t think it’s something to even remotely stress over.
Yes, toys are in part products, but the photos we create of them tell stories – they’re not items shot to specific standards against a stark white background.
If you were commissioned by a company to make a toy photo to their specifications, in most cases it would be commercial or adversarial work, but still not quite product photography.
How does a photographer find their own photographic expression? Have you ever wondered? I often wonder if or when I’ll ever find or be content with mine. I often feel that I’m in search of my own expression, or for the right expression. This search has gotten me to see that there is some advice that I believe has helped me to define my style… Continue reading How and when did you find your photographic expression?
Recently when my friend Bricksailboat wrote a piece on style and talked about the elements that make up his personal style, it struck a cord with me. I have also been giving some thought to style and what makes my own photographs unique as well as struggling with how to stay relevant with my work. Continue reading My Style
OMG. I have a style. A Brick Sailboat photographic style. It wasn’t always there, I guess parts of it were, but now I see it clear as day. I see it in most of my shots. Consequently, my style is absent from every shot I decide NOT to share. Hundreds of discarded shots sent to the digital trash can. Poor things. All lacking that special something I want to see in my finished work.
Style doesn’t come easy, or quick. I didn’t really find mine until around shared-pic #400. Once I realized what the pictures of Brick Sailboat were all about, it has become so much easier to get the shots I want. When I’m having a frustrating day shooting, I take a moment and remember my style. It gets me back on track. People often ask what kind of camera I use. What they’re really asking about is the list below – what makes a Brick Sailboat shot!
The Brick Sailboat style (for now anyway):
I’ve got to get the focus right. Since I shoot primarily outdoors, this almost always involves natural light. More recently I’ve started using DIY reflectors to bounce the natural light into the faces of the figures (avoiding the dreaded sunline!).
I like to get in close…really close. Fire up that macro setting and let her rip.
I often shoot from below the subject (this sometimes involves building sets on stilts and/or digging a hole in the ground for my camera).
The background matters…a lot. Take pictures in wild places.
Stay candid. This is the most important. I want my minifigures to look like they would be having an adventure, even if I wasn’t there to photograph them. That means they rarely look directly into the camera. A lot of times there are figures in the background doing rather boring stuff – walking, checking their phone, doing what they do. I regularly crop parts of figures out of the frame. Turn heads, move arms & hands, make it look natural-ish.
Stick to the story. My pictures are connected by story. Not all pictures further the plot, but when they need to – they need to. Could the picture tell a story without a caption?
I can’t get comfortable in my style. Study others. Try to figure out what makes their shots unique. Experiment.
So, there you have it, the seven ingredients that make up my own personal style. I’m sure my list will grow as I continue to take pictures and study all of the great toy photographers here on SiP and beyond. What’s on your list? What makes your photos tick? What makes up your personal style?