Why? by LouieBaton

The Toy Photographers Blog: What is your connection to LEGO?

Daniyel Garcia: I have been into LEGO ever since I was a kid. It was always the go-to toy for my brother and I. We had this old LEGO ideas magazine for LEGO castle system. There were many builds of yellow-bricked castles. Ours were multiple colored versions of the ideas in a smaller scale.

TTPB: How long have you been a toy photographer?

DG: I have been photographing my LEGOs with my beers before Instagram, I was using this beer tracking app called “Untappd,” which basically tracks every single beer I have drunk or tried. I was double posting on that and Instagram and started getting a lot of feedback on Instagram.

This fireside chat pic was the first pic to generate actual conversation with strangers thus boosting my hobby. It also got me a message from a marketing person at 21st Amendment.

TTPB: What is the origin of your Instagram name

DG: When my long time friend came back from one of his multiple tours in the Middle East, we had a conversation about the names of rappers. He asked how “Gucci Mane” is even a name, and we talked about “Timbaland”  also, and confirmed that brand names misspelled made great rapper names. I dubbed myself “Louie Baton,” a take on Louis Vuitton. I have been using that name on most of my online accounts, starting with XBOX live and other gaming accounts.

TTPB: I realize your main focus is beer and LEGO, has it always been this way?

DG: Pretty much for the past 4-5 years, beer has always been incorporated into my LEGO photography. It gives me ideas as to what I am going to make out of my LEGO.

This picture required 2 separate shots and photoshop. Still done in my old style, which really isn’t a style at all, really.

TTPB: What kind of equipment do you use: phone or DSLR?

DG: Right now I use a Samsung S6, basically my phone. I started off by using small Canon pocket camera, but I had to upload to a PC then move the picture from the PC to my phone. The Canon pocket camera took better pictures than my Sidekick LX (yes I know, I was totally into my Sidekick phones from the start, mainly because of the keyboard), but now newer phones basically take better pictures than most pocket cameras, and the fact that everything can be done on one device.

TTPB: Do you prefer studio or outdoor photography?

DG: I do prefer outdoor photography, but being mainly a stay-at-home dad, my outdoor options are limited. My wife allows me use of a corner in our bedroom to setup a Foldio lightbox next to a small beer fridge (that used to be the kid’s milk fridge).

This underwater shot, requires multiples shots and a review to get right. AND being in public trying to not look like a weirdo.

TTPB: What kind of studio set up do you have? Lights? Background? Light box?

DG: Just a $5 Ikea end table with a Foldio light box atop it. Sometimes, and this is rare, I’ll use a mirror/LCD TV combo only for backgrounds.

A more recent shot, employing the use of an LCD screen jpeg background, with prop and next to nothing in terms of building. The LCD technique learned from a friend @mbeach717 now @comradecrunk

TTPB: Do you really drink all that beer?

DG: Yes. I was addicted to just getting multiple check-ins on Untappd, but now it has come to the point where I get beermail sent to me so I can fashion a LEGO post for it. I am backlogged a bit, and there’s beer in the vegetable crisper and in the butter and eggs compartments in our main fridge.

TTPB: Did you know very much about beer before you started? Do you consider yourself an expert now?

DG: Before Untappd, my brother and I were keeping track of the beers we had on a blank 8.5×11″ sheet of paper kept on the fridge. It got filled front and back and we started a second page. A restaurant/beer chain opened up nearby called “Yard House” (yard house because they were serving beer in a tall bong-like glass that was a yard tall, for the past few years though they only do half-yards) and we memorized all of the tap handles. That was before how beer is now. It is now almost impossible to know every tap handle.

TTPB: Have you ever repeated a beer?

DG: Yes. There are some beers that are just that good, and/or just that popular that it warrants a second or third post. I feel that my LEGO building and photography skills have evolved at least a little bit over time.

I want to include this picture because it should show how far I have come along. There’s similar account(s) that coincidentally started doing beer and lego pics as soon as my account started taking off, and that still do this format. I am not proud of this picture at all, I am actually pretty ashamed of it right now.

TTPB: Have you ever been stumped for an appropriate image by a particular beer?

DG: Multiple times. More times than I can count. If it wasn’t sent to me, then I’ll secretly drink it. LOL. Well that’s also the beauty of Untappd. I feel like my posts aren’t wasted on there since I mainly use it for my own record keeping, whereas I have held myself up to a certain standard on Instagram.

TTPB: Do you have a goal for your beer and toy photography?

DG: Actually, now that the question has been asked. No. I just look forward to the next beer and the next tiny LEGO piece in the newest sets.

TTPB: What is the image you’re most proud of?

DG: I can’t say that there’s one single image I am proud of. I take pride in every build/photo that I do. Although, their have been builds/photos where I feel like I could have done better but for some reason gained a lot of traction, and builds/photos where I sat and took my time setting up and didn’t gain any traction.

This image is a pic of a build i did that im very proud of. i freestyle built it from the doorway as a start using a photo of the Toronado bar

TTPB: How long does it take you set up a photo?

DG: I try to do my LEGO builds in under 20 minutes. This does not account for the time I spend thinking about it, which is done while I am doing my daily tasks like driving my kid around or while I am brainstorming during one of my daily workouts/runs. The photo setup is only a couple minutes if any.

TTPB: Do you buy special parts when you plan for a photo for a particular beer?

DG: Yes. I have grown accustomed to researching new pieces, or even older pieces I do not yet own, on the LEGO bricks and pieces site, and on bricklink. I look at all new sets and look at what new piece is being introduced. LEGO sneaks in something new in most sets, and I feel the need to have it. Right now I need a dalmatian, I missed out on it in a past Advent calendar, and the firehouse it came in was too expensive for me, right now it’s available in the pricey Minifigure Fun at the Beach set, but I think he’s available on Bricks and Pieces on the LEGO site.

TTPB: What is the most surprising thing to have happened to you since your started?

DG: I still get surprised every time I am contacted about being paid or compensated for my work. I am still in the process of bringing myself up to this next level.

TTPB: Is it my imagination, or are you creating more complex custom builds for your photos?

DG: No, it is not your imagination at all. I am actually quite happy you have noticed. There are multiple other accounts that pose LEGO minifigures near beer and possibly have a silly little anecdote. That was my account 3-4 years ago. Not to distance myself from those origins, but it was getting stale for me. Here I have at my disposal an arsenal of LEGO and it wasn’t really being used. Now I think it through and  plan out every build to the tiniest 1×1 piece or LEGO friends accessory.

Basically, the start of building more elaborate scenes

TTPB: How does your family feel about your hobby? Your friends?

DG: My son loves that I go straight to the toy aisle so he can look too. He’s more into Hot Wheels Monster Jam, but he knows the deal. LEGO aisle first. That means both aisles, LEGO and DUPLO/Friends. I even buy him a set, pending I hopefully get the tiniest one piece I want out of that set. The wife gets it. And on vacations, I get to pick at least 1 beer place to visit. My friends just laugh. All know that I do stay away from my personal life and my hobby life from crossing paths online.

This was another “tricky” public shot. While in Hawaii, my wife allowed me to take this shot.

TTPB: Where do you want this to go from here? What do you envision the future to be?

DG: I envision what I am doing right now, as this is my hobby. Just building and drinking.

Daniyel Garcia (aka LouieBaton)

Dave: An Origin Story

It seems like every once and awhile someone creates a post about how they got into toy photography, and what they get out of it.  I figure its time that I go ahead and take a swing at that particular pitch and answer the how and why of my own particular journey into the realm of toy photography.

Ready?  Here we go…

The Shocking Truth Revealed!

I got into toy photography because I didn’t want to put on pants.

I’m not kidding.

Come along on a journey with me and I’ll tell you the tale.  It was a dark, cold, wintery evening back in December of 2012 (I’m assuming it was cold and wintry; I don’t actually remember the weather. It was definitely evening in December, so it seems plausible.  It makes for a better story so I’m going with it.)  

I had signed up for the Chrysta Rae Scavenger Hunt over on the Plus.  The hunt involves shooting an image for 10 separate words, one of which was “candy cane”.  If you recall the evening was (possibly) cold and wintry. The kids were in bed, so it may not surprise you that  I didn’t feel like going out of the house to find a shot.  So I decided to stage my own.  I looked around and discovered my old LEGO set from my long lost childhood. The kitchen contained a box of candy canes, and I scrounged an old Christmas tree skirt.  The solution was obvious (to me at least), and soon I had created this shot:

Continue reading Dave: An Origin Story

Why by Greater Beast

The first and few things I’ve ever stolen in my life was a crayon. I was two or three and my mom found it in my pants pocket one day after daycare. When she asked me about it, I said it was so fun and amazing I really wanted to draw all the time. She felt so bad she bought me a box the next day after telling me to never steal again. We returned the crayon back to the daycare. Continue reading Why by Greater Beast

What if why changes from way back when?

I’ve revisited photos, but I’ve neglected to revisit the question why.

Why then?

In June 2015 I was asked “why?” A lot has changed since then.

So, with all these changes, has my reason why changed too?

Let me premise this by saying that I’m not a photographer. Heck, I don’t even own a real camera. I’m just a knucklehead with an iPhone!

Back when I first tackled the seemingly simple question, my reason why revolved around the friendships I’d made. That hasn’t changed. But my motives have grown.

Two years ago, I resisted defining what I did as art. Since then, my photos shared the walls of an art gallery with the friends that were my reason back then. So, I guess I have to accept that I create art. Continue reading What if why changes from way back when?

Why? by Inner Brick

I was asked to write a post about how I use Lego. I looked through my Instagram account (Psychology in Pictures) and realized that its like a mirror to me. My models, my photos show my struggle in life. They’re reflections of my dark side. Their dark because I turned off the light. They’re in the dark because I put them into the cellar. Either way, they exist regardless whether I can see them or not.

But let me start at the beginning. Continue reading Why? by Inner Brick

Foolish Lego

First off, I’d like to introduce myself; In the real world, my name is Danny. Yet, ever since my first steps on the Internet – somewhere in early nineties – I am Dwaas. I am the keeper of foolishlego.com, the home of my Lego photography and webcomic. ‘Foolish Lego’ and Dwaas are special to me. Both partly born out of the feeling of wanting to escape (or make sense of) reality and for the other part born out of wanting to share stories.

Have you ever felt the desire to do something whilst knowing you just couldn’t do it? I used to feel like that. I had many shards of stories in my mind; images, words of wisdom (or quite the opposite), small scenes, undefined thoughts, etc.

As a kid, I got the ideas out of my head by playing in my own little childhood world. As an adult that world broadened and I couldn’t figure out how to give my ideas form anymore; I’m not a gifted writer, nor can I draw any good. I tried a personal blog (in Dutch), talking about all kinds of things that were on my mind but it just wasn’t it. Continue reading Foolish Lego

Art of the Blur

Even before Shelly asked me to provide my own two pennies worth (I am British after all, cents just wouldn’t do) I had read many of the previous ‘why’ articles and considered what answer I would give. And now to have been so kindly asked, I wanted to provide something new rather than covering similar ground to the past entries of others. You see I’ve always had a problematic need to seek my own uniqueness. 

From my point of view, I’d assume as photographers we all reasonably know or can at least to relate to the reasons why each of us does what we do. We’ve come together from all over the world after all, through the Internet because we’re likeminded people. And for me this means it seems a little too obvious for me to tell you all how I’ve lived with Lego all throughout my life, or profess my undying love for Star Wars and how I’m influenced by movies and the great Hollywood machine. I’d hope (rebellions are built on that by the way) that my photography would showcase these things without a need for any explanation. Continue reading Art of the Blur

Why? by The APhOL

I have to confess that writing this article about “why?” I like to photograph toys was challenging.

I’ve never thought about why I photograph toys, before. I was only following the butterflies in my stomach. But having to write the reason in “black on white”, I would answer that I’m a toy photographer, especially LEGO, because it’s incredibly fun. Continue reading Why? by The APhOL

Why? The 3 Things I love Most About Lego Photography

Hello Toy Photographers! My name is Kenton Anderson.

Me in lego form.

Since this is my first post on Toy Photographers let me introduce myself. I am a Full-Time Creative Director/Part-Time Photographer living in Salt Lake City, UT. I have been a photographer for about 10 years now and up until recently have mostly done weddings and family photography. Only recently have I discovered Lego Photography and have quickly become obsessed. Continue reading Why? The 3 Things I love Most About Lego Photography

Why by DoctorNvmore

Why?

Why ask Why? Ok, ok, focus…

Why do I do toy photography…….. I do it as a release of creative juices, a release of anguish, and a release for my own personal pleasure. Hmmm… maybe I should reword that…. nah.

My life is not everything I wanted it to be. My early life was wrought with some disturbing events that still haunt me and my current life is a grind to say the least. I’m not meaning to complain, many people have it far, far, far worse. I’ve often felt that all my opportunities have passed me by; traded in for security and a steady income to support my family. There are worse things in life, I know. I work lots of hours and make decent money, which tends to happen if you work lots of hours at one place… So it is what it is and while my focus is mostly on providing for my family, I need something for me. Continue reading Why by DoctorNvmore