The Basics – Close-up filters

What is a close-up filter? Close-up filters are basically reading glasses for your camera lens. They are a nifty, and extremely inexpensive, way to turn any lens into a macro lens.

You heard me right. You can change the focal length of your lens by simply screwing on a close-up filter. Think of them as reading glasses for your lens.

I love my 90mm Sony lens. In fact I adore it, but it never seems to get me as close as I want to be to my subject. While I love the incredible details in LEGO mini figures, i’ve been unable to capture them adequatly. It is these small details and flourishes that inspire me to photograph these toys. Continue reading The Basics – Close-up filters

Three is a Magic Number

Three is a magic number… for me. Like the three legged stool, The Marx Brothers, The Three Musketeers, the three primary colors and the original Star Wars trilogy. I feel there is a special power to anything that come in threes. Not one, not two, not four and definitely not five – the magic number is three.

I believe in the power of three so much that I often photograph my mini figures in sets of three. I even collect major accessories in threes and I leave emoji comments on Instagram in threes. Continue reading Three is a Magic Number

Who is your audience?

Who is your audience seems a rather silly question to be asking. Obviously if you’re posting your photos to social media your audience is your followers. Two years ago I wrote a post called An Audience of One. This was a post reaffirming that the most important person that I’m taking photos for is me.

In that post, I also gave a passing nod to my followers who enjoy my photos and comment on them. But honestly, I would not have considered the reactions or needs of these fans when I set up my photos. Recent events have made me reconsider this position. Continue reading Who is your audience?

Lightness: A Photo Challenge

Our most recent photo challenge in the Toy Photographers G+ Community is Lightness. We want to see how you can express a word with many meanings through your toy photography.  Because the month is nearly half over; its time to get serious about the competition. For this reason I want to talk about the idea of Lightness and what it means to me. I believe a single word can inspire creativity.

Here are a few meanings for the word Lightness and my own interpretations:

the state or quality of being light in weight

Flying shots are a staple of many toy photographers. The ability to create the illusion of flight, motion, swinging is important if your toys fly through the air, either on wings or by the use of webs. Continue reading Lightness: A Photo Challenge

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is what you do to avoid excessive amounts of post production and as much future image chasing as possible. While working on a macro scale, paying attention to the little details can make or break a photo. While I enjoy spend my photo adventures chasing “that” shot, occasionally, I do like to succeed. Usually I’m forced to ‘chase’ a photo not because I’m seeking the perfect light or location, but because I missed something important. I wasn’t paying attention to the details.

Sometimes I miss flotsam in the water or a bit of tack showing under a mini figures foot. At other times a leaf or blade of grass is a distraction in the frame. And that is just a few of the details that can escape the eye when photographing in the great outdoors. It is these little details that I need to be hyper aware of when setting up my scene. If I’m successful, I can save myself hours of post production work.

Continue reading Attention to Detail

Have Something to Say

“You don’t photograph because you have a camera. You photograph because you have eyes and you have something to say.”  Robert Frank

When I was in Chicago recently I saw this quote on the wall of an exhibit of Robert Frank photos. Even though Robert Frank helped to define the genre of street photography, his ideas on photography are useful across all genres; even toy photography.

I was out with two friends recently for a full days adventure of toy photography (and fishing). I came prepared. In my box of toys, I had many little potential scenes ready to go. I only needed to find the perfect backdrop and lighting. Continue reading Have Something to Say

Toy Photography Starter Set

Recently The LEGO Group offered a free toy photography starter set with a minimum purchase. Why am I calling it a toy photography starter set? Because this cute little set has everything the budding toy photographer needs to take fun photos while on vacation!

This set resembles an older set (LEGO #7567, The Traveler) and might be confused for a simple update. It wouldn’t be the first time The LEGO Group has updated an older set. But, if you’re a toy photographer, you will see this set for what it really is: a toy photography starter kit! If there was any doubt that the LEGO Group wants to support and encourage our crazy little hobby, this should erase all doubts. Continue reading Toy Photography Starter Set

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?