One year, 365 photos: a toy photography project

Every year I try to have some kind of a photography project. That might be 100 themed photos, 52 weeks projects (1 photo a week) or a 365.

A 365 is where you take a photo every day. I did it last year and I woke up on January first and decided to do it all again. This time, a toy photography only project though.

Am I crazy? Probably.

Am I happy I decided to do it? That depends on when you ask me!

If you ask me that question when it’s 10pm and I still haven’t worked out what to take a photo of, I’ll probably say no. If you ask me that question when it’s early on a Sunday morning and I’m out in the garden taking pictures in the frost, I’ll probably say yes.

This is what my year looks like so far. As of writing, it’s the 8th February. Day 39.

Layout of 39 toy photos

I’m seeing a few themes in my photos so far. Nothing intentional, as this year was meant to be a free-form toy photography learning experience! I’ve spotted four things that seem to be a feature so far.

Fairy Batman with coffee

1. That’s a lot of minifigures, especially from the Batman series. I seem to have taken only a few photos that don’t feature minifigures. I think that this comes down to how fun it’s been to shoot the new collectable series, as well as the fact that it tends to be my default thing to take photos of!

LEGO boy with pink umbrella

2. I have an addiction to that pink umbrella. It’s my favourite accessory to photograph. I think I might need to get an umbrella in some different shades though! Poor Spooky Boy wasn’t impressed!

Teddy bear with Darth vader

3. Teddy bears keep cropping up as well. Maybe it’s the time of year where you really just need to hug a teddy bear and snuggle up. Even if you are Darth Vader.

Batgirl close up

4. My favourites from this year are the faded against the light photos, almost all taken around 5pm on the tree in the garden. This is my ‘go-to’ spot after work, usually for a short 10 minute photo session before the sun sets. As the season changes to Spring, the sun will hopefully arrive a little later, ready for me to have a longer session photographing!

Accidental themes aside, I have a few aims for this year of toy photos.

A couple of my aims are more social than directly photography based. Firstly, I want to be more engaged in the online toy photography community so I’m taking another go at getting into using G+ more often! Secondly, I want get outside of my garden every now and then! One way i’m doing this is by arranging a London toy photography meet up! So if you are around London on March 25/26, come and meet me and a bunch of other toy photographers from all over Europe for a photo safari along the river! More info.

Photography wise, I want to try and find my style. I’m not saying I want all my photos to look the same, but I want something that talks to me. I’m feeling a few different directions that this might go, so it’s something to play with. It’s definitely going to involve sunlight though, as despite buying an LED set, it’s still my favourite way to light photos.

Do you have a photo project going on this year? Do you see similarities in what you shoot and when you do it? What are your aims for the year? Let me know in the comments!

– Lizzi


  1. Great project to take on, and a beautiful beginning, I wish you luck in completing your first 365 images!

    I tried a 365 self portrait project back when they were all the rage, I think I got to about 42 days before my life took over. I did it with the aim of becoming more comfortable in front of the camera, having always stood behind it. But coming up with ideas that I would find interesting, that I could fit into my day, became difficult.

    Then last year I decided to do the whole month of February and challenge myself to come up with a Lego photo that would fit the daily themes from the FMSPhotoADay Challenge. I think having those prompts helped. And I made it through the whole month. But like you’ve mentioned, I often found myself up at 11:30 pm trying to get the shot right for the day’s post. 😛

    Looking forward to watching as your year progresses. I certainly found, even over that one month of February, how my style changed and how I found I was making better looking (IMHO) images.

    • Thank you! I did manage a 365 self portrait challenge back in the day, but it’s NOT something I would ever want to do again! I really prefer being behind the camera!

      Your month sounds good! Congrats for doing it! Are you planning on doing any more projects? I find prompts helpful too, or giving myself mini-themes to work to for short periods!

  2. Oh, good luck on the 365! I did a 730 in 2013 and 2014 and I found it was very difficult. Especcialy on special days, or vacation, conferences or on days that I was sick… or didn’t really have time. I did learn a lot truth to be said. Comparing the photo’s from the beginning to the ones from now they show a large difference. I took a two year break and the most profound thing I noticed that I lost a lot of inspiration without the daily deadlines looming over me.
    This year I started again. I want to learn more about (studio) lighting and composition, and in the summer I hope to have some time to head outdoors a little more again. Besides that I’m experimenting a little… so some of the photo’s are that much to look at haha (but some of them I really like). I didn’t name it a 365 yet…. but up until now, it has been. Day 45 today 🙂
    The daily Lego-photo’s combined with the Foolish Lego-comic two times a week… let’s just say it’s been keeping me busy! It’s tough sometimes, but I love doing it, clearing my mind, stepping into the world of my “little friends”.

    So again good luck! You’re of to a great start, there are already a couple of beauties in there. 🙂

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment! And for your good luck wishes! I think I may need them! I too find that when I don’t have a photo project, I tend to ignore my camera more and I really don’t want to stop my current photographic momentum! So another year it is!

      Congrats on making it to day 45 of your project! I think we all have days when doing this type of thing where we really couldn’t care for the results … but I think being able to push through those days is why we take on ridiculous projects like this! 😉 Good luck with it if you choose to continue (for however long!)

  3. Leila @brickandmordor

    I love your pink umbrella obsession! I admire people who do the photo-a-day thing. It’s a lot of work! I tend to just be prolific on my photo outings so I’ll have a backlog to choose from. Thankfully my supply usually lasts until the next photo outing and I never run out.

    • Thank you Leila! I’m glad you like the pink umbrella obsession! Ha!

      I think we all work in different ways with how we take photos! As long as we all continue to shoot in some way, I think it’s all good and equal! It’s all about what works for each of us!

  4. I find it interesting that you say you want to find your own style. I’ve been following you on Flickr almost since I started following toy photographers. Since then you’ve always been among the people that inspired me most and one of the reasons is that I’ve always found you have a very distinctive style. Your style has probably evolved since those early days but usually I don’t need to read your name when you post a photo to know its yours.

    That said I understand your concern about discovering it. It’s been my concern too for a long time but at some point during the past year, I simply stopped caring. I still don’t know if I have a style, but I know I only have a chance to get one by creating photos that follow my vision, and being aware of why I take them and what I want to put inside them.

    Anyway the beginning of the year looks very promising and I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with this year 🙂

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I think part of this looking for a style thing comes down to being comfortable (or not) with how and why I take toy photos. Perhaps some of it is a confidence thing, but your comment has really given me some food for thought!

  5. Shelly Corbett

    Lizzi, I really admire that you have embarked on this 365 project. It’s amazing to see your thought process in these photos. I’m looking forward to seeing your style develop as the year progresses. I hope that you will take this opportunity to take lots of chances and push yourself creatively. We will be there to cheer you on as the year progresses. Cheers and don’t forget to have fun! Shelly

  6. Ann Van Breemen

    Wow. I don’t think, no, correction, I KNOW I couldn’t be that disciplined to commit to a 365 day challenge. A one month challenge would be hard enough. I admire your tenacity and dedication. I’m with Leila @brickandmordor. I go out and take a heap all at once and hope they will get me through till the next session. I too am trying to find my style but that’s been an ongoing thing for all of my 50 years of photography. (lol) I think that I may never find it. Good luck for the rest of the year. I hope you keep finding inspiration for more wonderful photos.

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