The San Francisco toy photographers meet up is one month away and honestly I can’t wait! I’m excited to see my wonderful friends that I haven’t seen since September. I also get to meet long time internet friends like Ballou34 and Reiterlied. Plus there are more than a few new faces signed up that I will meet and happily welcome to the madness.

What started out three years ago as a small gathering of friends separated by a move, has grown into a much anticipated annual event. Its hard to imagine that our humble begins in Las Vegas has grown into an event supported by both Google and The Lego Group. Even with this success, our highest priority is the fun factor.

We must be doing something right because former attendees keep coming back. I’m not exaggerating when I say that spending multiple days with friends and strangers photographing toys is about the most fun a dedicated toy photographer can have.

For most of us, we take our toy photos alone; either in the field or in the studio. Rarely do we have the experience of hanging out with other toy photographers; talking shop, sharing toys, sharing locations and learning new skills.  Sure were a pretty social bunch on the Inter-webs. In our G+ community we share behind the scenes photos, talk tech and share information on cool camera gear. While I enjoy this community, I know from past experience that sharing this type of information is a whole lot more fun when done over a burger and beers.

To be able to talk about your latest toy purchase and not have your friends subtly (or not so subtly) role their eyes is refreshing. Or to be able to excitedly talk about other great toy photographers in a group and have others actually know who you’re talking about is a joy. Of course being able to share your passion for toys and photography and not feel like a freak…is priceless. Even if for only a few days.

If any of this peeks your interest and you will be near sunny San Francisco in mid-May we would love to welcome you to our event. If you’re on the fence or curious what we will be up to, here is rough schedule of our planned events:

Thursday May 11th, evening: dinner at Google headquarters
Friday, May 12th : Sutra Baths in the morning, Golden Gate Park in the afternoon, Pier 39 in the evening
Saturday, May 13th: Fort Cronkite in the morning, Albany Bulb in the afternoon / golden hour
Sunday, May 14th: a morning stroll through Sausalito

In addition to enjoying these photographic locations, we will be having a White Elephant gift exchange on Friday. For those interested we will have a photo exchange on Saturday evening. New this year, will be running three contests on Friday and Saturday complete with prizes from The LEGO Group. We will be inviting both attendees and non-attendees to help judge the winners so watch out for our hashtag: #SFToyPhotoSafari. Also new this year, swag bags that include cool gifts from Lego, Google and a custom figure from Krash_Override.

This years entry for coolest give away at a toy photographers meet-up. Thank you Dennis for your time and your creativity!

If this sounds like a fun way to spend a weekend, drop me a note through “Contact” form to the left. I can answer specific questions and let you know how to officially register.

~ Shelly

I realize that our toy community is world wide and that California is just too far away for most people. But did you know that Lizzi S arranges toy meet ups in and around London? Or that StuckinPlastic will be hosting a meet up in Scotland this year? Or that our good Luigi just hosted his first meet up in Cremora, Italy? The fine folks of Brickstameet organize toy meet-ups in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, Australia. Friend of the blog, Jennifer is looking to start a group in Florida so reach out if you’re in her area. If you’re in Ohio check with Jason, who’s a part of the Ohio Toy Kicks. If you can’t make SF, there’s no reason you can’t join another fun group! 

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This image was specifically created by FathersFigures for our SF event. David will be one of the many talented photographers at this event wiling to share his toys and his secrets to amazing toy photography. Thank you David for being awesome!!