My take on traveling with toys

To travel with toys

I travel a lot for work. And during this summer my family and I were on a three week journey in California. So with that experience I thought that I too, like Jennifer, Reiterlied, James and many more before them… ought to give you my thoughts about traveling with toys. Or being a toy photographer while traveling.

I work in small circles

But before I start, you have to understand that I photograph toys in a really limited area. I have a tendency to limit my photography a lot because that is me, I like to play safe 😉

In my latest project I have limited myself in terms of the subject, the choice of photo spaces and when I photograph to get the light I prefer. One way to look at this is that I have tight boundaries for ‘where’ and ‘how’ I photograph. These boundaries are challenged when I’m traveling or when I find myself in a new place. A journey makes it impossible for me to know where I can photograph or how the light will be. This is a huge challenge. To be totally honest, I usually don’t photograph toys when I travel.

Traveling means that I have to find places to work in. I have to find out when, where and how to make my images. I have to find the answers to questions like: when and where is the best time to get the light the way I like? Or how windy will it be? Or will I find a place in the rain where I can work or not? If I don’t find the answers Im looking for, what is my plan B? And all of this in a place that is new to me…  This makes the process of creating an image a much bigger and much more difficult process than normal.

A good day…

A good day traveling with toys can be a positive challenge. It is a day which makes me see and find new solutions. Traveling while in the midst of a 365-project gives me an opportunity to look at light in a new way, to look at my subject in a new context. But a less good day traveling with toys is just a struggle, a must – a picture should be taken or rather done (because of the 365 project).

No, I’m not spontaneously saying: “Yippie” to the idea of traveling with toys … I prefer to photograph where I can plan my process… in an environment that I know or am familiar with and where I can read the light. Working in a new setting is too much of a surprise. I prefer to work in the same place over and over again to get to know the light, how it changes during the day and how I can work with it. I need time, and traveling with toys doesn’t always gives me the opportunity to do that.

But sometimes I get lucky. Like when we stayed in a home in Fresno, CA for an extended stretch of time. I was able to examine the light and the photographic possibilities in the backyard. I was able to do make the most of the light and the limitations that came with the subject and the surroundings. And luckily I got some amazing images like those below. But most of the time when I’m traveling with toys I have to work in light that is too hard or a setting I can’t control. This forces me to create images that are just ”ok” or replicas of better ones I have done before…




  1. Tony Tulloch

    Kristina, as you probably know I am a intermittent follower of the blog (sporadic at best, and always late to comment when I do). However, when I do get around to reading your posts I always think: “yeah, that’s me; I think that (or do that)”.

    The post above is no different. A few month’s back I promised myself and others that I would take a box of toys with me on my trip to Europe. It was an uncomfortable thought as, like you, I like to be in control, or at least understanding, of my setting. Often I stray no further than the front or back yard; so getting ready for a cruise and three separate countries was a serious task for me. Limited space and time is a pain in my world and I struggled through the vacation with only a handful of toy shots in the almost 3,000 snapped. I constantly forgot to take the toys with me; and when I did, I fretted that they would fall out of my pocket, or over the railing into the Aegean.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to prefer to snap my toys in a controlled environment.

    Thanks for another excellent post. I look forward to reading more.

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