For this image I wanted a story that gave a glimpse into the personalities of the squeeze toy aliens. In the movie they are portrayed as passive, cultish beings waiting for the claw to take them to a better place. So it made sense to me that deep down they would enjoy hearing stories about other aliens that were aggressive and ferocious – something they could aspire to, at least in fantasy.
Behind the Scenes
The setup was pretty straight forward. I wanted to find or create a location that was very colorful, as if taking place in Andy’s room among other toys. I ended up creating the scene in my office, in front of some book shelves that were full of colorful props and toys. Some time ago I created a very simple adjustable platform that can be raised to different heights for setups like this. It’s a piece of wood that screws onto a cheap light stand. Once secured it can be raised or lowered as needed. The shelf full of toys that I wanted as my background is around 4 feet off the ground, so I just raised the platform to that height and was ready to go. A little note on the red baby shoe Woody is sitting in – that’s my daughter Angie’s baby shoe. She turned 17 in February and I’ve been feeling nostalgic ever since.
Here’s another image showing the complete stand.
Lastly, I needed to create the tiny book that Woody would be reading to the aliens. I did this by designing and drawing the book cover in Photoshop, printing it out to size, and pasting it onto a small random instruction booklet I had lying around (which I cut to a more appropriate size for Woody). A big part of my toy photography is problem solving, and it took me a little while to figure out the best way to create this book. Using the instruction booklet was perfect as it had all the pages already – something I felt was critical to making the book believable.
Equipment Used: Canon 5D Mark III with the Canon 135mm f2L lens, shot at f/2. ISO 640, 1/640 sec. My office window faces west and is flooded with light in the afternoon, so natural light was all that was required.
The Final Image