Too many new toys, not enough photography

Warning: this post contains self-indulgent meandering thoughts around the lack of photography in my life right now. Feel free to skip over this post and go explore the new MeWe community or the new Flickr group instead if you don’t feel like reading!

It was with interest that I read Teddi’s post a few weeks ago about fighting the pitfalls of toy collecting.

For me, my current problem isn’t quite that I’ve spent too much money (just don’t count it up!) but that I’m drowning in un-photographed toys.

That’s right. I have a pile of toys that I’ve just not got around to shooting. (This can’t only be me though, right?)

I’ve been pretty open about this on Instagram about this, but I am currently drowning in anxiety and it’s really affecting my desire to take photos. So instead, I sit and stare at the collection of new toys on my desk, with ever increasing guilt about abandoning them and not taking photos.

The lost toys

Here’s what I can think of that I have purchased or been given that I still haven’t photographed:

  • A series of Fabuland figures, hard-fought for on eBay, including two walruses, a cow, a hippo and a rabbit
  • Two Disney animator series figures – a tiny little Carl (from Up!) and some sunflowers
  • A good few Moomins (although Papa Moomin did have an outing on the London Toy Safari)
  • Everything I got from my White Elephant gift exchange at the toy safari (including two Playmobil figures, a minion and a couple other bits)
  • the Hogwarts Express
  • tiny toy dinosaurs

That’s a pretty epic list in my world, and I really need to start pushing myself to get them out and to shoot some of these guys. If only to stop that guilty feeling when I look at other toys to buy.

It’s not a total wipe out though. I have managed to take some photos of one of my new toys – my Hasbro K2-SO figure. He’s had just two photos taken recently – one at a local instameet, and one for Guy Fawkes night with a sparkler.

Watching night fall over the river.

It’s really hard to feel this lack of interest in what has been one of my grounding hobbies for the last 5 or so years (and photography itself for even longer). I worry that if I don’t start making myself take photos of my new toys, or even some old ones, that it will just become a longer stretch of time between shooting photos. That it will stop being my hobby. (I’m sure it won’t!)

This isn’t even the first time this has happened. Back in May I had a much shorter period of not photographing toys and I got over it. But because of other life drama going on right now, this feels a bit more serious. I’m feeling a lot less grounded about life in general and it’s having a serious impact on feelings of creativity. That spark is just not there.

OK, there was a spark or two here

What else?

This all said, I’m really thankful that at least it’s not a lack of interest in the community that surrounds toy photography.

Whilst I’m not posting photos or diving into Instagram, I am watching the new MeWe community begin with interest. I’m also working on a project for the end of the year, and I’m putting together and pushing out the weekly newsletter (have you signed up yet?)! So it’s not a total loss. I’m still here, I’m holding on. I just wish I could get that inspiration to form itself into something a little more tangible with that pile of toys! At least then there won’t be so much guilt when the Christmas toys come out!

How are you feeling right now? Is your creativity alive and well, or are you struggling a little bit? How’s your toy collection coming along? Is it all well-photographed, or are you stockpiling like me? Let me know in the comments!

  • Lizzi


  1. I don’t think a pile of toys and no photography is the end of the world. I collect toys all the time. There is a growing pile of unopened Muppets figures in my shop and at least three crates of LEGO sets unopened full of possibilities. I done worry about it, their time will come when an idea hits. Lizzi I wouldn’t stress about the photography. In my experience when life is up in the air – its really hard to be creative. If it comes it comes and if it doesn’t … maybe its time for a new hobby.

    In the mean time thank you so much for all you do for the blog behind the scenes! I look forward to the newsletter every week!!!

    • Enid

      This is an awesome idea take a picture of the pile I kind of feel as I was reading my life story. I have camera, lights toys and nothing comes to me. I even thought of going to Disney to get some creativity juices floating Inside my mind and nothing not even the trip so I hear you you’re not alone.

  2. Tommaso @tomsbricks

    This was a very good read. I totally see myself in your words. Recently I stumbled across a bunch of figs I bought and never got a pic or an idea about them. Here is what I did, that maybe could help you: I did a small box with those figs, and every time I go out to take some pics I bring it with me and try to find some ispiration. I hope this can help you.

  3. Janan

    Thanks for sharing what you’re going through Lizzi and being self-aware is important!

    I do have that issue too but probably at a smaller extent as I don’t have a huge toy collection. I do have figures that I’ve set up in poses for ages which I’ve been meaning to shoot but haven’t done so. They often require outdoor scenes and setup which I just haven’t factored time in for during the weekend.

    If there’s one tip I could offer that helped me is just to put the camera aside and play with them toys, enjoying them as they are. I find that I don’t appreciate their sculpt or design as much as I could sometimes and toys are so well made these days!

    Nonetheless, you do amazing behind the scenes work for the community and I hope you find what you need within the community too during this period.

  4. I think sometimes you just have to take time for yourself and not creating is more than okay. I have a bunch of toys I’ve never shot and I go through spans of this all the time and beat myself up for it, but the drive always comes back eventually. For example, I’ve been super into the series I’m currently working on, and have created over 50 images for it, but the days I’ve actually shot those images go like this – Aug 27 & 28, Sep 2, Oct 10 & 11, Nov 24. So basically I’ve been shooting once or twice a month. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about what to make off and on, or one day I went out and shot some nature instead. I think it’s all about finding a balance and letting your brain take time off sometimes.

    • Lizzi

      Thanks Tourmaline. I think because I got into the habit of almost daily shooting, I can’t help but feel bad when a month goes by! Just something I’m going to have to learn about myself and move on from! My brain is certainly enjoying the time off right now! 😉

  5. Enid

    This is an awesome idea take a picture of the pile I kind of feel as I was reading my life story. I have camera, lights toys and nothing comes to me. I even thought of going to Disney to get some creativity juices floating Inside my mind and nothing not even the trip so I hear you you’re not alone. Thanks Lizzi for sharing 📸

  6. Not every toy needs to be shot, and not every shot needs a different toy.

    I have a ton of toys, LEGOs and action figures, that I have bought, but never gotten around to shooting. Normally, unless I have a very specific shot in mind, toys sit around for a while before they get attention from my camera.

    I think of my toy box as a place of possibilities waiting for the inspiration to strike. It is an idea and prop bank. Many times I’ve come up with ideas months or years after I bought the toy, and was able to ride the wave of inspiration to completion because of the investments I made a long time before.

    Besides, since toys are only sold retail for a short moment in time (relatively speaking) it may not be possible to find that toy when you need it, so get it when you can.

    Plus, at worst most toys, especially LEGO, if kept clean and in good shape, will keep their value so if you ultimately decided you don’t want it anymore, you can likely sell it for a profit.

  7. Astrid

    Dear Lizzi,
    thank you very much for your post. I know these phases of non-photography so well! I can hardly stand it when it happens on my vacation (like this year). All my toys (new and old) were in their boxes and my head was empty. I doubt then myself and my imagination and creativity. And then … without knowing why …. I have an idea again and can finally take pictures. I understand: whenever my heart is busy with other things, I stop taking pictures. That has taken almost a year already. Lizzi, be patient and wait and eventually you’ll feel like shooting your toys again … and if not, another path will open up.
    Warmest greetings Astrid

  8. My brain has been full up lately with working on developing some websites and making creative content for a couple of other ventures. So my new toys are piling up, too, and my Instagram lacking new content. Totally relate, Lizzi.

    Last year I had a long period where I didn’t feel like photographing my favorite figure anymore. It was sad, and I wondered if I’d ever start shooting Kanan again. Eventually, it passed and I took a bunch more pics. So I’m hoping it’s the same sort of thing — it will pass with time. I hope it does for you, too!

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