I’ve written about Five Words to Define a Year in the past. In those posts I’ve been thinking more about my own personal journey than our larger, collective journey here on the blog. But all these end of year reflections we’ve been doing on the blog got me thinking: What five words would I come up with to guide the blog in 2019?

So I looked through a list of core values all the while keeping the blog in mind. Five words immediately jumped out at me. I ran these five words by the editorial team and we all thought that they not only made great goals for the blog, but they could also act as a way for us to judge our success at the end of 2019. Because honestly, its hard to judge if we’re being successful in our blogging mission?

So without further ado, here are…

Five Words to Define a Year


I’m challenging myself and all the members of our blogging staff to try to take better photos in 2019. How ‘better’ is defined is up to each individual photographer. We can challenge ourselves to learn a new skill, practicing our craft on a regular basis, or simply explore a new aspect of photography. I leave it up to each writer to define their own challenge.

For myself I will challenge myself to carve out time in my busy schedule to take photos every week. I look back on 2018 and I don’t see much improvement in my work. I attribute this lack of forward motion to the fact that I didn’t practice my craft. To achieve this goal I will be scaling back my writing on the blog. I will be moving from weekly posts to bi-weekly in 2019. My goal is to spend more time on photography so I can share what I learn here on the blog.

Whether we succeed or fail in our individual goals is not really important. But we will bring back our discoveries and adventures and share them with you.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. ~ Greg Anderson


On the blog we want to celebrate the creativity of our crazy toy and photography loving community. We will do this through guest blog posts, our Six Image Narrative series and through our own photographic process. We want to be inspired by your creativity and in turn inspire you in your own photographic journey.

Creativity flows when curiosity is stoked. ~ Neil Blumenthal


I promise that in 2019 we will not take ourselves too seriously! We need more laughter and silliness in the world! And for gosh sakes, we’re toy photographers not Michelangelo! We need to embrace the insane, the improbably, the foolish. If we cant bring a smile to your face then we’ve failed not only you our readers, but ourselves as toy photographers.

Life is much too serious to be taken seriously. ~ Vicki Lawrence


One of the foundations of the Toy Photographers blog is respect. We respect all types of photographers and toys. It doesn’t matter if you use a mobil device or enjoy taking photos of Smurfs, we welcome you to our community. It is through diversity of experience and approach to our particular toys that we learn and grow.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. ~ Bryant H. McGill

Self – development

Each of our regular writers here on the blog is committed to self development. We all want to push our selves to learn new skills (see challenges above). By committing ourselves to pursuing self development we are hoping to bring a higher level of posts for you to read. We’re changing the focus of the blog slightly in 2019. Instead of multiple posts on how fun toy safaris are (I think you know that by now) how about more posts on lighting, photoshop techniques, camera equipment and storage ideas? Would you like to see more posts showing a behind the scenes peek at how some of these magical photos are created? I know I would!

My own goals for self development include more studio work, creative lighting effects, exploring different lenses and creating original stories to accompany my photos. As I explore these topics I will share what I learn along the way. I’m sure my fellow blog mates have their own goals for 2019 and I look forward to learning from them as they challenge themselves too!

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” ―John Wooden

In Conclusion

Now that we have five words to guide us in the new year its time to say good by to 2018 and get ready for 2019. While 2018 had its ups and downs I feel good about what we accomplished. We not only had one, but three successful toy meet-ups around the world. And while G+ threw us a curveball, we landed on our feet on other social platforms: MeWe and Flickr.

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. ~ Dalai Lama

In Gratitude

A blog of this size could not be created by any one person. Brett and I are owe a debt of gratitude to Lizzi, James and Dave who have helped to guide and support the blog throughout the year. I’m so proud of James and how his podcast has flourished this year. 42 episodes!! Way to go James!! Lizzi has been invaluable in sharing her expertise managing the technical side of the blog and spearheading our weekly newsletter. And Dave – we love your sense of humor and your independent thinking!

Of course we couldn’t do any of this without you, our readers. Your comments on the blog as well as following us on other social media sites help to keep us inspired. Thank you! If you’re interested in becoming involved with the blog in a larger way I encourage you to join our MeWe or Flickr communities. Or simply drop me a note and we can figure out how you can contribute.

From all of us here at Toy Photographers we wish you a happy and safe holiday surrounded by family and friends. We will all see you back here on January 2nd.

~ Shelly

We have one more post to share with you tomorrow before we close down for our winter break. Please stop back to check it out and any other posts you missed this year!