Off season podcast – Toy photography and humor

Humor and toy photography seems like a match made in heaven…or is it? In this second episode of the Toy Photographers Podcast mini season, we (Kristina and Shelly) talk about using humor as a tool in toy photography. Join us as we continuing our quest to find define exactly what toy photography IS.

The Images

During our exploration we will take a closer look at a few sample images provided by Shelly. And through our talk we find that it seems to be pros and cons to using humor as a tool to connect with a viewer. Sometimes it works, some times the images miss the point. During our conversation you get examples of how difficult it can be to use humor as a tool to connect with a viewer.
Fast Food by Shelly Corbett
Herding Cats by Shelly Corbett
Walking the Dog by Shelly Corbett

Do you use humor?

As always we love to hear how you use humor in your toy photography. Are you successful in using humor as a tool to connect with your viewers? Have you experience a joke falling flat due to culture differences? Because the toy photography community cross so many different cultures, do you consider this before you create your humors photos? Please share your experiences in the comments below. We want to know what you think!

The next episode

In our final episode of this off-season podcast series, the discussion will fall on the theme nostalgia. How do we use nostalgia as a tool to create images. We will explore how this theme connects our work, our childhood, with our toys and photography. But before we take on that topic, we love to hear about your experiences with humor.
Kristina and Shelly
Thank you for listening! 


  1. I think humor in toy photography is an important part of the genre. Humor goes a long way in delivering a message and expanding it’s reach. I like realism, but with toys it seems like there is a limit to the real. I recently saw an image that Jason (@doctornvrmore) erased the joints of a figure. It made it look better in this circumstance, but at the same time when you strive for realism with a toy it has a tendency to lean towards the psychological term of the Uncanny Valley for me. Keeping it light-hearted and fun adds a certain element of fun and humor really that drives it home and fits the true nature of toys.

  2. brett_wilson

    Another great episode Kristina and Shelly!

    Kristina, you can’t do funny? I disagree. I find a wonderful sense of humour within your contributions to the podcast. Maybe it’s not ‘quick’ as you put it, but it definitely shines through when I listen.

    And Shelly, “the humour stems from the quotation” in your photos? The quote adds to it, but I find the humour in the image well before I read the quotes. Maybe that’s because I know you and I understand your sense of humour? Hence, your sunset post still makes me giggle.

    Oh, I loved the “off my deck” side story too. One of my favourite photos from my trip to Seattle is the one I took my first morning there, on Shelly’s fence!

    Thanks for a fun and humourous listen.

    • Kristina

      Thank you Brett, I’m happy my humor comes to the surface in the podcast. My children says I’m totally boring (but what do they know about humor?) but I know that when I try to be funny people ususally don’t get it, I think to much 🙂

  3. Astrid

    Great Kristina and Shelly! … I see in your pictures again and again a good dose of humor. And I like that.
    Kristina I appreciate your picture descriptions very very much and all the interesting questions you ask too … not easy to answer 🙈

  4. Enjoyed the podcast!Kristina, I have always appreciated how you can look beyond some of the toy photos to find multi layered, sometimes deep meanings behind them. Hence, I always look forward to the monthly podcast between you and James for analysis of the pictures that are shared. Just like the total opposite of you, I can’t seem to create serious and deep stuff. I think true artist are able to do that.

    And Shelly, I love your cat herding picture! As both of you discussed, yes, sometimes, cultural differences definitely plays a part in us appreciating one another’s work. I had to google cat herding and learned something new today!

  5. There was a line or two in this episode that seemed to imply that some peoples (not the opinion of the hosts as far as I can tell) is that toy photography shouldn’t be taken seriously, because it often includes humour.

    We absolutely should take our work seriously, No question. Putting humour in our work is great, but that doesn’t make the work a joke, or mean we shouldn’t make it the best image we can.

    There are few harder working artists than comedians. They take their work amazingly serious. Sometimes working for years on a joke. Even tho the desired response to a work is to get someone to laugh, it doesn’t invalidate the seriousness of the effort put into the work.

    Regardless of whether you want to make the most serious image, or tell the most hillarious joke, be bloody minded about making it the best you can.

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