Last summer I was invited by Joe Meno to work on a BrickJournal collaboration. My job as guest editor was to curate an amazing group of LEGO photographers, plus offer up toy photography lessons for a traditionally brick-centric magazine. Now that the fruits of our labor is arriving at the homes of subscribers and is available for purchase, it’s time to talk about this amazing opportunity!

Rough start

While I’m super excited by the results of this BrickJournal collaboration, I did get off to a rough start. Guy Himber recommended me to Joe Meno (thanks, Guy!) as the person to pull together an issue devoted to LEGO minifigure photography. Even though Joe and I hit it off immediately, I somehow I got my deadlines all messed up. I thought I had a few months to line up my featured artists and the photographers who would offer up their wisdom in the form of how-to articles. So when I received an email in mid-July asking me to start sending over the finished articles and photos, I had a small major panic attack. WTH? I thought everything wasn’t due until September!

Lucky for me, I work with amazingly talented and professional toy photographers. Almost all of the folks I reached out to for help stepped up and sent me images, blurbs and articles in record time! I’m forever grateful to this community for having my back and helping to create this BrickJournal collaboration!

Featured photographers

It’s always difficult to pick artists to feature. Due to my deadline snafu, some of that choice was made for me. The artists who I chose to be featured are all talented photographers, but they were also able to meet the deadline. While not an optimal yardstick, our community has a deep talent pool. All six of these artists are amazing and represent the diversity of our community. BrickJournal issue #71 features the wonderful work of:

While most, if not all, of these photographers are known to you, they each thoughtfully gave us a peek at either a behind-the-scenes or studio set up. It’s always a treat to get a glimpse of another photographer’s workflow. No matter how many I see, I always learn something new!

How to photograph toys

Because this issue is intended to appeal to more than toy photographers, I was asked to provide articles with a learning element. Of course I turned to the Toy Photographers team of amazing creatives for their knowledge. If you haven’t discovered our amazing “How-to” section of the blog, maybe this will be your incentive to explore what we have hidden in our earlier articles.

Our articles included Tomek Skog demonstrating that you don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to take toy photos. Anyone can get started with a simple phone camera. Or if you want to travel light on your next holiday, consider ditching the big camera and heavy lenses, and challenge yourself to use your phone. His article will inspire you to give it a try!

Alan Rappa wrote about how to get started with simple studio lighting. He covers the basics of studio lighting so that you to can set up your own mini studio like the pros!

For my contribution I tried to reduce 10 years of outdoor toy photography knowledge into less than 1,000 words. I think I do a pretty good job of relating the essential tools you need to get started with outdoor photography. But I will let you be the judge!

Tom Milton shows us how to take our toy photography to the next level! While not everyone has an opportunity to photograph with a specialty lens like Tom, he really shows what’s possible when you begin experimenting. This is probably the best opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at his set up and process. Hint: Its amazing!!

Even more toy photographers!

In addition to these amazing articles, this BrickJournal collaboration included even MORE toy photographers. Because I’m in love with this community, I wanted to involve as many photographers as possible. I also wanted to show that there is a place for everyone, from beginner to master, in this diverse community. Below is a list of the amazing toy photographers who shared their work as well as a few words about what toy photography means to them.

In conclusion

While this issue has a few flaws (I’m sure there is more than one typo we didn’t catch), I’m so proud of what we created together. To go from absolutely nothing to a full-blown magazine in exactly four weeks was a miracle. So if you think back to mid-July through mid-August and I was more stressed than usual, it was because I had a miracle to pull out of my hat. With the help of every single person listed (and a few who aren’t) we were able to pull that miracle off!

I encourage you to support BrickJournal by buying issue #71. If the sales are within Joe’s expectations we will be doing this again in 2023. There are so many toy photographers I would love the chance to feature; both in long articles and as part of the gallery. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the community or one of our early members, good work should be appreciated and acknowledged.

I’m grateful for Joe Meno and BrickJournal for allowing me this opportunity to celebrate our community and hopefully turn a few more folks onto the joys of LEGOgraphy!

Tell your friends!