Hello! My name is Daria-Maret (@dariamaret) and I’m a teacher for Music, Maths and English at a Comprehensive School in Hannover, Germany. While German is my primary language, I also speak English, French, Italian and a little Spanish. I started photographing quite a while ago. In the beginning my focus was mostly macro photography of flowers and plants well as landscape photography until I discovered toy photography.
How long have you been a toy photographer and what attracts you to this hobby?
I started with toy photography a few years back. I dug into the stop motion technique because I wanted to work with that in class. From there it was a rather short way to toy photography.
Where do you get your best photography ideas?
Most of my best ideas come to me on trips or holidays. I always take a small amount of figures with me. I choose them according to the location I am going to. Then I look for places that would be interesting to photograph. Sometimes an idea just pops into my head and then I only have to execute it with my camera.
Tell us about your process in creating images from original thought to final photo image.
I usually already have a clear vision of the scene I want to photograph and how it should. This makes setting up the figures easy. The problem is that I sometimes can’t make the picture look exactly as I have seen it in mind. This is frustrating! Although often my results are as good as what I had originally planned.
What is your current equipment set-up and why is it your favorite?
I own a Canon 750D. For toy photography I use either my Sigma 105mm Macro lens or the Canon 50mm. When I want a special vintage look I use my Minolta Rokkor 50mm with mounting adapter and various extension tubes. I don’t have a favorite lens. It depends on the picture I want to take and the effect I want to achieve.
Do you have a ‘high-end’ and ‘low-end’ set of gear for your photography?
As my Canon is too heavy to always carry around I also have a Leica D 4 that I bought second hand and my phone of course as I have it with me most of the time.
Tell us your favorite photography environment (indoor or outdoor) and why it is the place where you like to create your best work.
I prefer shooting outdoors as I like using natural light and surroundings.
There are a lot of toys out there to choose from to photograph. What is your favourite toy line and why?
I mostly use Lego and action figures. I like Lego, because you can build settings for them and create funny scenes and action figures for their natural posing.
Who are your greatest influences – toy photographers or otherwise?
The amazing images created by Matt Rohde (@x_Captain_Kaos_x) inspired me to try toy photography myself. I find it fascinating how lifelike his pictures are. Otherwise I’m interested in art in general. I find a lot of inspiration in 20th and 21st century art.
If you could go back in time and talk to your young self, what would you make sure you knew on day one of your toy photography journeys?
Use your imagination and be flexible. Often a picture turns out very different from what you originally planned. Most of the time for the better!
What are the most important tips that a new hobbyist should know if they are interested in pursuing toy photography?
The equipment is secondary. Like in every art the emotion you create by choosing the right posing, angle, light and image section are the key for a good picture.
~ Daria-Maret Gaeller
You can follow Daria-Maret on Instagram or in our MeWe community!