Welcome to The Toy Photographers Blog and MeWe Community. We’ve been as a blog since 2017, first on G+ and now on MeWe. So much time has passed we thought an introduction (with a special MeWe Primer) to our new friends and followers is in order.

Who are we?

We’re a fun group of multinational toy photographers whose experience in this hobby runs from beginner to expert. Please don’t be shy or intimidated… we encourage you to join us. Because everything about toy photography is more fun with friends.

Where do I start?

You might be asking yourself “But, where do I start?” Rather than following my lead, where I simply lurked around the edges and observed, I want to encourage you to jump in. You can jump into our toy photography world by exploring the blog which has lots of articles that include tips, how-to articles, reviews and features on other toy photographers.

Or you can join our MeWe community to share your own toy photos. We are an enthusiastic and welcoming community. When I first joined the group I felt like an amateur. There is so much talent in our community! But everyone is always supportive and open to offering useful suggestions if I need help with an image. Don’t be shy like I was, join the fun!

If you’re hesitant to share, my advice would be to choose any toy, take some images then pick your favorite to share. If you have a recent image that you’re particularly pleased with, post it!  Because we’re such a varied group where all toys and styles are welcome, comparing yourself to others is not helpful. We celebrate the different styles and points of view here at Toy Photographer’s Blog and Community. That’s what makes this place so special!

Keep scrolling for more reasons to join our MeWe Community. I’ve assembled a few of the most frequently asked questions that can act as a MeWe primer for anyone interested in joining our fun and supportive community.

Why MeWe?

Toy Photography blog founder, Shelly Corbett chose MeWe over other social media platforms after G+ was closed. She explained to me that MeWe was a clear winner because the platform has a strong privacy ethic, you can use folders to organize images, plus everyone loves the “chat” function.

When I first joined MeWe I confess I found the platform confusing.. But after a short learning curve I’ve found it to be an enjoyable experience. Of course if you don’t believe me check out these quotes from members of our community:

What I appreciate the most, is that I see only what I come here for; the toys. Our images aren’t buried amongst ads, random posts, and spam. I know I’m never going to miss an image because of algorithms. It may seem silly but I love being able to interact using fun emojis of my choice and multiple times on the same post.

– Stephanie Sanders

MeWe acts as a decent filter. Anyone who spends time here must be interested in the people too, rather than getting seen, because you can’t really develop a personal following here.

– Matthew Wyjad
Photo by Tobias M. Schiel

The first thing I like about the website: It is a group effort, featuring many different voices. Plus, you get to know lots of photographers, and in-depth access to their thoughts and works. There’s always something to be learned, even for experienced photographers. And if there is one place on the web where a meaningful discussion is likely to happen, it’s here.

– Tobias Schiel

I echo what Tobias said about the website. Plus I have it bookmarked. I read each writeup and if I want to try a technique or can’t remember how to do a certain effect or setup, I know I can go directly there and find it. It’s like my own private toy photography “how to” library from voices I know I could reach out to directly for thoughts or help.

– Janan Lee

I stay for this group as everyone is very friendly

– Mark Phillips

Have I enticed you yet? Keep reading for more information about how to join and navigate our MeWe community.

A quick guide to the MeWe Community

To ensure that you have a smooth start in our MeWe community I’ve assembled a list of tips. And who better to turn to for help creating this list, than other members who struggled when they first joined!

Image by Mark Phillips

Common questions about using MeWe

Q: How do I post to a specific community such as Toy Photographers?

A: When you post images to MeWe you can post them on your public profile, share into a group from your profile, share into a specific group via a link to Flickr or share directly to a group. Because there are so many different ways to share photographs, it can be confusing.

Q: How do I post to the Toy Photographers Community on MeWe?

A: If you want to post a photograph to a specific group, you must choose the group from the list of groups you belong to at the bottom of the post you’re creating. If you don’t choose a specific group, then you will most likely be posting to your profile. 

Because MeWe values your privacy, every member can create a public or private profile. If you choose public, then anyone can find and see your work. But if you prefer to limit your profile to specific people you know, then choose the private option when you set up your account. 

Q:  I posted a picture to the group and now I can’t find it.  Did I do something wrong?

A: Because we want to create a safe and unique space on MeWe we limit who can join the group. To create this intimate space we only admit known photographers, other toy photographers and macro photographers. As an extra layer of safety, everyone who joins starts with ‘limited’ posting access. 

We have five admins who all lead busy lives, which means that occasionally a post gets stuck in the approval process. So you may have to wait up to 1⁄2 a day for a post to be approved. Of course if your post is delayed longer feel free to post in the chat asking where your photo is. Sometimes a little nudge is all it takes!

Q: I see there is a chat message, but when I click on it I only see messages I’ve already  read.  What’s up with that?

A: MeWe can be a little quirky. If you’re not seeing new messages, refresh your feed. If chat gets too noisy, you can always hide the sidebar. In the chat sidebar you can participate in chats for both groups and individuals.

Q: Can I stay connected to the blog through MeWe?

A: Yes! To help our community members stay up to date with all the great content on the blog we like to share the latest post and pin it to the top of the community. This is a great way to stay connected and inspired in a busy world!

One of the other things that I was also confused with at first is I would see an article and read it, then continue onto the website and take care of stuff, then I would want to go back and read the article again but could not remember where I saw it or how I got there.

Q: What is the green symbol for ?

A: MeWe was started by a group of individuals dissatisfied by large companies shifting the original promise of a social platform that served the individual to one that served major corporations. That is why MeWe asks users to purchase a Premium Account to support the mission. Also MeWe is on the forefront of a movement to create Web 3.0. This is a blockchain protocol that will allow users to create content that can be shared easily across all platforms. So yeah, if you don’t completely understand what you just read, you’re not alone. But right now, it looks like a cool project to be a part of.

Q: How do I join in the monthly challenges and the bingo challenges?

A:  Each month we have a monthly photo challenge. The moderators choose a theme designed to inspire creativity or to explore a particular photo technique.. Members can post up to three images each month for a chance to have their image grace the header of our MeWe and Facebook accounts. 

These monthly challenges aren’t mandatory, but are always enjoyable. From these challenges I’ve learned that there are many ways that one prompt can be interpreted. These challenges have inspired my own photos by showing me different styles. Because of the challenges I have a broader perspective on what’s possible. 

One of the moderators, Mary Wardell, told me,: “Even after the challenge is over you can add a photo to the hashtag, of course it will not be included in the challenge but it will be available for everyone to enjoy when they go look through the monthly challenge.” This is a nice way to participate when life gets out of hand.

Q: What is the Toy Photography Bingo Challenge?

A: We have a yearly Bingo Contest. To participate all you need to do is create an image for each of the prompts on the bingo card. The challenge runs until December 31st and the winner is chosen by random. 

Please feel free to enter this challenge no matter what your talent level is. The winner is picked at random from all the entries. But before Shelly picks the winner all the entries are celebrated during an online event. No judging, only enjoyed by your fellow community members.  

Thanks Shelly and  Lensbaby USA for the prize! See below for last year’s prize, which was  taken by last year’s winner Sunny Ang.

Q?  I’m new to this platform and have followed the Toy Photographers Blog for a while. I want to join the Bingo Challenge but I’m not sure I’ve done it right. I added a photo to my profile but with #ToyPhotographersBingo2024 . Should I have added it to the tp group instead?

A: To be officially entered in the Bingo Challenge you need to present all your images that match the prompts in one .jpg to Shelly by December 31st. Shelly Corbett responded to this particular question like this: “Welcome Joanne. You’re welcome to post your photos in both places: your public facing profile as well as in the TP group. By posting it in the group we know you’re participating in and can cheer you along.” 

Many of the challenges throughout the year are designed to help everyone meet the Bingo Challenge. Last year there was a last minute fury of activity to create the final images. This year, the admins are trying to help everyone avoid that last minute rush. 

All photos for bingo should be added to the toy photographers page and placed in your album. You can create the album the first time you post a photo then add each subsequent bingo photo to your own album. You also want to tag the with #tp_toyphotographersbingo2024 and the appropriate entry tag for that photo as well.

Todd Rosenberg

Toy Photographers Bingo 2024

The Toy Photographers Blog hosts a photographic bingo game that runs the entire year. Everyone who enters by December 31st will be entered in a public random drawing in early January 2025.  For more details check out the full post here.

2024 Bingo Challenge Prompts

There were other amazing entries and It was really the luck of the draw that I got picked as the winner. The prize is really cool and I can’t wait to test it outdoors. Again, thanks to Shelly for coordinating with Lensbaby USA.

2023 Bingo Challenge winner Ang Cheng Ann (aka: Sunny)
Image by Sunny Ang

In conclusion

I hope that you have enjoyed my Mewe Primer. The Toy Photography blog and community is a safe place to grow and learn the art of toy photography. It is a community where you aren’t judged. I enjoy stopping in after a stressful day and unwinding while looking at all the fun and beautiful photos. A place where I can be inspired or not, but more importantly a place to relax.

If our community inspires you I invite you to join our adventurous group. You can apply for membership by following these simple steps:

  1. Join MeWe and set up a profile with at least one of your toy images published. This way we know you’re an active toy photographer.
  2. Apply for membership to our community using this link. You will have to answer two questions. Tell them that Beth sent you from the blog.
  3. Introduce yourself by posting a photo to the community and saying ‘Hi!”
  4. Post questions in the chat area and someone will get to you promptly.
  5. Have fun!

See you there!

Beth O’Meara with help from Ang Cheng Ann, Shelly Corbett, Janan Lee, Barbara McKenzie, Beth O’Meara, Mark Phillips, Stephanie Sanders, Tobias M. Schiel, David Stoker, Mary Wardell, and Matthew Wyjad.

Image by Beth O’Meara
Image by Janan Lee