10 tips for toy photography and the aspiring toy photographer
Welcome to our 10 Tips & Tricks For Toy Photography! If you’re an aspiring toy photographer or looking for some inspiration look no further! Read on to find out the do’s, don’ts, how’s, and why’s!
1. Have Fun With It!
Now as cliche as this sounds, it’s an absolute must! That’s why it’s at the number 1 spot. If you’re not having fun doing it then ask yourself, why are you doing it at all? A can-do attitude accompanied by the willingness to just let go and have fun whilst shooting your toys is vital to the process. The more fun you’re having whilst shooting, the more creative and fun your shot will end up! (and you will have a great time doing it. Woo!)
2. Try To Tell A Story
This is something that can be easily overlooked but it makes a world of difference. Now we’re not saying that photos without a story can’t be beautiful or extremely well done, but a photo with a story leaves a longer lasting impression and can really impact your audience.
Having said that, there’s a time and a place for all types of toy photos, it’s just that toy photos with a story encourages more engagement from your audience and make for a more interesting photo all round. People love a good story.
3. Action / Emotion / Motion
This almighty tip actually comes straight from master toy photographer, Mitchell Wu! Try to incorporate Action, Emotion, and Motion in every toy shoot that you do. Ask yourself:
- Is there action in this photo? Action shots immediately grabs the and hold a viewer’s attention.
- Is it compelling and does it carry with it a specific emotion? Creating emotion not only helps to tell the story, but it also entices viewers to engage in a photo. We are emotional beings after all.
- Finally, is there any motion? Is your subject jumping, running, or even falling over? Whatever it is, this will really help to bring the toys to life, which is the ultimate goal
If you can nail these three things or even two of the three in each photo, you’re on to a winner.
4. Get Creative
Number 4 on our list of 10 Tips for Toy Photography: get creative! Now if you’re thinking of doing toy photography (or in fact have already started!) then chances are you’re already pretty creative! The tricky part is being creative in a way that’s advantageous to both your process and the final outcome.
For instance: use baking flour or sugar to create snow, and maybe a rock salt lamp to work as a roaring fire. A couple of old mobile phones will help light the scene, and a pile of books can be your low-budget tripod.
Use the things around you to make your photo the best it can be.
5. Light Up The Scene
Lighting is a key instrument in toy photography, just as it’s vital in all forms of photography. Lighting will make or break a shot! It’s something that should never be overlooked. You might think you need to spend lots of money on a nice lighting setup, and although that’s eventually a nice goal, tou can start with just about anything that produces light.
Mobile phones have extremely bright torches, and chances are you have a few spares lying around. Lighters work well for the orange glow and ambience of matches, sunlight, lava lamps, you name it really! If it produces light, use it! The trick is not to over expose or under expose the subject! So with persistence and trial and error, your shots will be lit! 😉
6. Hidden Gems and Easter Eggs
Number 6 on our 10 Tips for Toy Photography is fun one and gives you a chance to make your photos unique! It’s ultimately about increase engagement and value for your audience. A hidden gem can be anything you’d like to add to the shot that isn’t already the main focus or subject of the photo. Maybe it’s something you always put in the background? Or maybe it’s just a little something extra that you can add to each shot, that’s tucked away and serves as a little easter egg for your audience to notice. This in theory should entice your viewers to stare at the photo for longer! If they notice, they may just tell you about it!
There is no right or wrong angle when it comes to toy photography! As we have already discussed, get creative! However, the general rule of thumb is to shoot your toys at their level. Meaning lower to the ground or the “floor” of your scene.
This helps bring the toys to life and immerses the viewer into the scene that you have created, without any needed use of imagination on their part. It’s just the way we are wired. Imagine if all professional headshot’s were taken from above? These aren’t middle aged “mum” selfies after all, they’re toy photos. So keep this tip in mind when deciding on your angles. A real simple game changer! You’re welcome.
Number 8 of our 10 Tips for Toy Photography: edit, edit, edit! When it comes to editing your photos, there really isn’t a rule of thumb, other than the fact that you must do it! Whether you are a seasoned pro, have a simple editing app on your phone, or even just use Instagram filters, editing your pics gives them a leg up.
Have fun with the editing process and work with what you know. Editing should be used to enhance the story and original image you have in your mind. Of course, taking a better photo from the get-go means less work in the editing suite or app! So think ahead and shoot with this in mind. Work with what you have or download an app like Snapseed and uncover the endless possibilities that are now at your finger tips.
Think about the story that you have come up with! Then think of the best way to portray it. Keep in mind things like symmetry, how many subjects or points of focus are in the photo, how many props you are using, the shape of the props, and so on. The goal is to create something visually pleasing, so think about that when setting up your scene. Figure out where the focus of the photo is and build around that! It can really help to tell the story. Compelling composition compliments your work.
10. Enjoy The Process Over The Outcome
We started with a cliche and will end with one too. If you’re hell-bound on a specific outcome then there is no room for change, growth, and even spontaneity during your shoot! Sometimes you have one idea that turns into another, and sometimes you nail exactly what you were trying to do. Both outcomes are great! Really it’s about starting and doing. The more you start, the more you do, and the more you improve. So get excited about doing it! Not how they will look. And before you realise, you’ve done it a thousand times and will have grown and improved exponentially!
You may be thinking, but you haven’t mentioned anything about equipment or cameras? That’s because it really doesn’t matter! Sorry to tell you that, but its true. As long as you have something to take a photo with, something to take a photo of, some lighting, and a touch of creativity, then you’re already there! You WILL make some amazing images and in time, you can treat yourself to the equipment you so desire and deserve.
Thanks for reading our 10 Tips and Tricks for Toy Photography! We hope they help you in your photography journey. Leave a comment and let us know your favourite tip or something that you learnt!