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Toy Photography: Turning Those Dinosaurs into Dino-Stars

By January 20, 2019Feature

Collect Jurassic welcomes its newest site contributor, Tom of Tom_Jurassic (Twitter & Instagram). Welcome Tom!

We all love Dinosaurs – that much is apparent, or you wouldn’t be here checking out the Jurassic World content on the Collect Jurassic website. However – I know for some of us we long to do more with these amazing toys then just have them sitting on shelves, collecting dust. For lots of collectors including myself, the solution to quell that longing for more is Toy Photography.

In the following article, I’m going to share some of my photos, a few tips – and let you in on some of my biggest inspirations when it comes to toy photography. Let’s jump straight into it!

One of the key elements to toy photography, I feel, is the choice of location you use for your photos. Having a diverse and eye-catching environment to position your toys in helps to ground them in realism – making the photos resonate a lot more with the people you are sharing them with. For me – a constant consideration is scale. When taking photos in my garden, particularly across the Summer, I tend to consider where I am shooting very carefully – as things like flowers can oftentimes reveal the true scale of the toys you are photographing and can break the immersive factor which makes toy photography so great.

If you’re looking to start out – don’t be put off if you feel you can’t find a location, however. A good location for your photography is, in my opinion, only half of the battle!

The other half of the battle, I feel, is framing. When your shooting a toy photograph – having ‘real life’ components in the fore or background can really break the tone and location that you are trying to set for a piece. Say, for example, the focus is on a Ceratosaurus – and you’re trying to recreate the Jurassic Park III. Having a lawnmower in the back of the shot, or a fence post in your foreground is really going to break the immersion for the scene you are trying to create. So, getting that good angle, which looks authentic, is invaluable. Therefore, I would say a good location isn’t vital! Good toy photographers can adapt to their locations – finding the best angles to demonstrate their subjects from so that they look as crisp as possible.

Now I know what you’re thinking – okay Tom, some basic knowledge is great, but what about my equipment? Where do I start with that?

Well, the truth is, you don’t need the best equipment in the world to have fun with toy photography. The important thing is experimenting. Giving yourself the time and the opportunity to get hands on and discover what you can do! Some of the best toy photographs are taken on mobile phones. What counts is, as we said before, your setting and the way you present what you’re photographing. People love seeing people get creative. They love seeing people experiment with new and interesting styles and techniques they haven’t seen before – so embrace that! Get out and about, set up some photos and experiment with what you want your style to be. Then, if you want to really get in-depth with your Toy Photography, begin to look at some of the higher-end equipment, like a DSLR camera, for example. But never feel restricted to that. The crucial thing, with any good photography, is allowing yourself to take the time to discover what you want to convey in your photos.

So those are my three biggest tips – but who inspires me with my photographs?

Well, for me, the following guys influence my photography.

Victoria’s Cantina (Instagram, Twitter & Youtube) – Victoria shares incredible photographs of all the dinosaurs in her collection. She uses a Zoom lens to create incredible Depth of Field in her photographs, and she has inspired me to do the same. She uses meticulous attention to fine craft edits to her photographs, and her work is bound to inspire anyone looking to break into toy photography.

Nathy Vader (InstagramTwitter) – Nath also shares incredible photographs, again with a wonderful attention to the use of depth of field. I particularly like how Nath pays clear attention to the environments he shoots in – always choosing the best environments for the characters and scenes he is looking to communicate.

Nostalgic Adam (Instagram) – Adam uses incredible lighting and incredible practical effects to make photographs which look and feel incredible. Everything from his use of landscapes and sunsets, to his use of complimentary colours, inspire to experiment with more authentic feeling photographs.

These guys are my three biggest inspirations – and I encourage you to follow them! That is three big tips for Toy Photography and three inspirations to help you get motivated with your own content.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Thanks to Collect Jurassic for inviting me to write this – it’s been a blast.

Until the next one guys!


Join the discussion One Comment

  • Tom Jurassic says:

    Thanks so much for letting me feature – I really hope everyone enjoyed these photos, and are able to take something away from my words of advice. 🙂