Toy photography allows adults to be kids again. It allows them to play around, experiment, jump into a world of fantasy, and document it all with their cameras. While it’s fun and games, executing good toy photography requires a high level of attention to detail and creative vision. When poorly executed, you have a bunch of toys that tell no story. However, you create an entirely new world that people demand you invite them into when it’s done well.
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Not all toy photographers behave equally. Some like to tap into their favorite childhood characters and give those figures a new birth of life. Others prefer to design, build, and photograph toy miniatures all by themselves. Motives differ too. Some toy photographers crave nostalgia, while others use toy photography as a way to brighten up their day job. Whatever the reason, we’re glad we get access to this type of photography. Reflecting on 2021, maybe we should have featured more toy photographers on the site. Each one we did publish has received rave reviews and is extremely popular. We can focus on bringing more in 2022. In the meantime, however, let’s look at three of the best examples of exceptional toy photography.
1. Gareth Mcgorman Doesn’t Use Photoshop for His Toy Photography
Gareth Mcgorman likes to keep himself low-key. He’s not one to plaster his face and thoughts all over social media. Instead, he likes to let his photographs do the talking. In an interview in early 2021, he told The Phoblographer, “I want people to see my photography first and see it on its own merits without knowing much about who I am.” Mcgorman dazzled us with his straight-to-the-point toy photography that came with no extra frills in post-production. He built narratives, played around with home appliances, and brought his army miniatures to life. To photograph his scenes, Mcgorman used the Canon EOS Rebel T6. It’s not the most high-end camera, but it proves you can make strong work even with a budget system. You can see more of Mcgorman’s toy photography here.
2. Bebe Wang Uses Toy Photography to Revisit Childhood
Every adult can recall their favorite childhood program. For most of us, they remain a thing of the past, something that crops up in our minds from time to time. Photographer Bebe Wang is different. He didn’t want to leave his childhood in the past; he uses toy photography to bring it to the present. “Doraemon is a fictional character in the Japanese manga and anime series created by Fujiko Fujio,” Wang told us. He added, “The story is full of positive energy, and it gives me a lot of inspiration to look at things positively and always remain curious about the future.” Bringing the series back to life, Wang created different scenes in the comfort of his home. He shot the series on the Sony a7 III, a camera known for its beautiful 24MP full-frame sensor and fast autofocus. Check out Wang’s series here.
3. Allan Teger Dedicated Decases to His Craft
Allan Teger combines still life with the human form for his toy photography. Thinking outside the box, Tegar made the miniatures the protagonists and the humans the world they exist in. “My Bodyscapes came directly out of my background in psychology,” said Tegar in an interview with The Phoblographer. He continued, “I wanted to show through art that there could be multiple realities existing together.” He blended his realities perfectly, and the interview continues to attract new eyes daily. Many years ago, Tegan used a Nikormat camera when he first began the series. He’s upgraded and now uses the popular Nikon D850. You can see more of his work here.
Send Us More!
Reflecting on the superb toy photography we published in 2021 reinforces that we need to share more of this type of work. We’ll work on that in 2022, and if you would like to help, send us your work by using the submission form below. Until then, be sure to enjoy the work from the photographers featured above. Thanks for reading.
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Lead photo by Allan Tegar. All images used with permission.