Love toys? Love photography? Have you ever considered combining the two? Toy photography has been a major source of photo inspiration for years. The look of a doll or stuffed animal captured in a certain way can have a major emotional influence, and we have seen examples of that in the prevalence of abandoned or damaged toys used to set the tone for tragedy in various medias.
But what is great about toy photography is the versatility. You can create any feeling from a shot of a toy, and there are endless possibilities for creating scenes or just having fun. Flickr has a whole lot of groups that are dedicated to this purpose. Below are a collection of what I think are the ten best of the lot.
This is perhaps the largest toy-centric photo pool group on Flickr. It is dedicated to pictures about any kind of toy, from stuffed animals to retro wind-up numbers. There are more than 243,000 pictures already posted by the astonishing 18,000-plus members. But what makes it so great is the quality of most of the photos.
You would expect that a large number would result in a less concentrated level of quality. But there are very few bad pics there, and some that really some true ingenuity.
This is a really interesting photo challenge. It works by daring toy photographers to take a picture every Tuesday and Thursday for a year. In addition to this, there is a second challenge every two weeks where you take a photo starting with a different letter of the alphabet for that week.
The end result is an impressive set of 104 photos at the end of the year. This used to be a once a year challenge that has now been opened up to anyone year-long. Don’t worry if you are late joining…you can go from the date you start.
This is one of the biggest official award groups for toy photography. It works by either submitting your work or anything it invited by an existing member. It is then put into the photo pull and voted on. Since they refuse to take anything but the very best you are looking at some very stiff competition. They are also a group that has been voted sweeper active, which means for every photo you submit or accept an invite for you have to vote on thre.
A basic but well-populated group where anyone who likes photographing any kind of toy can join. They have more than 36,000 pictures already, and it is a good place for beginners to show off their work and watch the progression of other photographers.
I have always liked the look of simple shots on black backgrounds more than any other. Between the shadows it creates and the dramatic but subtle tone, it is a great way to enhance a picture before you even take it. Toys On Black agree, and they have an entire group dedicated to the principle. They have a current three per day posting limit, though sometimes this is more or less, depending on how much activity they have had in recent weeks.
I personally love this group. Unlike other toy photo pools on Flickr, this one has a specific purpose related to the shots themselves, not the subject. While all photos should be of toys, the objective is for them not to look like toys. Or, at least, to have something in the shots that give them a sense of realism, movement or life. The members have done some incredible work, and you will see what I mean by that description if you check them out.
This is a directive specific group. When you join you will be able to see the current assignments that have been decided on through member voting. From there you can participate in photo opportunities that involve toys.
They might be to shoot something starting with a letter of the alphabet or from a specific time period. Maybe the toys will have come from a second hand shop or flea market, or be related to a film or television show. They have regular group directives to choose from.
This group has been subject to a bit of confusion lately. It is not a group for comic book pictures or photos. It is for toys relating to comic books or characters from graphic novels. While a comic book can be present in the photo, it has to be toy specific.
Otherwise it will be deleted and you will receive a warning. However, if you are a comic book toy or action figure lover, then this is the place for you. Their open gallery has some amazing scene shots created with action figures, as well. My personal favorite so far is one of Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston).
I have found some amazing items there, including some fantastic art and toys at the thrift store. This group is for taking pictures of toy items that have come from secondhand shops from anywhere in the world. Flea markets, swap meets and other similar sources are also welcome. Considering some of the odd things you can find at thrift shops, this can be a fun little exercise. I know I have seen some horrifying – but fascinating – little treats there in my time.
Another great little group, this one centers on those old plastic soldiers, the ones that come with a stiff base and poses. The pictures are scenes that have been created using this retro toys, and there are some really cool ones. If you were a kid who liked to play toy soldiers back in the day, this might be just the place you want to be.