Hello blog world! We finally meet again after more than four months in hybernation… well, not exactly, I was kinda busy and focused in setting up my small tabletop studio (which I mentioned on my last blog entry last August.) I was doing a lot of self-study and photo practice at home since I decided to tuck away my dad’s Nikon FE film camera for the time being and spend some quality time with my Nikon D3000 and focus more now on digital photography. Ever since I left my job as a freelance web content writer for my American client last April, I spent so many hours learning and practicing the basics for digital photography but unfortunately I never got to use my DSLR whenever I went out to shoot some photos and instead my Nikon Coolpix L20 did all the hardwork for me. I guess I was not yet prepared to bring my D3000 along whenever I went out since I get this sense of paranoia that there are prying eyes locking their sights on my camera bag and God-forbid what will happen next! But that doesn’t mean I did not use my D3000 whatsoever at all, in fact it became a big turning point for me with my fondness for photography and eventually I’ve found my niche as an amateur shutterbug through the wonderful world of Toy Photography.
Being jobless for the past eight months is a continuing struggle for me, my earnings are starting to dwindle fast and in order for me to save up on what’s left of my bank savings, I’d stay home most of the time and do a lot of self-study on digital photography, but getting stuck inside the house for a long time can be mind-racking to someone like me who can’t be contained in one place for too long and I had to go out no matter what! But it wasn’t until I saw some of the toys I had lying around my room that gave me a great idea of “documenting” them by taking snapshots of them and save them on my PC, since most of my toys are already considered rare and sooner or later my surviving items will wear out on me, it would be nice to photograph them still in their best form and cherish them as little keepsakes when you turn old and grey. Everything was trial and error for me, and since I firmly believe in the concept of Guerilla Photography, I had to make use of whatever existed around me and spending a lot of money for things I desperately need is, was and will always be my last resort. From building and perfecting my own light box to practicing proper lighting of your subject and keeping in mind ‘The Rule of Thirds‘, I have truly fallen in love with Toy Photography that it was starting to preoccupy most of my time at home and now I rarely go out and spend more time behind the camera taking photographs of my toys for hours.
Since my setup is just a tabletop studio, I often take snapshots of small toys or action figures. From the smallest like key chain charms to the bigger ones like the 6-inch figures (like those of McFarlane Toys and Marvel action figures) and nothing bigger than that. As soon as I was done with my existing toy collection, I began to find ways on how to get new subjects for my toy photography without spending a lot of money, and this led me to the toy discount shops inside malls where they sell toys marked-down at really affordable prices but sometimes the stuff they sell there won’t easily get your attention and you tend to look for other items that will somehow catch your fancy, and it wasn’t until I found my “affordable toy haven” inside a very famous commercial establishment in San Juan here in Manila where they have these small row of toy shops selling cheap, if not, insanely affordable stuff! I found a liking for manga and anime figures, most especially the ones they call ‘capsule toys‘ (or gashapons as they are fondly called) and these stores were selling most of them as loose items (or those that were pre-owned) so they were sold at really low prices. But mind you, these manga/anime/hentai figures don’t come cheap, in fact their actual selling price will drive you nuts especially the bigger ones or the “12-inchers” as they are called, and for the brand new capsule toys, you can’t buy them individually and you have to buy them by the set and their prices will also drive you off the wall!
But being the patient bargain hunter I have always been, spending hours looking for these shops was worth the wait and with all these discounted anime toy figures literally waving in front of me saying “Buy me! Buy me!”, I just can’t decide on what to buy first! But one thing’s for sure… that huge chunk of money you have in your grasp that is only good for buying a single anime item is equivalent to five or even ten anime items you can buy at these discounted toy shops. But hey, I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or something but I too would want one of those rare and expensive anime figures in my collection and if I really want something that is way out of my budget, all I have to do is wait and save up for it, after all, patience is a virtue. Every time I get the chance to visit the shops there I would buy a single loose item or two and line them up for my next photo shoot at home. I still have a lot of toys at tow that needs to be photographed, but they can wait… I’m just taking my sweet time enjoying my new found love in doing Toy Photography.
I would also like to thank GM Tristan for his wonderful post entitled ‘Toy Photography Setup‘ and this fueled my passion and enthusiasm towards Toy Photography. And in his post there are a lot of helpful tips he shared for those who want to get into this kind of endeavor and I can personally say that they work big time without having to spend so much, and borrowing a phrase from his post;
“But if you want to take photos of your toys to the next level, you CAN do it without expensive cameras, gear and equipment. All it takes are some simple, effective gear and simple skills…” — (GM Tristan, “Toy Photography Setup”)
I have here several toy photography samples taken from my collection that I would like to share, and let me kindly remind all of you reading this blog post that I am just a humble amateur toy photographer and I still have a long way to go, but seeing my works uploaded on the internet and having just a handful of viewers or visitors giving good or favorable comments about my photos is enough for me to make me feel satisfied, here they are:
If you would like to see my other photos, you can visit (or ‘like’) my Facebook page by searching “Made in X” or check out my Flickr account by clicking here. Thanks guys for your time and it’s nice to be back doing a new blog post after a long hiatus… Happy shooting!