Instagram toy photogs share their growth

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I've been on Instagram since 2012 but didn't start regularly posting toy photo stuff til mid 2015. I posted pics of my life and behind the scenes shots of my toy photos and was also really anti hashtags. All that said, I've been making toy photos since 2008. And over 10 years later, I just now feel like I'm hitting my stride, but then maybe I've said that before. So for my #first9last9 these aren't straight from Instagram but you've definitely seen a lot of the first ones before. One things for sure is I've kept experimenting with monochrome images and narrative scenes. But my skill has come a long way. In 2008 I was a junior in high school, had no idea toy photography was a thing and I also had basically no photo knowledge, so with that, I'd say there's at least some merit to those first few photos. They at least set me on the path to where I am now. Thank you @jg_88d and @xenostromo for the tag. I'm tagging @shellycorbettphotography @mitchelwuphotography and @spideygoeshygge to share theirs. #toyphotoglowup #exclurewind #jnwmini #fltoyphotog #toyphotography #10yearchallenge

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Toy photography is big. Especially on instagram. From those finding new ways to explore their collections, those de-stressing, playing around, or even those using toys to make art (or maybe a combination of all of these).

There’s a new hashtag that’s now been posted to 243 times and counting.



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Alright, I've been tagged by my good friends @onesixthbliss and @pictographer02 and and @gal_toys to participate in showing everyone my #first9last9 😄 thank you 😁 I like to think that I've definitely improved since I began, both in terms of sustenance in each photo as well as changing the scenery a bit. Of course, I couldn't get to this point without the incredible people I've met, and I'm grateful to be able to share such progression with all of you 😄 …. .. …… I've tagged a few others to take part, too 😉 …. .. …… #robot #machine #war #noidea #whatfigureisthis #toy #toyphotography #toycollector #toycollection #collection #toystagram #toysofinstagram #toycommunity

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This trend seems to have been started by user @backyard_battles on November 11th of this year and asks others to share their first 9 toy photos, and their most recent 9 to show the progression they’ve made over the months or years they’ve been participating in the hobby.

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” 

Henri Cartier-Bresson


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I thought it would be fun to post my first nine photos shared on Instagram followed by my latest nine. This hobby is all about the journey not the destination. I hear some other photographers talk about how embarrassing their first photos are some even going as far as to delete the old ones once they get better. I feel that’s a disservice to other photographers. I’m using the same camera now I was using when I started, all that’s changed is experience and knowledge gained from other toy photographers. Like the great philosopher Bo Jackson once said, set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there. I’m not there yet. I’m going to tag some of my well respected toy peeps in the hopes they will also share and maybe tag other people to join in. Let’s see those toy photography baby pictures! Use #first9last9 #toyphotography #exclucollective #gijoenation #toptoyphotos #toyartistry #toydiscovery #toygroup_alliance #photography #knowingishalfthebattle #backyardbattlesextras

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I truly love seeing the progression of others’ craft and think it’s important to look back on your work if you intend to keep improving, so I’ve loved seeing this hashtag be passed around. 

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” 

Imogen Cunningham



I tried to get the tag #toyphotoglowup going – a take on the traditional glow up photos where people share images of themselves before and after puberty, but instead focused on the remaking of old toy photos, but it didn’t catch on lol. I’ll keep using the tag regardless.

Exclu Collective also has a similar project #exclurewind where they’ve asked toy photographers to remake old images to show how far they’ve come. 

Has your photography, toy photo or otherwise, improved over the years? I encourage you to take a look back and see how far you’ve come.

Published by

Tourmaline .

Photographer of miniatures and writer on all things small.

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