Tourmaline .

Emotive Toy Photographer

Posts from the ‘How To’ category

side profile of vintage barbie, toy photography by Tourmaline .

Lensbaby OMNI Filter Effects for Free

The handed to you, but pricey way

Lensbaby is a popular photography company that makes more unique photographic lenses and gadgets. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan. I have one of their, now discontinued, Control Freak tilt shift lenses. However, they recently released an OMNI creative filter system, and while it’s a clever idea, the price point, in my opion is way too high for what you get. Considering you can make all those effects with stuf fyou have around your house, instead of paying their $100 price point.

The OMNI filter comes with a screw on ring, similar to a filter ring, and 3 effect wands that attach on the ring. You can also get a 3 additional wand expansion pack for another $50.

They do make sure to note that these are repeatable effects. And I do have to slightly concede there, as having a plastic effect piece mounted in front of your lens, without moving it, focused the same way toward your light source, will possibly have a more easily repeatable effect than the more hand held options I outline below. But I’m going to save you $150 so that vague chance of reputability is a wash in my book. Read more

10+ FAQs of Toy Photography

Some frequently asked questions and answers!

Let me know what I missed in a comment below whether on the question or answer side!

Click on a question in the list below to be taken directly to that spot on the page.

  1. How do I take realistic images of toys?
  2. How do I create practical effects in toy photography?
  3. Can I use trademarked toys in my photos?
  4. Who are the most famous toy photographers?
  5. Why toy photography?
  6. What lens should I use for toy photography?
  7. What lighting should I use for toy photography?
  8. Where do I get action figures for toy photography?
  9. Where do I get accessories, sets and clothing for those figures?
  10. What’s a typical toy photography set up?
  11. What do I need for travel toy photography?
  12. What are the best toy photography hashtags on instagram?
  13. How do I make emotive toy photos?
  14. How can I make money from toy photography?

Read more

Toy Photography and Nostalgia

“There’s a vast difference between inspiration and imitation.”

Jamie Windsor recently released a video on nostalgia in photography, and while I tend to make response posts to things I disagree on, I whole heartedly agree with his video, and there are so many parallels to toy photography – this niche in which I reside. So let’s break this down.

Nostalgia is a very strong emotion, but no matter if we all went through the same things in the same time period, we will experience our nostalgia differently.

Because our feelings of nostalgia are so strong, and can often go hand in hand with our toy collections, it’s easy to want to portray all that we feel within the photos we make. This in toy photography often comes in the form of  recreating a movie scene to the tee with lighting, posing, scenery. While these images can be impressive tests of what you’re capable of as a photographer, the scenes in themselves already exist in the movies we so admire. And because of this, as secondhand toy photographs, they are forgettable. Read more

Creating Emotional Toy Photographs

Photography is all about light, composition and, most importantly, emotion. – Larry Wilder

I aim to make emotive photos that elicit an emotional response in the viewer. Whether I’m successful in that or not is really up to you, but I feel, to a degree I am.

It starts with emotions I feel poured out into the photo. Lighting, color, blur, setting, posing, all play their part to then make that vision a reality however.

So here’s how I go about this task.



I tend to return to figures without facial expressions and with limited detail. The more blank the figure, the more I feel the viewer can place themselves within the story. The human mind is wired to find faces, and human features. So as the photographer, I don’t have to offer much in the way of human iconography in order to get the viewer involved – bringing their own experiences to the scene before them. Read more

Figure looks frustrated at laptop in all grey environment, toy photography by Tourmaline .

Being in the Game

I originally wrote this post, and published it on Toy Photographers in 2017, but it constantly remains oh so relevant.

The very first play in The Photographer’s Playbook asks the reader to figure out what game they’re playing. So, I say to myself, “I’m creating because I have a creative drive.” But this needs to go deeper. What are my goals, how do I intend to achieve them, and what is the best way to go about this? All things I have very vague answers to in my head.

And then I remembered a quote from Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James, spoken by real world playwright Sarah Jones.

“And you’re doing it. That’s why we’re here right? This is it! There’s kinda not more to it than that.”

And maybe, if there’s a way to be content in that answer, that’s really all there is to it. I am creating art, so I am an artist. Forget the fine art world, selling, amassing a huge following – I am exactly what I set out to be. That’s great and all, but in no way does it feel that simple. Read more

Wordcamp Jacksonville 2019 attendee badge

What I Learned at My First WordCamp

June 29 & 30 I attended my first ever WordCamp. If you’re not familiar with the concept, WordCamps are WordPress based conferences that happen all over the world. They include talks by many knowledgable people in the field from web security, design, hosting, community building, etc. The particular one I attended was in Jacksonville, FL.

First and foremost, I learned that WordPress is a huge supportive community of tech and creative geeks. Maybe I already knew this, but being around just WordPress enthusiasts really re-enforces it. I feel like I made some legitimate connections with some super smart, kind people, and that’s truly the main thing I wanted to get out of going.

Check out some of the cool people I met at these links:

I also learned some valuable information regarding updating and better using my WordPress site, and each course got my creative juices flowing, whether on or off topic. I have a pretty decent list of future blog posts I want to write.

So let me take you through my Saturday and Sunday, of which I largely attended the ‘user’ based topics. Read more

Making Miniature Pottery

I never know if it’s simply the miniature spaces I frequent, or a worldwide phenomenon, but I’ve been seeing miniature pottery pop up everywhere. Maybe not as popular as miniature cooking, but a close second. And I might just like watching miniature pottery throwing videos more than mini cooking videos. But that’s just me.

In any case, I never see any info on how you can do this yourself, and I love writing these types of posts, so here I am to fill in that gap.

This post is by no means a full how to, but more of an introduction to get you started on your way to experimentation.

Read more