35 Clever Examples of Toy Photography

You don’t need to have kids to love photographing toys. They’re simple, versatile, and rich with creative possibilities. They’re great in all seasons, all types of weather, and all kinds of photography.

One reason why toys are such great subjects is because of their personality. Unlike other objects, toys seem to have feelings. In some ways, they’re more like people than objects.

This emotional capacity is especially true when the toys have faces, like action figures, Lego people, or stuffed animals. These toys can express almost any emotion, from sadness to pure joy. Though they’re objects, you can pose them like people, creating mini stories with each picture.

If you’ve got a few toys on hand, why not include them in your next shoot? Many photographers in our Flickr group have tried it out with fantastic results. Here are a few of their shots, plus ideas for getting started.

Humor

If you’re struggling to be creative with toys, try to think of something that makes you smile or laugh. Perhaps it’s a love affair between two unlikely toys, or a funny way of using an everyday object. Imagine the life of the toy you’re photographing, and find the humor.

pixlilli – Love !!!
dinosaur Lego

pixlilli – Hello mummy !
storm trooper lego

Ciaran Magee – Rock Star
rock star toy

Rudaki1959 – Unbreakable lens
miniature camera lens

xstc – Self Build – Always follow the instructions
Lego construction worker

Thematic

Working with the same idea, theme, or characters in several photos is another way to spur creativity. Toys are excellent subjects for a series, especially if you start to imagine a background story. This story can be even more striking or humorous if you work with well-known characters, like Star Wars figures. Then, your image will have two layers: the famous story, plus the story you create in your image.

pixlilli – Boba feet
boba fett action figure

pixlilli – Levitation
star wars legos

pixlilli – La pluie tu eviteras
star wars lego

Ralph – Fascinating Amsterdam
lego photographer amsterdam

xstc – Foggy Morning
Foggy Morning lego photographer

xstc – Daffodils
Daffodils photographer lego

Abandoned Toys

You don’t necessarily have to make up a story to take an interesting toy photo. You can discover stories in all toys, especially if they’re old or abandoned. Forgotten toys, whether they’re dusty dolls or empty tricycles, makes the viewer wonder what happened. An abandoned toy doesn’t need any other story but the one it’s already telling.

Yuri Bogdanoff – Abandoned
abandoned scooter

kenneth r rowley – Abandoned By Time
old doll

piet ps – beach
abandoned beach toys

Julio López Saguar – Losing battle
toy sword

julian oh – So long, lonesome…
abandoned tricycle

Bokeh

While you can technically use bokeh for any object, toys are one of the best subjects for the technique. That’s because they can “interact” with the background, leading the eye smoothly from the sharp areas to the blurry bokeh. This connection between the sharp subject and the background blur makes the entire photo look interesting and purposeful, not just a coincidental bokeh shot.

pixlilli – Rayon x
bokeh action figure

Greig Reid – Crusher figure
crusher figure

Nic Taylor – Pencils
Nic Taylor - Pencils

xstc – Lego Tower
Lego Tower

Melinda Szente – That’s my dog!
Melinda Szente snoopy

xstc – Iron Man
iron man

Delyth Angharad – Dinosaur Sunset
Delyth Angharad Dinosaur Sunset

Portraits

If you’ve taken portraits of children before, you might be used to including toys in portraits. They’re a natural, commonsense prop. But instead of focusing on the child, why not bring the toy into focus? Make the toy the hero of the photo instead. You can still end up with an amazing portrait, only with a fresh perspective.

jordan parks – bunny
jordan parks bunny

Greig Reid – Whirlwind and Zap figures
Whirlwind and Zap figures

Greig Reid – Son with his YooHoo collection
YooHoo collection

jordan parks – legos
jordan parks legos

Matthew Coughlin – Swimming Time
Matthew Coughlin Swimming

aminefassi – Bond, My name is Jade Bond
girl nerf gun

pixlilli – Sieste..
sleeping dog

Still Life

As fun as the above ideas area, you don’t need to do anything special to create a cool toy photo. A “simple” still life can be striking enough. In other words, if you’re low on inspiration, just try a few shots of the toy as it is. With good lighting and the right angle, you might end up with a shot worth keeping.

Ilovetodig0044 – Toad
Toadstool

Marco Bergner – Old Toy Car
Marco Bergner - Old Toy Car

xstc – Look Out
teddy bear

Greig Reid – Double Trouble figure
Double Trouble figure

xstc – Disappearing Mini
mini car

Newsletter