Tourmaline .

Miniature Diorama Photographer

Resin & Alcohol Ink Petri Pendants (Video)

I’ve been crafting off and on and recording the process on my YouTube channel. My creative drive has had a short attention span as of late, so I’ve been switching back and forth between creating sets, photographing, blogging and making videos.

I was in a pretty good video stride a couple months ago and prior, posting weekly. Then my external hard drive crashed. It had all of my video content on it, including the images I made for each video and many, not yet published video clips. I was and am still very disappointed. I should have of course had a back up, but being so new to video making, I honestly hadn’t thought about it. 

There were a lot of small clips I won’t get back, and probably a lot of video topics I just won’t do at this point as the making already occurred and I don’t want to re-do things just for YouTube.

That said, I had been working on quite a few resin pieces, and the videos for those, in their raw forms, were still on my SD card. So, I now present to you one of those projects – just a relaxing watch me, resin pouring and music. 

That said, if you do want to know more about the project, feel free to ask.

Supplies:

  • silicone chocolate mold
  • glitter & sprinkles
  • cabachons
  • alcohol ink
  • 2 part epoxy resin
  • necklace cord/chain
  • UV resin (for adding bits after the pieces are de-molded)

6 Ways to Make Money in Toy Photography

I recently answered a question on Quora, and feel that that answer deserves a spot here, so here goes.

How do I make money in toy photography?

There are actually quite a few ways to do this, however no path is a sure or easy bet. And in all honesty, making money from toy photography is not much different to how you can make money from photography in general.

  1. Full Time: You can work for a toy company full time that employs photographers for its advertisement work. Hasbro is a good example of this, although they very rarely post these job openings. Positions like this would require you to apply and provide a portfolio of applicable work.
  2. Freelance: You can work with toy companies on a project by project basis. Mitchel Wu’s work with Mattel is a good example of this. To obtain work with this, you need to have a portfolio of work that would be similar to what a company would want you to make – creative, clean, G rated images that show off toys in a typically colorful, whimsical setting. Then, you can reach out to companies with a professional pitch about what you believe your photography can provide them, or simply hope they find you through your work. In this realm, you can also license your images out to people and brands for a usage fee.
  3. Fine Art/Selling Prints: Alternatively to product based commercial photography, you can go the fine art route. Create meaningful pieces with toys that you submit to galleries with the hope of selling the printed piece for a profit, or to publications that pay artists for the use of their work. In this realm you can also set up an online store to sell prints of your work and attend art fairs where you would set up a booth to show off and sell your pieces.
  4. Stock Images: Toys and miniature images are being used more and more by brand to advertise their offerings. See Goodwill and KitKat for recent examples of this. One way to get into this without going through a brand directly is to sell photos through stock photography sites. Research these to learn about how much you’ll make off your images, and what rights you retain of your photos, before committing to one.
  5. Teaching: If you can garner enough of a niche, and there are people around you wanting to know the craft, you can teach classes online, at conventions, etc. for a fee.
  6. Social Media: Have a lot of followers? Use affiliate links on you blog posts, link your instagram posts to an online store of your work, partner with brands as an influencer.

The reality is, you’ll probably have to use multiple of these options to make money from your toy photography. And it’s going to be a long way coming before you’ll really be able to make a living, if that day even comes. Find a balance between a few of these that interest you and get really good at them. Work hard at those few things and hopefully money will start to come.

Shinrin-yoku

Shinrin-yoku – forest bathing, considered a healing practice

I’ve been stuck in my head a lot lately, and as I make what I intend to be emotional work inside of a small dark studio, that doesn’t always help. So, as Florida has been cooling down lately, and I recently got ar 50mm lens, I took the time on a Saturday to visit some local nature trails and spend some time observing nature. These aren’t the most artsy, perfectly composed photos, but they were precisely what I needed to create at the time.

Shop my Survival Series and More!

As some of you know I’ve had art in a show at D. Thomas Fine Miniatures.

My 5 part series of HO scale and board game war miniatures was a part of the BadAss miniatures show, and it was such an honor, as the quality of miniature work in that show was spectacular.

From the D. Thomas website:

Tiny art without boundaries.

Defiant, quirky, and slightly uncomfortable.

Welcome to the disobedient dollhouse.

BadAss Miniatures presents emerging perspectives in the miniature arts; an exhibition of original works in miniature form contributed by over 30 artists from across the United States and abroad. Featured works represent a novel movement that challenges the status quo in the miniature art form through the presentation of unconventional ideas and concepts and the quirky, outlandish, surprising use of miniatures. “BadAss” aims to push the envelope on the traditional (rethink the dollhouse!) with an edgy and bold attitude showcasing jaw-dropping, surprising—maybe even shocking—miniature badassery to hit the 21st century.

See more of the featured work here.


I tell you all this today, because some of that art, including mine, is available for sale!

If you need some more minis, or mini art in your life, be sure to check out their store – just click the screenshot above, or find my piece directly here!

What if you’re blind inside your mind? –

Check out my recent post on toyphotographers.com, where myself and 3 others share our experiences with Aphantasia. I’ll have a follow up later on here, so stay tuned!

Picture an apple. Now make the apple blue. Hold that apple in your hand. Picture it in your kitchen. How about on the beach?

Now picture a family member. Can you see their face, the distance between their eyes, the texture of their hair, the shape of their body? Can you feel the texture of their shirt, smell their perfume or cologne?

All of these are measures of your visualization or lack thereof. Most people fall somewhere in between Aphantasia, the lack of any visual imagery, and Hyperphantasia, extremely vivid visual imagery.

Keep reading: What if you’re blind inside your mind? –

1:18 Scale Magic

Some toy photographers and collectors are so specific about what scales they’ll purchase, but I can’t settle for the life of me. I choose what I feel illustrates my ideas best and that switches between 2cm tall HO scale, to 1:12 scale dollhouses to 1:18 scale action figures and everything in between.

My boyfriend recently bought me the most stunning 1:18 scale RV and I plan to take so many more photos with it. Inside, the chairs move and cabinets open and it even comes with little detachable bikes.

The top detached and used as a background prop.
Through the front windshield.

And while there’s so much more I can talk about in this scale, I’m here to talk about the magic of Lundy. I don’t own any, but I’ve often admired it, and for some reason it just feels so genuine and pure.

Lundy is a Swedish company, so just think Ikea, but tiny. They’ve been in the dollhouse business since 1945 and really know their stuff. In 1967 they won the Best Toy award from the Swedish Toy Merchants Association. They were also the very first dollhouses to have electricity.

While I could talk about how terrible the dolls look, with poorly formed neck attachments and eyes that are too far apart, I really just want to talk about how beautiful the design, furniture and accessories are, and how I often wonder if I could fit a fully armored Acid Rain action figure (like those pictured above) in those little chairs.

from Lundby.com

My absolute favorite accessory sets, just from online perusing are this armchair, bathroom and aquarium. The fabric selection for that chair is just perfect, and truly no where can you find a modern dollhouse shower. The shower being one of my favorite places in my home, always seems like an important thing to portray in miniature. And well, a miniature aquarium with tiny little fish is good enough on it’s own, but I love how many of the accessory sets come with tiny paintings that are miniaturized versions by Lisa Rinnevuo

Lundby has remained true to its scale throughout the years, meaning it’s vintage stuff, which is just as cute, can fit in with all the new if you’d like.

Find this set here.

I also think, in coming off of my Kid’s Dollhouse Trends post, that lundby houses, while smaller than the traditional 1:12 scale are a good balance of aesthetic. They’re made for children and have a clean modern design, but don’t insist on minimalism and pastel colors. They’re homey without clutter.

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

A post shared by Tourmaline . (@tourmalinenow) on

 

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.

#first9last9

 

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Alright, I've been tagged by my good friends @onesixthbliss and @pictographer02 and @pallor.photography 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

A post shared by Alex B. – Xenostromo (@xenostromo) on

 

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

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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.

Simpson’s Still Lives

I went to my first ever toy show back in July. $10 entry, and with that you got 10 free comic books and 2 raffle tickets. One of those tickets won me $20 worth of toys. So with that I got a $10 bag of Simpson’s accessories, a $5 GI Joe and a $5 prop bag. Well worth the entry fee I’d say. 

The Simpson’s accessories are much larger than the majority of my toy props. I loved the detail and variety, but hadn’t settled on buying them prior to my raffle prize as I just wasn’t sure how I’d use them. Them suddenly being free got rid of my hesitation, but didn’t bring to light how I’d eventually photograph them.

After having them for nearly 2 months, I had my idea – precariously perched still lives on colorful backdrops, and thus the following 5 images were born.

The pink and the green are by far my favorites, but they were also the first 2 made. I had decided to not repeat any props throughout these images, and so of course, my available options became thinner as the images progressed. I also only had 5 pastel backdrop colors, so with my colors being out and my props being largely used, 5 seemed like a good place to end the series. 

The Milhouse figure you see in the green shot was actually not part of my raffle winning, but was given to me by a lovely little girl who won it in a mystery box and felt I needed it for my collection instead. And I have to say, he fits in very nicely.