In the past few years, production of children’s toys has grown rapidly in popularity, and with it, it’s commercial photography. As a result, photographs and catalogues featuring toys from Star Wars heroes to toy guns are frequently published in magazines and on internet sites and social networks. In this article, we will walk you through the essentials of commercial toy photography.
Commercial photography of a toy should be beautiful and memorable!
Take a photo of a toy as if it was a gem on a crown Perfect images are eye-catching and admired, and the toys are sold in minutes after the photos are published. If sales are not going well, then the problem is that the commercial photography of the toy was poorly executed. Even an inflated price does not affect sales as much as an inferior photo.
The key aspects of a successful product photoshoot
A product photoshoot of children’s toys is challenging for two reasons: firstly, because toys are inanimate objects and, secondly, because it is necessary to give a sense of emotion to them in commercial photography. Hence, the photographer needs to understand toys and be able to show the essence of a toy car or a stuffed rabbit. Only the most interesting photos will sell the product.
So, you might think, what could be simpler! Here is a toy, here is a camera! Take the photo, and you’re done! But it’s not that easy. Professional photographers at our studio are experienced in commercial toy photography. We want to tell you how to correctly photograph a toy to be attractive to both parents and children in online store photos.
Use macro photography. Macro photography makes toys look more natural and helps us see them with fresh eyes. And, by the way, toys will allow you to practice on them to achieve the perfect depth of field.
Take a photo of a child with a toy. If you have friends or family with children, invite them to your photoshoot. Working together often provides new inspiration, and you can also use the children’s own toys during the photoshoot.
Use emotions to tell the story of the toy. One of the most interesting aspects of toy photography is the ability to tell engaging stories. The viewer not only sees your story but can also bind their own emotions and feelings to the toy. For example, the plot might include a toy truck lost in the woods, dolls high up on a windowsill, or animals on a farm at lunchtime. If there are several toys in the frame, think about how they relate to each other and where their eye lines are. See what their “body language” portrays. The story should be simple and easily evoke positive emotions in the buyer. This is especially true for dolls. The natural state of dolls makes for intriguing photos. Facial features, hair, and clothing evoke a wide variety of memories in us. Practice portrait lighting techniques and poses when photographing dolls. With larger dolls, you can tell a story that suits the style of the doll.
Change your point of view and angle. As with portraits, shooting from above or below can add an emotional element to the toy and help tell a story.
How to do packshot photography correctly?
Packshot photography is a key point because an eye-catching image of the toy packed in a colourful box encourages the range of emotions we want to evoke in a child. Remember when you were a child how you looked at a boxed Barbie or a toy car in toy stores? Every toy should have such photos. The two key points here are:
- Take a picture so that the main image on the box is clearly visible.
- There should be no or minimal glare in the photo.
Cheap product photography of toys
And now we will provide you with tips on how to do cheap product photography of toys. If you are starting an online toy store and your budget is limited, these tips for setting up your camera and equipment will help you on your way to success. Remember that product photography of toys is the result of care, hard work, and inspiration.
Set up the camera
Close-ups and extreme close-ups are often used when photographing toys. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your camera:
- For more detail, choose a smaller aperture value.
- The closer you get to the subject, the shallower the depth of field will be.
- Photographers often stick to f/5.6 to f/8 apertures.
- Choose your lens carefully.
- Consider where you place your toys.
- Use focus stacking to create a decent depth of field.
- When photographing small details of toys, the camera’s autofocus gets lost, so you will need to switch to manual focus and slow down the workflow. Sometimes it takes trial and error and repeated viewing of images on a computer screen to determine the appropriate focus mode.
- Lower the ISO for increased picture quality.
- Stick to ISO100 when using a tripod. In this way, you can optimize the light and reduce noise in the images.
Prepare appropriate equipment
- Tripod. Toy photography has the same requirements as still life photography. A tripod is always at the top of must-haves, as it eliminates the need to rotate the camera every time you need to move the toy a little.
- Remote shutter. The ability to release the shutter remotely is vital, as it prevents even the slightest camera shake. You can use special programs for remote access to the camera, and most modern cameras have built-in Wi-Fi.
- Table or 3D platform. For photographing small objects from different angles, it is best to use a desk. This will help you to look at toys “at eye level”, the same way you photograph people.
- Backgrounds. Have a neutral background handy to use behind and under toys.
- Tools. It is helpful to carry around a mini toolbox with small scissors, tweezers, duct tape, and wooden skewers to help you adjust the position of objects in the frame. It is much faster to cut off a few random strands and move objects neatly with tools than mess around in Photoshop later. For the same reason, keep a cleaning pad and a regular spray bottle handy. Close-ups show every speck of dust in your photos.
- Lighting. Sometimes, a lamp and/or flash is used, but using diffused natural light and a reflector is preferable.
Take incredible photos of toys in a low-cost photo studio
We suggest you do not waste energy on taking photos. Instead, trust professional photographers from our studio in Toronto, who can quickly take the pictures of toys you need. You can also use our available rental service! Rent our unique photo machines for one or several days and take not only hundreds of photos per hour but even videos and 360-degree photos. In our low-cost photo studio, you will not only save money but also use super-modern equipment. We have three exclusive photo machines for rental at our studio.
The “Eclipse” is the machine we use to photograph small toys (up to forty centimetres). This machine includes a complete set of all the options and features you need. With it, you can take high-quality videos and stills from all angles, experiment with set design, and export auto-edited videos and stills to any social network or email within minutes. Furthermore, with this machine, you can not only take a photo from all angles but also shoot a video (the camera flies around the toy from all sides) and take a 3D photo. This means that your customer will be able to move the final image and inspect the toy from all sides.
The “Live” machine is a machine in which you can take full-length photographs of large toys. Here you can even take a photo of a large teddy bear. There is enough space for two, that is, you can take a picture of a child with a toy. Thus, the photo will be more “live” and more attractive. In this machine, you can take photos, videos, and 3D, with and without a model.
How to photograph small collectible cars?
Although the world of toys is vast, some toys remain more popular with collectors and photographers, and collectible toy cars are one of the most popular hobbies even for adults.
Taking pictures of toy cars is easy. They are stable and have beautiful lines, curves, and personalities. If you want to put them on the road, use a very smooth concrete surface to make the scale more credible. In addition, you can create eye-catching and unique images using forced perspective (you have seen such pictures more than once - this is when, for example, a bride is standing in the palm of a groom’s hand). Cars can also be cut out from photos in graphics programs and combined with other backgrounds.
In our studio, you can take photos of toy cars by using the unique “Alphashot” machine. It is designed for photographing jewelry, but it is also perfect for photographing collectible cars.
So, call us and rent the machine you would like to use or let us do the work for you!