June Photo Contest: “My Favorite Toy” – Rule Change & Helpful Tips

For the June meeting, the executive committee as agreed that you can submit your photos in two different formats:

1)   Print – The historical approach.   Rules are the same as always.


2) Digitally –   Send your photos (jpg format) to “[email protected]” and I will load them onto a jump drive and they will be shown on the screen prior to  and during the break.  (I hope to have an online tool in place soon so you can submit them in that format…  for now, send them to me)

Rules are the same as always, the only difference is: 2a)     Entries must be in print form only.   2f)  Minimum size: 8”x10”.  Maximum size” 11”x14”   and 2j)  All entries must have the competitor’s name, image title, and an arrow indicating the “up” orientation on the back in the lower right-hand corner.    These rules do not apply.

Do not watermark your digital photos with you name or any other info.   I will add a number to the photo so member know which photo they are voting for.

Rick Young

President – LAPC


Tips For Photographing Toys (Part 1)

By Scott Umstattd

 Batman 1   Photo By Scott Umstattd

Be Batman, not Bored Man.

Are you bored out of your mind looking for something to do? Well, stop your complaining. We've got some fun photography ideas that will get you so excited you may never put your camera down.

Have you got some cool toys hiding in a closet or a drawer somewhere? Or maybe you have some old memorabilia from your glory days stuck in a box in the attic? Go get them and say goodbye to your boredom!

Have you got some cool toys hiding in a closet or a drawer somewhere? Or maybe you have some old memorabilia from your glory days stuck in a box in the attic? Go get them and say goodbye to your boredom!

If you are just starting out in photography, these tips and ideas will help you make the normal seem incredible. If you already know how to handle a camera these fun photography ideas will ignite your creative juices.

Get ready. Here we go.


Fun Photography Ideas

Let Your Toys Out 

You're looking for some fun photography ideas and your toys are just looking for some fun. Give your toys the life they deserve. Put them in the scenes they were meant to be in. Tractors and gorillas don't belong on a shelf. Look at your stuff and determine where each item is suppose to be. Then, go to that place and give your stuff what is wants: a life far removed from the humdrum life of shelfdom.


Ballplayer 2   Photo credit: Scott Umstattd

Fun Photography Idea 1:    Shoot from below to give your viewers the hero shot.

Ever heard of the Hero Shot? It's a picture of someone or something taken from below. It forces the viewer to look up to them. You saw Batman at the top of the page. Batman looks even more awesome in that picture because I put the camera below his waist and made you look up. We look up to heroes. We look down on mere mortals.   My heroes growing up were baseball players. This hero shot of Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte is actually an 8 inch action figure. I bought it for a buck at Goodwill and it sat on a shelf in my man cave for months. Until one boring day when I placed it on the hood of my car and started taking pictures of it.


Army      Photo credit: Stephen Davies

Fun Photography Idea 2: Don't just take the picture from above. Get down and dirty.

By placing the camera alongside these warriors rather than above them we get the sense that they are an actual threat and not just some things that you can carry around in your pocket.

Where you put the viewer is so important that I will cover it in more detail. Just keep reading.


Tractor 3    Photo credit: Chris Chidsey

Fun Photography Idea 3: Pay attention to the details in your pictures. Little things make big differences.

Notice how the dirt is caked on the tires and plow. Now this is a happy tractor. It's doing what it was meant to do; pretending to farm the land.  But notice how much work went into this shot. The tractor wasn't just put on some dirt. The ground was raked. Dirt and mud is caked onto the wheels to give it a realistic feel.


Truck 4     Photo credit: Mike Thorn

Fun Photography Idea 4: Sunset is a great time to bring out a nostalgic feeling.

Old trucks give a sense of nostalgia. Give your old model truck or car that feeling of days gone by letting it for some fresh air. The light just after the sun rises and before it sets has a warm tint. The light at this time of day is also softer. The shadows cast at this time of day can be softer compared to the midday sun's shadows.


gorilla 6      Photo credit: Asif Akbar

Fun Photography Idea 5: Let your animals run free.

A gorilla in its natural habitat. Out in the wild. Not in a drawer. You know what happens when King Kong is set loose? He has a great time! And so will you. Get down to there level to give them more of a life size feel. Don't stand over a 6 inch action figure and take his picture. It will only make him feel (and look) inadequate.


Barbie 7     Photo credit: Scott Umstattd

Fun Photography Idea 6: Create your own paparazzi scene with your action figures.

I don't have dolls. I have action figures! But one day walking around a beach in Florida I came across Barbie in a lawn chair in someone's back yard. Now, I'm no paparazzi, but for a brief moment I felt like one. It looks like Barbie had a pretty rough night. But I have to give it to Barbie's owners. At least they aren't keeping her locked up in some kid's room. This Barbie has freedom. Maybe too much freedom.

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