Disclosure: Both Peter and Kaelyn are Pure Nintendo Staff Writers.
My pal Kaelyn, or Nyleak on social media, takes and produces some of the best shots in toy photography. If you don’t follow her on Twitter and want to see her work, you can check out her profile here. But there’s certainly more to capturing pictures between the hours of dusk and dawn, and perhaps there’s more to toy photography than meets the eye.
I’ve decided to get her expert opinion on the subject and really find out what goes into toy photography and what inspires her to take such incredible images.
Here’s what she had to say.
Peter Lopez: When did you first get into toy photography?
Kaelyn Daugherty: It all actually started right here on PureNintendo.com. I was searching for an artist to feature on the website and came across a twitter user named, @CaptDangerous64.
I had never heard of toy photography before. I mean, I had seen people take pictures of their toys, but this type of photography made the toys look alive. She was able to create these little scenes that were so detailed and colorful. I immediately fell in love with the idea. I have collected Pokemon and video game toys since I was a kid. They’ve become a big part of my life, and toy photography gave me a way to utilize them in a way that was fun and interactive.
Here’s one of the first shots I did that I actually liked. It’s not great but I feel that it captures the mood I was going for. I thought that the Goomba actually looked scared.
PL: Did you study the craft or just give it a go?
KD: Well I googled the term to study up a bit and see some examples of other artists’ work. But essentially I just grabbed some of my more detailed action figures, packed them up (safely) in my bag and headed out into the woods. I noticed a lot of other photographers used their own props and dioramas but I really enjoy going out and incorporating nature into mine. I feel like it makes them look like they’re here in the real world. It is fun to add some props that are scaled to the figure though. I recently came across some old wrestling toys and stuff that I could use. Sometimes it’s difficult to find items that are the right size. A lot of toy photographers actually make their own props and sell them on etsy and other websites like that.
PL: Which photograph are you most proud of?
KD: That’s a really tough question. I have fallen in love with so many of my photos, especially the ones involving Link and Goku. Those are two of my most expensive detailed figures so they get a lot of use. I was really proud of my Winter series I did about a year ago when we had our first big snow in December. I took a lot of pictures that day, however, the most popular amongst my followers was “Links detour to the Ice Cavern”. I was still sort of a novice at this time but I felt like I really captured something awesome.
(Favorite photo continued)
KD: As of right now my favorite series that I recently worked on is “The Legend of Shred”, which is essentially me in my backyard with a pile of bricks, a tech deck skateboard and Figma Link. I’m really digging his vibe in these shots :)
PL: What motivates you and inspires you to get up and take pictures?
KD: Honestly, it’s the best way for me to experience the outdoors. I love going outside and as corny as it might sound I think nature is like, so beautiful. As much as I love it though, I can’t really be out in the heat for too long. So going out and taking pictures is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors and I can take a quick break anytime I need too. It also motivates me to search around for new spots that I haven’t been too before, which is always exciting.
PL: Got any tips to spare?
KD: Toy photography is really easy to get into. You can use just about any toy or action figure. Ones that are more articulated and have more detailed facial expressions will of course take better pictures. But I mean, I have seen some really well done photography with things as simple as those dead eyed POP figures, which I can’t stand. You could even use little army men if you place them in the right scenery. Don’t worry if you’re not equipped with a good camera either. While it’s always better to have something a little more high end, I take all my pictures with an old iphone 5. It’s not the best but if you have a little patience it works. My last bit of advice is take pictures from different angles and take some up close and far away. Give yourself some variety when you’re going through your pictures later to find that perfect shot.
PL: Who should we follow on Twitter for motivation if we’d like to get into toy photography?
KD: Some of my favorite Toy Photographers on Twitter are @CaptDangerous64, @kjstoys, and @TaylorTwili. There are plenty of other photographers out there, but these three post something awesome almost every other day, if not more. If you have an Instagram account you can also checkout two more of my favorite photographers, @redpandapies and @curiousherring These are great people to get some inspiration from. I also have an alternate Twitter account that I just started that only tweets and retweets #toyphotography photos (@VideoGameToyz). So check that out if you’re interested and tag me if you post anything, I’d love to see it! Thanks for taking the time to interview me Peter, and thanks to everyone for reading :D