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Mitchel Wu Toy Photography Behind the Scenes: Toy Story Woody and Thirsty Bullseye

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

This was a super fun image to create, and this is one of my favorite images so far. Okay, honestly, I probably have a dozen favorite images at this point and I like most of them for different reasons. I really like this image because it's a story of friendship - similar to a friendship a person might have with their dog. I had a vague idea of using Woody's hat to pour water for some time, but could never nail down exactly what he'd be pouring water on or in. Watering flowers or jokingly pouring water on Buzz's head were two ideas. And then one morning I was eating breakfast with my daughter, as I usually do, and she was eating a bowl of cereal, as she usually does. The visual of seeing and hearing her gobbling up a bowl of cereal and milk that morning was all it took. Minutes later I had the scene set up on my kitchen table, and from there I moved everything out to my porch. Check out this short video.

I photographed this with my Canon 5D3 and my Canon 135mm f2L. I shot it at f2, which lets me keep Woody and Bullseye in focus while letting everything else in the background soften and blur. This is primarily due to my camera settings AND the distance of the elements in the background. Had I moved the branches closer to Woody and Bullseye they would have been more in focus. I shot this at a fast 1/1600 sec to clearly freeze the splashing water drops and drips. If I wanted more of a motion-blurred feel to the drops I would have shot this at a much slower speed, maybe 1/400 sec. My Canon body and lens are an integral part of my process and allows me the ability and flexibility to create the exact image I have in mind.

This is a good angle to see the distance I placed the branches behind the scene. Pay no attention to the large ceramic vessel and teapot. As artists in a very suburban neighborhood our house tends to have a little more...flavor...than the other houses haha!

There was a wire supporting Woody which I later removed in Photoshop. Thankfully Bullseye was able to stand on his own. The biggest surprise was that Woody's arms supported the hat filled with water without the need of additional support. That just meant less editing later. I make my own mini-sandbags using sandwich bags filled with sand (seen on the left side of the railing). I use these to hold support wires in place. I have larger and smaller sandbags to use depending on how heavy a figure is that needs to be supported.

More of a back view of the setup. I've created so many different worlds and adventures on that porch railing.

And the fun, final image!

Thanks so much for checking out this post. You can subscribe to my blog at the top right of this page, which will notify you of any new blog posts in the future.

Thank you to my sponsors at Atmosphere Aerosol (use discount code MW10 for a special rate if purchasing from their website), Manfrotto, Spider Holster and Lowepro camera bags.


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