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  • Writer's picturemitchelwu

Baby's Day Out - Toy Photography Behind The Scenes

Updated: Feb 23

I absolutely love this image. One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Popeye. I still remember waking up on Saturday mornings and having a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal while sitting in front of the TV watching Popeye, The Flintstones, Bugs Bunny and other classic cartoons. What a great way to start the day!

While some of my setups are straight forward and move fairly fast, this image and setup was anything but and involved a lot of problem solving - which angle to shoot it at, the composition, how to handle the power lines, etc. Having Swee Pea in front of the blue sky instead of overlapping the building, and slightly above the lower roof line, was intentional to reinforce the fun but perilous situation the baby put himself in. He was attached to the power line with a dab of hot glue. I found that the wire I always use to support my toys was the perfect thickness and color for the power lines. If I have time I'll often let a completed setup like this sit for a day or two, and I'll keep going back to it with fresh eyes to see if a little change here or there might improve it and the story. I've found that even the smallest tweak can often improve the overall image. Details matter. The most time consuming (and frustrating) part of this setup was finding the little doves. I knew I had a bag full of them, which I originally used in my Little Prince image. I tore my house and garage apart looking for those birds haha! I never found them, but I eventually did find one single toy dove in a packed toy container among other toys. Since it was just one dove, I ended up shooting it in the different locations you see in my image and composited them all into the master image. I used 5 or 6 lights for this scene and photographed it with my Canon R6 and Canon 24-70 f2.8L II.

Thanks to the team at Boss Fight Studio for creating these amazing Popeye figures. I'm going on my third year creating images for Boss Fight Studio, an amazing collaboration that began because of their Popeye Collection. But Popeye was just an entree into all of the other amazing properties that Boss Fight creates and carries - properties I create images from throughout the year. If you're a toy photographer, or just love toys, definitely check Boss Fight Studio out. Like me, they are fans and creators first and foremost.

Shout out to Jordon at Oiler's Workshop for creating the amazing New York-style brownstone house seen in my image. Jordan's artistry and craftsmanship never fails to blow my mind!

Let me know in the comments if you enjoy toy photography behind the scenes like this. They're basically image dissections, where I'm able to add so much more information, detail and thoughts than I can in a BTS post on Instagram.

Swee Pea with doves on powerline

Popeye setup behind the scenes

You can see the equipment I use and the toys I photograph here in my Amazon shop.

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