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  • Writer's picturemitchelwu

Toy Story Garden Hose BTS

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Like many of my images, the most challenging part can be coming up with the idea. Once I have the idea it often comes down to problem solving - how to set everything up to make the shoot as easy as possible, as well as how to minimize my work in post.

I shoot alone, without an assistant, so I needed to elevate and support the garden hose for the shot. I did this using a light stand and taped the garden hose securely to the stand to minimize movement. I planned to shoot this in three separate shots (1)Woody, (2) his hat, and (3) Buzz, so minimizing movement during and in between shots was important. You can see my Canon 5D3 on top of my Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber tripod - having a stable base for my camera is critical to all my shots. You can also see a Spider Holster hand strap attached to the right of the camera body - any time my camera is off the tripod it's either strapped to my wrist or secured in the actual Spider Holster on my waist. I credit my Spider Holster gear for never having dropped my camera.

When it came time to shoot you can see how I attached Woody to a piece of stiff wire. This allowed me to dip him into the stream of water at different angles and depths to get the best splash possible. I'm really picky when it comes to splash aesthetics so I probably took 100+ different images before arriving at one I liked. Because I shoot alone, I use an infrared camera shutter remote - this allows me to fire my camera while actively participating in the shot, a safe distance away from my camera.

Woody's hat and Buzz required separate shots, again each attached to wire. I could have set all of the components up together in one shot (and probably would have done exactly that when I first started shooting toys), but that would have required a lot more work - and the results would not have been as strong because I wouldn't have given myself as many angles and options to choose from. My primary image was Woody in this fun splashing stream of water. I didn't manipulate or change Woody and the splash at all, it's exactly as I photographed it. I then added his hat and Buzz from separate shots, and then removed all the wires using Photoshop. Love the end result!

Thank you to my sponsors at Manfrotto, Spider Holster, Lowepro and Atmosphere Aerosol - go check these amazing companies out. Their products are the best the industry has to offer, and are a huge part of my process and success.


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