Are you stuck in a rut with your photography?  If so look no further as for a whole week I want you to free your imagination and get creative with a stuffed toys. Yes you read that right a stuffed toy, they don’t argue and will sit still giving you time to carefully think about your shot.

I bet you had a favorite cuddly toy as a kid. I want you to embrace that thought and use it to take a series of photos.  Each day I’ll give you a new topic to inspire you and some pointers. I want you to grab your camera and get shooting.

By the end of the week you will have a selection of quirky shots that ought to raise a smile in everyone. Try to keep the same toy in as many shots as possible to give continuity to your final set. The idea behind the week’s challenges is to get you to think about why you’re taking the shot as well as having fun.

Monday – Take a glamour shot


Shoot in a dark room and think about the light you add. Work slowly and look where the shadows fall. A glamour shot is all about the model so use a plain background to avoid distractions. Pose your model in a way that’s going to look attractive to another toy and use props that suit the model and style of shot.

Tuesday – Have some comedy fun


This needs to be all about content and that content needs to tell a story.  Think about the composition but the priority needs to be with the content. Set a scene that tells a story so your viewer’s can imagine what’s going on and what’s about to happen.  I took the idea for this shot from a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Wednesday – Photo bomb a tourist shot


Take your stuffed toy on a day trip to a local landmark. Focus on the location and pose your toy so there’s no doubt that they want to be the star of the show as they photo bomb your shot. In real life most photo bombers aren’t in sharp focus so don’t be too careful with your settings.

Thursday – Get up to mischief


Pose a scene of naughtiness. A trip to a thrift store will provide models that aren’t expected to live after the shoot. Pose your scene in a way that shows your main model showing their naughty side. Look around your home and choose something you’d make sure a child wouldn’t play with and then use that for your shot.

Friday – Shoot a silhouette


For this you’ll need a bright background, a colorful one is best so try blinds or a good sunset. It also helps if you can keep your subject reasonably dark. Focus on the model but expose for the background and the result will be a silhouette.

The final shot will be pretty minimalist but it’s going to hide imperfections in your model and give you bold results that are easy to process.

Saturday – Show your stuffed toys social life


Saturday night is often party night so take a shot of your toy relaxing. Think about the personality you want to show. Perhaps your stuffed toy is a dinner and movie type instead of a wild party animal. If you’re going to pose your toys in a group make sure you’ve got plenty of soft light bouncing around.

Sunday – Shoot them helping in the kitchen


What’s cooking? Traditionally Sunday is the time when a big family meal is cooked so use cooking as the theme for the day. It might be a bit gruesome but now is your chance to show that animals sometimes eat each other. Pose one animal cooking or preparing to cook another.

Hard processing is ok if it helps you add a surreal feel to the frame. For this image I bracketed my shots and processed using HDR software.


Finishing up.


The plan is that by the end of the week you’ve had fun because that’s what photography is all about. None of your shots will be too serious but the techniques you’ve been using are all ones you can use in future portrait shoots. I had fun taking all these shots and the tea party at the end rounded things off well.

Now it’s your turn to release your inner child, grab some stuffed animals and  enjoy yourself as you shoot.


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  1. Cedric January 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Now that’s what I’m talking about! I like ideas like this to keep you practicing your skills. You got to keep your axe sharp. Thanks.

  2. Mike Newton January 20, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Thanks Cedric, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. BOBL May 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Sounds like fun. This exercise will give us an opportunity to practice our photography skills such as lighting, DOF and sharpness. Don’t forget composition!

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