Matthew Goldberg wears many hats as a brand influencer, social media manager and eCommerce photographer. But Toy Photography remains his passion and part of a “surreal journey.” We jump into the ring with Matthew who gives us a glimpse into his world of wrestling photography and beyond!
When did you begin toy photography? What was the inspiration?
I began toy photography, I believe, in 2015. I had been doing a lot of stop-motion animation with wrestling figures since 2006 on YouTube, it was a huge success, and as I got older and went to college I had less and less time to do such. Having studied film for many years, I decided to try my hand at toy photography, being there weren’t that many people, if any really, doing wrestling figure photography and it was a lot less time consuming than doing animation. Knowing wrestling worked well for me, and being a lifelong fan, I figured I’d try it out.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say I aim for a very realistic style. My goal is to always make someone do a double take, in that they don’t know if they’re looking at an actual photo of people or if they’re looking at toys. It’s really cool to blend the two together. I use real photos/video stills to help guide me on how to pose them realistically to sell the realism of the image.
What do you look for in a good photograph?
The details really make a photograph for me. Besides the obvious of framing, lighting, focal points, etc. I like when someone puts the tiny details into a shot to really sell the realism of it.
What do you shoot? What’s your favorite to shoot?
I shoot wrestling action figures mainly, like WWE and AEW. I collect a lot of different toy lines and would love to experiment in more cinematic photography, such as Star Wars or Marvel, etc. My favorite thing to shoot would be wrestling, being it’s my most demanded content and has truly opened so many doors for me over the years, which I’m beyond grateful for.
What did you collect as a kid? What do you collect now?
I always collected wrestling as a kid, but my other collections have come and gone, then came again since then. I go through phases like many others really, but wrestling was always my staple and it’s become a huge part of my life now.
I like to collect Star Wars and I did collect that a little bit growing up, some Marvel like the MCU figures, a lot of NECA movie action figures, many Funko POPs and other random, nostalgic lines/figures that surface over time really. There’s so many nostalgic action figures and toy lines these days that it’s so overwhelming in a fun way. There’s also new toys being developed constantly that it’s hard to keep up with it all!
What advice do you have for prospective toy photographers?
My biggest advice would be to not be afraid to experiment. My work has grown so much over the years as I’m always trying new things and pushing my boundaries to grow as an artist. Many people get comfortable and don’t go outside their comfort zone, whether that’s trying more elaborate setups or simply editing their work more in-depth to polish it up that much more.
Also, don’t be afraid to invest in the hobby. It can get very expensive, but if you’re open to growing then you need to constantly upgrade your tools, setup, and so on. Don’t be afraid to make those big moves. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. Study people’s work and ask them how they did it. If they don’t tell you then do your best to figure it out by experimenting. Watch tutorials if you have to. Be open to stepping outside the box.
What other kinds of work/services do you provide?
I do social media marketing for a living, but I have a Bachelors and Masters in film and television. I love creating content, whether graphics or videos, and sharing it with the world. I most recently started doing e-commerce photography for Jazwares with their AEW toy line, so it’s been a dream come true to work on a new, popular, growing toy line as well as see my work live on websites like Target, Walmart, Amazon and many more. It’s just been a very surreal journey from this hobby. I’m also a brand influencer for Mattel, Ringside Collectibles and many other wrestling toy licensees, so I’m always working on promoting products through many forms of content.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
If you’re a wrestling fan be sure to check out my photography over on my instagram (@mbg1211) at instagram.com/mbg1211! If you’re not a wrestling fan still give me a follow if you’d like as I do plan on stepping out of my comfort zone again and doing something cool, like Star Wars, to expand my skills. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope to see you around on my page! Thanks!
Enjoy some more of Matthew Goldberg’s images