Behind the Lens with Chris Jones Toy Photography of Funko, Youtooz and Beyond


 

Chris Jones is a Toy Photographer and Digital Artist with a keen eye for Funko Pop!, Youtooz and the picturesque world of collectibles.

The CEO of C.R.E.A.M., Jones shares his thoughts and artwork from more than eight year’s worth of Toy Photography. Check out his profile on Instagram here!

Over to you, Chris!

How’d you get started in toy photography?

I actually got into toy photography when I was looking for some decor for my “Man Cave.” I was at the mall when I came across Funko Pop!s for the first time and they had some of my favorite movie/gaming icons. I think I bought Morpheus from the Matrix and a few others. Once I brought them home and took them out the box I just started taking pictures of them on my phone and posting them on Instagram. Someone DM’d me and suggested I post my photos in Funko photography sessions. I had no clue this world existed and the thrill of posting and receiving comments and likes from people around the world really motivated me to make it a daily/weekly occurrence.

Are you a collector? If so, what do you collect and what got you hooked?

Growing up in England, the toy/collecting culture was never as big as it was here in the US. But once I moved to America and got into the culture of toys and photography I submerged myself in collecting pretty quickly. My collection grew from a couple to 400 in a matter of a few years. I predominantly collected Funko but this year I branched out into other figures, especially Youtooz. In the near future I also want to try shooting 6” figures for their flexibility, I feel like they’ll be a lot of fun to shoot and have endless possibilities for creating scenes.

What do you like to shoot? How would you describe your style?

I like to shoot smaller figures around 4-6 inches as I enjoy making dioramas for them to bring the toys to life. Creating dioramas for anything bigger can become a lengthy process and hard to store. I like to think I have a distinct style that’s noticeable in the community. I’m very into angles, taking mostly landscape shots. For me personally, posting a lot of my content on Instagram makes it easier to shoot landscape so I don’t lose any of the shot to Instagram’s cropping in portrait. When I start creating an idea or recreating a popular scene for a figure I don’t have my end shot in mind. It’s very much ‘as I go’ from start to finish.

What was your first image? Do you have a favorite one that you’ve done?

My first shot was extremely basic I think I placed a Ninja (Richard Tyler Blevins) Funko Pop! next to my scuf PlayStation controller because the colors matched and added some golden sparkle effects afterwards in the background. You could say over the last 8+ years of shooting toys my style of photography has improved dramatically! I used to go out daily with my figs to find locations to shoot them ‘in the wild’ but after years of seeing other toy photographers create incredible dioramas and encouraging words from friends I decided to switch to diorama building around two years ago, I haven’t looked back since! My favorite shot to date would be the Youtooz figure of John Wick. I shot him walking through a Japanese-style pergola with cherry blossoms falling around him.

What’s the secret of turning a good image into a great image?

The best advice I have is to get behind the camera each step of the way as you work through your scene/diorama and see what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t wait till the end of your project to figure out what’s missing. I’ve made this mistake before and when it comes down to taking your final shot you realize a wall is not high enough for your angle or you see blemishes or flaws in the design. This can save you a lot of time and also help you get the best out of your shot.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start toy photography?

If you’re just starting out I definitely suggest shooting characters or figures you’re familiar with. Something/someone you really enjoy because that will come through in your photography. And all the characteristics you know and love about the figure in the show/movie you’ll portray better than someone you know little about. It’s this knowledge of your subject that will take your photography to the next level. Also if you’re starting out this journey to become a product photographer or get hired by a company to make it your profession, then I advise you to NEVER give up! It took me eight years to get my foot in the door with a company but with dedication and hard work, you’ll achieve the goal you set out to accomplish.

 

 

All images via Chris Jones

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