How I Got The Shot: Joyland Toyland Series Macro Photography

Posted by: on Jul 6, 2018

Bio: Catherine Slye is a fine art photographer and manages all technical support for Tether Tools. Follow her on Instagram at @catslye_photography and online at  

My Gear List:

My series Joyland Toyland is purely for fun – fun to search antique stores for the vintage toys, fun to shoot tethered and straight to Bay Photo Lab for bright fun prints.  Most of my fine art photography work is serious – I wanted a super playful project to work on simultaneously with my other work, a whimsical and lighthearted project, to keep me balanced across my work.  In my home, I took a wide, yet shallow closet and created a tiny photo studio specifically to photograph the tiny toys. The closet is approximately 45”W x 25”D, it’s the perfect size. I simply removed all the items and added a bar to hold a wide roll of white paper for tiny cyc wall, voila! A macro photo studio.

One of the awesome benefits of the Sony camera is being able to shoot with manual lenses via adapters.  I picked up a used Canon EF 50mm Compact Macro lens from my local camera shop and a brand new Pictools adapter for about $300.  The adapter can power the auto-focus, but I find this to be the weakest feature of the adapter, it’s slow and doesn’t always lock on focus, so I manually focus instead.

Lume Cubes are small, yet powerful. The filters are taped on the cubes allowing me the freedom to manipulate the light by hand. Choosing the filters all depends on the color and make-up of the toy – plastic or celluloid and fiber all react differently to light.  Typically, I’ll start with complementary colors and then try out various analogous color combinations until I reach a combination that I like best.

Tethering to my laptop quickly allowing me to take advantage of the 4K monitor, showing me in amazing detail every small feature of these tiny toys. Knowing I got the shot makes all the difference.

Prints available here: 


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