“Nuidori”, i.e. photos of adorable stuffed toys, have been gaining popularity. The term itself stems from the Japanese words for stuffed toys (“nuigurumi”) and shooting photographs (“tori”), and one popular concept to use for such photos is to capture your soft toy as the main character in their very own story! Here, I will introduce some pointers on how to tell a tale with your adorable soft toys. (Photos by: Takashi Akaogi, Edited by: Etica)
Point 1: Bathe the toy in backlight for a photo right out of your fantasy world
FL: 50mm/ f/2.8/ 1/500 sec/ EV+2/ ISO 200
[Shooting Conditions] Shooting location (weather): Outdoor (sunny), Lighting condition (strength, direction): Strong light / backlight close to toplight
To create photos with a gentle and soft finish, I would recommend shooting in backlit conditions, which is when light is cast on the soft toy from behind. Many people tend to think that backlight is difficult to work with as it makes subjects appear dark in photos. However, you can use positive exposure compensation to capture images in which the contours of your subject are bathed in light. (Of course, the amount of positive compensation will depend on the light intensity.)
How to use exposure compensation
Press the INFO button to display the shooting function screen and select [AEB].
Turn the exposure compensation dial to adjust the value.
Point 2: Focus on the eyes and blur out the background to make your beloved soft toy pop
FL: 50mm/ f/1.8/ 1/50 sec/ EV+1/ ISO 200
[Shooting Conditions] Shooting location (weather): Indoor (sunny), Lighting condition (strength, direction): Soft light / oblique light
Blurring the areas outside the point of focus gives a softer depiction of the scene captured. Try focusing on the subject’s eyes to capture an even more impressive photo. To create a large bokeh effect, set a small f-number and get up close to the soft toy that is your main subject. You might also want to try out the following tip.
How to change the f-number
Press the INFO button to display the shooting function screen. Select the f-number.
Touch the screen or turn the dial or wheel to adjust the f-number.
Tip: Remember the factors that affect bokeh!
You can adjust the following factors to vary the bokeh effect in the background:
- Focal length of the lens
- Distance between the camera and soft toy
- Distance between the soft toy and the background.
If you want to increase the bokeh effect or create a softer-looking ambience, try using a lens with a long focal length (standard to telephoto), setting a smaller f-number, reducing the distance between the camera and the soft toy, and increasing the distance between the soft toy and background.
Conversely, if you want a smaller bokeh effect and a sharper background, set a larger f-number, use a lens with a wider angle and shorter focal length, increase the distance between the camera and soft toy, and reduce the distance between the soft toy and background.
FL: 50mm/ f/1.8/ 1/640 sec/ EV+1.3/ ISO 200
For this shot, I increased the distance between the soft toy and background to create a bokeh effect in the background.
As a photographer, Akaogi works mainly for magazines and writes books introducing photography and practical tips. He also teaches at photography workshops.
The team behind Japanese camera magazine,“Camera Biyori” as well as numerous other books. Also organizes events and runs the "Tanoshii Camera School", a photography school (@tanoshiicamera).