This HR professional's clicks makes toys look super awesome

Shahzad Bhiwandiwala is a HR professional by day talks about how he moonlights as a toy photographer,
Shahzad with his camera
Shahzad with his camera

Next time you see a grown man playing with toys, look closely before you judge him. He might be taking lifelike photographs of these toys just like 24-year-old Shahzad Bhiwandiwala. “Not many know about toy photography in India. It was alien to me too until I stumbled upon a toy photography community on Instagram that sparked my interest,” says the Mumbaikar.

Hey Olaf: A shot by Shahzad

Shahzad claims that there has always been a creative side to him. “I was completely into musical theatre and I even performed in massive Broadway adaptations of musicals like the Sound of Music and Grease. But then it struck me that I can’t support myself just doing theatre. It also requires a huge commitment of time,” says the MBA graduate.
But he didn’t want to be stuck in a typical 9-5 job that holds no creative outlet for him. “After I took up a regular job, I figured that I needed a hobby. So, while searching for one, I dabbled in different areas of photography, but nothing quite gave me that ‘oomph’ factor that I got from theatre. That was until I found toy photography,” smiles Shahzad. His love for cult movies like Star Wars, Terminator, Die Hard, etc combined with his knowledge of lighting and positioning of ‘characters’ from his theatre days is what makes him stand out. 

To the aspiring artists out there, please don’t give up. It might take some time to see the results but always keep yourself motivated. There is no end; everyday there is something new to learn. You never know when you will create your masterpiece

Shahzad Bhiwandiwala, Photographer

“Toy photography is no child’s play. I have spent a considerable amount of time learning this art form. You have no idea how the smallest details can bring a toy to life in a photograph. One of the most important lessons that I learnt was that the lens needs to be at the toy’s level and it should fill the frame. The lesser the dead space in the picture, the more lifelike it looks,” explains Shahzad, who recently showcased his work at the National Institute of Photography’s annual exhibition, Clairvoyance. Shahzad even qualified for the Top 30 from West India in the Tamron Photo Challenge, 2015.

“I want people to be aware of toy photography here. There is no forum for it though. It’ll be a while before toy photography can be recognised as a style of photography equal to other traditional styles,” sighs Shahzad, but remains hopeful. He says that there are many international forums for toy photography in the UK, USA and Singapore. You can reach out to him through his Instagram handle -

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