How to use your freezer to make props for toy photography

Feb 6, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to use your freezer to make props for toy photography

Feb 6, 2024

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Frozen prop toy photography

Sometimes, as photographers, we see some inspiration or get an idea, and we think to ourselves, “How the heck are we going to do this?”. Toy photographer Sirdork was inspired by a video he saw that shows somebody freezing noodles in the cold outdoors to make them rock solid.

He wanted to try this himself and use the idea in his toy photography. After coming up with a concept, he ended up using his fridge freezer to achieve a similar result.

YouTube video

Baby, it’s cold outside

The original video that Sirdork saw was posted by Canada-based LaneyRoux76 on TikTok. It shows a bowl of noodles being set in the snow. A fork is placed into it, picking up a bunch of noodles as it’s raised.

The fork was placed on something to keep it stable while she went back inside. Ultimately, with -37ºC temperatures (that’s -34ºF for those that don’t do metric), the water in the noodles froze solid, creating a static representation of… Well, eating noodles, I suppose.

@laneyroux76

A few outtakes from our frozen noodle adventure this weekend! I hope the takeaway is that it’s good, clean fun. @Nolan LeRoux #frozennoodle #itchiban #polarvortex #scienceathome #ramen #alberta #canada_life🇨🇦 #frozenramen #ramenart #frozenart #stayweird #havefun

♬ original sound – LaneyRoux76

It’s an interesting idea for photography, where we often find ourselves trying to figure out solutions to make things look like they’re frozen in a moment in time. In this case, literally frozen.

But not everywhere…

When Sirdork attempted to replicate the experiment for his photography in New York, the temperatures were a little too high. So, he cleared out his freezer. First, he cooked the noodles as normal and then prepared his scene.

Sirdork used chopsticks for his setup instead of a fork, as he felt it was more appropriate for the Pokemon characters he’d chosen to photograph with it, and set it in his freezer while he worked on getting the rest of his set ready.

Frozen prop toy photography

After all, it’s frozen noodles. Eventually, they’re going to thaw out and start drooping, ruining the prop. So, he got everything prepped beforehand so that he could move as quickly as possible once the noodles were out of the freezer.

After a bit of tweaking, he got his photo.

An interesting idea for short-lived props

Using a freezer for photography subjects isn’t new. And in timelapse subjects, it’s quite common. Filming ice cubes melting over time is a very popular timelapse subject because it’s something that anybody can try.

Grab some ice cubes out of the freezer, set up the camera and then leave it shooting until they’re a puddle of water. Now you’ve got a lot of time compressed down into a minute or two, like this video from Len Whistler.

YouTube video

It’s a little less common for stills photography, but melting was something Sirdork didn’t want. He was able to capture the images he needed while the noodles were still frozen solid, but I think seeing these melt in a timelapse could’ve been quite interesting, though.

Perhaps that’s a video challenge somebody else will take up. Have you frozen subjects for photographs? What do you think would make a good frozen subject?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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