_nod 1:43am, 23 November 2005
Disclaimer : _nod accepts no responsibility for any injuries to photographers or damage to photographic equipment sustained during the tossing process!

First of all I'd just like to say that camera tossing is a relatively new phenomenon (or so it seems)and as such there are probably plenty of tossing methods, tips and tricks that I am unaware of or in fact have never even been tried before, therefore this how-to should simply be seen as a guide simply to point you in the right direction.

Basic tossing tips:

1. Be careful - Yes it sounds obvious, but I don't think this point can be over stated. Your photographic equipment is important to you and is probably quite expensive, so think before you toss! For example dramatic lighting conditions give good results, but will also make it hard to catch the camera if you loose sight of it.

2. Have fun - In my eyes the process of taking the shots should be as enjoyable as viewing the results, there is a certain feeling I get when I launch hundreds of pounds worth of camera equipment in to the air and although it probably shouldn't be it is a good feeling. I think this is one of the main factors that keeps me coming back for more.

3. Experiment - As aforementioned the camera tossing phenomenon is very new so there is no such thing as an expert, no official guidelines as such, nobody has done it all and camera tossing seems to mean different things to different people, so do what feels right for you and explore the photographic opportunities which present themselves. However please be aware that there are some fundamental rules for the flickr camera toss group to try and maintain a level of camera tossing integrity, however shots that don't meet these rules can always be posted in the forums.

Camera tossing in low light.

My best tip is to start indoors, although there are many opportunities for great tosses outdoors, indoor tossing enables you to create a safer more controlled environment in which you can start to experiment. Find a simple light source such as a lamp or TV, about 5ft away from this place cushions (or anything else soft) on the on the floor then kneel down, holding the camera just above them. Toss the camera about a foot into the air and press the shutter as late as you can before letting go, being careful to toss the camera straight up. Then let the camera do all the work while you concentrate on the catch!

Remember it's not about how high you toss, it's all about the spin you put on the camera. Repeat the toss spinning the camera with a flick of the wrist as you let go, obviously there are many ways you can spin the camera and they all give different results, so keep experimenting checking your results as you go to hone your technique. Next try a different light source or try combining another light source with the existing one.

I personally aim for shutter speeds between half a second to two seconds, how you do this depends very much on your individual camera. Cameras with shutter priority obviously come in very handy for this, however if your camera doesn't have this functionality - lets face it most cameras people are willing to throw around won't - worry not there are a few tricks you can use to use to help you on your way:

One trick is to point the camera away from the light source or put your hand over the lens when you half press the shutter to set the exposure, this kids the camera in to a longer exposure, although it can can cause focusing issues.

Alternatively you may be able to use landscape mode, some cameras automatically select a smaller aperture to gain greater depth of field in landscape mode, this will also have the effect of bumping up the exposure time.

Also you can also increase the exposure compensation, but if the conditions are right the camera will often give a long shutter with out the need to adjust settings.

Day time tosses.

Personally I have a soft spot for these, especially self portraits. The main difference between a daytime toss and a low light toss is that the cameras self timer will be required. Obviously in brighter conditions cameras will struggle to obtain a long enough exposure for a low light style toss and even if you could I bet most of the results would be extremely bland and/or overexposed. The trick here is to set the cameras self timer and then utilise your own good timing to toss the camera so that the shutter fires roughly around the high point of the toss; easier said than done!

Again I'd recommend trying this over something soft, at the very minimum some long grass. The best daytime toss results are generally achieved when the camera is pointing back down to earth - lets face it you can take photos of clouds from the ground - therefore you may want to think about the spin (or lack of) applied to the camera when you toss. I find holding the camera lens down and spinning around the axis of the lens works well here.

Sadly day time tosses seem to offer up less creative opportunities than night time tosses, but feel free to try and prove me wrong on that one.

I'd say that's about all you need to know to get you started, just keep trying different subjects, locations, exposure settings, toss heights and spins; whatever feels good for you. And there we have it, the beginners guide to camera tossing. As I have mentioned I didn't really want to go in to too much detail as I don't want to hinder anybodies creative processes, but if you have any questions e-mail me at cameratoss@btinternet.com or just ask in the forums.

Corgi_T PRO 12 years ago
Your camera weighs hundreds of pounds? Good luck catching it.

OH, pounds, as in money... right.
clickykbd PRO 12 years ago
nice post, worth the read especially if you are new to this. You also beat me to it, I had 70% finished writing a mini-howto for the blog. I think I will eventually post both, your's makes a better beginners guide. so far mine is a little more detailed but less readable, by no means a definitive guide or anything!
eastofnorth PRO 12 years ago
well-written, easy read, needs illustrations. :)
_nod 12 years ago
Thanks guys, I'd chopped and changed it quite a bit as I've been doing little bits here and there, so I'm glad you think it's easy to read!
clickykbd PRO 12 years ago
I blogged this, so shoot me an email when you do major updates. The post also links to this version.


Published the first revision of the Mini-HOWTO also. Adding both to the sidebar!


Yes! technical drawings would be fun! I did add a huge example section to the MiniHOWTO, check it out. Will fix typos and other crap in next version.
travellinks96 11 years ago
interestested to know about please help
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