The Colorful Art Of Camera Tossing

Who exactly threw the first camera may be hard to know for sure, but the viral spread of awareness, and popularity, of the photographic technique known as Camera Tossing has been attributed to the Camera Toss flickr group and its creator Ryan Gallagher. Currently, the original flickr group has 5,000 members with nearly 3,500 submitted photos. In total there are some 15,000 photos tagged ‘cameratoss’ on flickr.

With the spread of its popularity around the internet the technique has quickly gained acceptance and legitimacy, with subsequent articles, gallery showings and image licensing from companies such as Adobe, who use camera tossing images for some of their packaging.

Camera Tossing Basics

Photo by clickykbd + clickykbd


It is exactly what it sounds like. To achieve the proper results first realize there are no proper results and just throw your camera in the air. Try to remember to push the shutter first and, of course, to catch the camera.

For more information on camera tossing and the camera tossing community a good place to start is Camera Toss (The Blog).

Photo by daddy0h


The current interest in this rather bizarre form of photography stems from the creation of the Camera Toss interest group on flickr. I (my flickr page) created this interest group after doing quite a bit of throwing my camera and enjoying the process and results. Essentially, I thought others might enjoy doing it or looking at the results so I shared them as I went. It also embodied some very core ideas about art that I find fascinating.

Photo by davespilbrow

How it went from there to getting linked everywhere, having a blog that at times attracts thousands of visitors a day, getting covered by the printed media, and needing this Mini-HOWTO is another story. If you are curious here is a good theory on such things. Regardless of everyone’s individual reasons for viewing or participating, it apparently had all the right ingredients to capture imagination and continue spreading.

Photo by blmurch

Throw and Motion Styles

The object here is not height, although some people attempting daytime aerial photography have found that an interesting challenge. Camera Toss is about applying motion to the camera that is otherwise impossible if you keep it in your hands. A short wildly spinning throw is one good example. Experiment with as many types of throws as your camera seems to allow. Some common ones are: flipping end over end where the lense sweeps a full 360 degrees or more, spinning on the lens axis facing the subject, chaotic (a mixture of motion), and flat (simple up and down with as little rotation as possible).

Photo by clickykbd

Also consider that lateral motion plays a part, simple up and down throws are a good starting point, but other results are possible if the camera and lens are traversing a scene/subject while spinning. For serious traversal throws a partner might be needed for catching, or a very soft landing zone so that you don’t have to chase the flying camera, a very difficult situation to effectively catch anything. A little bit of traversal goes a long way when working very close to a subject (macro style camera tossing).

Camera Tossing Color Inspiration

Photo by clickykbd
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Photo by greentea

Photo by grahamdoig
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Photo by frenkieb

Photo by cobalt
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Camera Tossing Links:
Camera Toss flickr Group
Camera Toss (The Blog)
Tagged Photos

More Images

Photo by donovan1969

Photo by clickykbd

Photo by clickykbd

Photo by clickykbd

Photo by frenkieb

Photo by quinet

Photo by clarkk

Title photo by derfokel

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.