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Author Topic: Doll Photography Tips?  (Read 14002 times)

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Offline Deareux

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Doll Photography Tips?
« on: January 12, 2014, 11:27:36 AM »
Would anyone care to share their doll photography tips? I, and perhaps other members, would like to learn how to take great pictures of their dolls.

I don't really know anything about photography or what kind of camera settings work best for the type of shot. I do know a little bit about composition from art classes. I know indoor lighting gives people trouble, creating inaccurate colors and whatnot.

So if anyone has tips for taking photos of our dolls, please do share. :D



Stickied for reference 1/14/14
BlueChaos
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 04:15:12 PM by BlueChaos »

Offline LiquidCyanide

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 11:40:59 AM »
This might seem obvious (it wasn't to me I was doing it wrong for ages!) but make use of your cameras zoom, I used to get up really close to my dolls and snap away only to find it can make the dolls faces look odd and distorted and the flash (if using one) will badly wash out the shot, whereas backing up and zooming in you can get away with using the inbuilt flash without losing detail.

I'm going to be stalking this thread! I can always use more photography tips and there are some really talented people here.
- WANTED: Amanita, Luna Mothews and Finnegan's diaries -

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 11:49:41 AM »
This might seem obvious (it wasn't to me I was doing it wrong for ages!) but make use of your cameras zoom, I used to get up really close to my dolls and snap away only to find it can make the dolls faces look odd and distorted and the flash (if using one) will badly wash out the shot, whereas backing up and zooming in you can get away with using the inbuilt flash without losing detail.

I'm going to be stalking this thread! I can always use more photography tips and there are some really talented people here.

Interesting! I've always used the macro feature on my camera for any close ups, though my camera has a nice zoom. I might try that the next time I'm experimenting with photos. Thanks!

Offline jillyson

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 12:06:05 PM »
This might seem obvious (it wasn't to me I was doing it wrong for ages!) but make use of your cameras zoom, I used to get up really close to my dolls and snap away only to find it can make the dolls faces look odd and distorted and the flash (if using one) will badly wash out the shot, whereas backing up and zooming in you can get away with using the inbuilt flash without losing detail.

I'm going to be stalking this thread! I can always use more photography tips and there are some really talented people here.

Lol! I did this too!

Offline CharmingVenus

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 12:45:03 PM »
This might seem obvious (it wasn't to me I was doing it wrong for ages!) but make use of your cameras zoom, I used to get up really close to my dolls and snap away only to find it can make the dolls faces look odd and distorted and the flash (if using one) will badly wash out the shot, whereas backing up and zooming in you can get away with using the inbuilt flash without losing detail.

I'm going to be stalking this thread! I can always use more photography tips and there are some really talented people here.

Interesting! I've always used the macro feature on my camera for any close ups, though my camera has a nice zoom. I might try that the next time I'm experimenting with photos. Thanks!

When taking pictures of intricate objects or close-ups, you want to get a little close to the object and definitely use macro.

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 12:47:15 PM »
When taking pictures of intricate objects or close-ups, you want to get a little close to the object and definitely use macro.

Gotcha! So if I want to take pictures of-say-their shoes, I should use my macro. But if I'm composing a full image, I could stand a little back and use the zoom?

Offline MilkyTaroMochi

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 01:05:01 PM »
The macro/ super-macro function is my best friend. <3 Along with zooming in.

I have realized that outdoor lighting is pretty good for pics, and sometimes check around your house for potential good photo-taking spots. Especially if they have great lighting there.
It's part of the reason why most of my pics are taken in the same spot. xD

And I almost forgot: I find it really helps to make multiple pics of your doll/object, from different angles. Because a doll will look nice from one angle, but in another she may look drop dead gorgeous! (Semi-pun kinda intended)

Offline CharmingVenus

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 01:16:08 PM »
When taking pictures of intricate objects or close-ups, you want to get a little close to the object and definitely use macro.

Gotcha! So if I want to take pictures of-say-their shoes, I should use my macro. But if I'm composing a full image, I could stand a little back and use the zoom?

Yeah, that's the idea! I also agree with MilkyTaro! Treat your doll like a model, like Tyra Banks says, "You've got to work your angles!"

Offline Zeowitch

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 03:47:54 PM »
I am not saying that my photo's are the best ever. For all I know some people might think that they are crap. But here is my opinion tips for when you take photo's.

1. Each doll has a unique personality. Get to know the doll, read up on him or her and be true to that personality.
2. Don't be afraid to take shots that "might not work" when you put it over to PC it might be the best photo of the lot.
3. Have Fun!
Have a Monsteriffic Day!
xxx
Z

Offline tuneful87

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 11:17:35 AM »
1. No flash. Ever! Always use natural light, or a lightbox. I prefer to use my kitchen window, and whether indoors or using window light your best light will always be at dawn and dusk. Midday light is just too harsh. If you must use it, make sure it's indirect. I have a Canon Rebel now, but my little Canon Powershot got me a lot of great photos due to good lighting. Don't be afraid to experiment, and make sure to lock onto the image and preview that everything looks crisp and clear before taking your shot.

2. Eye glare is my biggest pet peeve, so be very careful. Try to minimize eye glare as best as possible, and edit it out if need be afterwards. It's a shame when part of eyes or eyeshadow is lost entirely to glare. If you're unfamiliar with photoshop (like me) picasa is a free and very use-friendly alternative.

3. If your camera has this ability, learn to adjust your point of focus. I typically focus on the face, but it all depends what sort of photo you're going for. Most cameras are set to focus automatically on the center of the lens, but learning to move the point of focus is key to getting the perfect shot.

4. When you've found a pose/angle that looks great, take several photos from the same position. More than likely one will end up being slightly out of focus or not quite right, and so you're bound to get one that is perfect. Try a variety of poses, and comb through fashion magazine or images online for inspiration. I typically take a few dozen shots per shoot up to 100 or more, but I only end up sharing a very small portion of them.

5. Keep a comb and glass of water handy. Make sure that hairs are in place, and if not, use a little bit of water on your fingers to smooth things over. Stray hairs can ruin an otherwise perfect photo. On that note, also look out for possible wardrobe malfunctions. Are the girls covered? Check! Nether regions covered? Check! Clothes in order? Check!

6. Sets/backgrounds can be tricky. Try Michael's for a variety of backgrounds and set materials. Sometimes simpler is better too. I'd again suggest checking out fashion magazines for inspiration, and you'll see what works well and what doesn't.

7. Getting your doll to stand can be difficult. Chairs and props help, but sometimes you want your model on her own two feet. On flickr, there is a great group that shows how some photographers get their dolls to stand up. Check it out: http://www.flickr.com/groups/2299089@N21 (I have not tried it out yet myself, but I particularly like the PVC pipe/invisible thread contraption)

8. There are tons of doll groups on flickr - monsters, BJD, Barbie, etc. I'd recommend checking them out. There's a good variety of different photographers there, and you should be able to see what works and what doesn't.

9. Above all, experiment! And I agree with Zeowitch above - it's all about your models and bringing them to life. Once you have that goal in mind, the rest comes naturally.

I hope that helped a bit. I'm constantly trying to better myself, but sometimes the lighting/posing/model just isn't working. When that happens, take a breather, put the camera away, get a new model, and try something new the next day! Or if you're impatient like me, the next hour...hehe...

I look forward to seeing your work!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 11:24:36 AM by tuneful87 »

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 11:26:45 AM »
Thanks everyone!

But I have a quick question. How do you achieve solid black or solid white backgrounds without having to photoshop the doll out of the original image and pasting it into a digital background? Whenever I try to capture solid colors, they always come out warped.

Offline MilkyTaroMochi

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 11:36:32 AM »
Thanks everyone!

But I have a quick question. How do you achieve solid black or solid white backgrounds without having to photoshop the doll out of the original image and pasting it into a digital background? Whenever I try to capture solid colors, they always come out warped.
I wanna say a lightbox is/was used in order to get a solid white or black background. You can buy one, or make a lightbox yourself for pretty cheap (going by a tutorial I plan on using to make one for myself).

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 11:41:13 AM »
I wanna say a lightbox is/was used in order to get a solid white or black background. You can buy one, or make a lightbox yourself for pretty cheap (going by a tutorial I plan on using to make one for myself).

That's what I thought. I've been looking into some affordable light boxes, so I might have to pick up one of those.

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2014, 06:51:41 PM »
 I just got a cheap lightbox today and took some unedited test shots.




Offline jillyson

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 08:15:05 PM »
Nice!

Can I ask what a macro is?

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2014, 10:05:29 AM »

Nice!

Can I ask what a macro is?

Macro is like an up close shot that captures clear detail.

Offline MilkyTaroMochi

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 04:47:51 PM »
The test shoots look good, Deareux! :D
Where did you get the lightbox? I tried to go to Hobby Lobby to find one, and the employee there didn't know what I was talking about, even after explaining it. xD

Offline itzelery

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2014, 05:18:20 PM »
The test shoots look good, Deareux! :D
Where did you get the lightbox? I tried to go to Hobby Lobby to find one, and the employee there didn't know what I was talking about, even after explaining it. xD

If you can't find one in stores, you can probably get a pop-up/foldable one on amazon or just make one yourself (a portable lightbox will run you about $30, a homemade one less so but the homemade ones aren't collapsible so it really depends on the space you have). My sister made one out of foamboard a few years back (but you can make one out of a carboard box with fabric and posterboard too), put a couple of those lights with the clips on them (they sell them at hardware stores) and took some really nice shots in it.


Untitled by eemaree, on Flickr

The trick is to get a nice pair of lamps and a good lightbulb also. You don't want it too yellow or too blue.

We don't have the box anymore and I use the lamp (with a different bulb) for burning images onto screens for screenprinting now so I just take all my photos on the desk of my bedroom with a piece of scrapbook paper on a cardboard box for the backdrop. My bedroom lamp has a wobbly lampshade that I turn and tilt to adjust the lighting and then I take my photos and mess with the brightness/contrast and curves in photoshop to make them look nicer. It's not the best but it works for my style. I don't like super clean, white backdrops unless I need them to be that way.

Here's a link to make one. It's super easy.
http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexpensive-Photography-Lightbox

Offline MilkyTaroMochi

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2014, 05:32:33 PM »
@ itzelery: There were some ones I was eyeing on Amazon, but some of the reviews for them kidna scared me about trying to buy one of those. xD
I had been thinking about trying to make my out light box - I have a big box I got from a Disney.com order that would be a really good size. :D I'm not sure on what type of "cloth" or "lights" to get for the light box, though.  What would you recommend I get?

Offline Deareux

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Re: Doll Photography Tips?
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2014, 05:51:25 PM »
I bought mine off of eBay for about $35. It is foldable with different background cloths. It also came with two lights as well.