Your input on doll photography is requested.

I have begun to plan a series of articles and would like to address the needs of collectors who photograph their dolls. It would be wonderful if you could take a little time to answer any or all of the following questions and send them to me via email. If you want you can answer them here as well. If you have anything else to add, feel free!
Thanks in advance.

-What areas of your doll photography would you like to improve?
-What aspects of your camera don’t you understand?
-What are your biggest challenges with doll photography?
-Do any of your photographic results displease you?
-Do you have questions about doll photography?

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  1. 1) lighting
    2) I think I understand most of them. Would like to have a macro lens to do better close ups
    3)Posing the dolls and getting them to keep the poses
    4)of course, especially unfocused ones
    5)Would love to find out more about lighting

  2. 1) Settings and backdrops -- creating an environment
    2) I understand all aspects -- I'd like a better camera for closeups in focus.
    3) Close ups in focus
    4) Yes -- but that's to be expected with all photography
    5) I'd like a list of the outstanding photographers

  3. I would really like to get better lighting and a softness to my pictures. If you look at Karen Kays pictures..I love the way her pictures always look. I just don't know how to achieve that?

    1. Can you post a link to Karen Kay's pictures? I am not familiar with her work.

  4. Sorry, see late that this is where you post. I simply would like to know how one goes about taking the high quality of photos that you produce.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I've been photographing for a long time and I keep practicing and trying to improve.

  5. Hi Terri,
    I've enjoyed your previous articles so I will be looking forward to this series.
    Photography has changed so much in the last decade that I see it as almost a new field
    therefore I would like to see:
    1. Maximizing results with a point and shoot!
    2. Photo shop and other comparable programs (I remember a very good article you did on removing color or changing its intensity.)
    3. Lighting! How are the types different and what is the "simpliest" set up.
    4. Simple effects that have strong results.
    5. Cropping and composition
    Because I keep stressing simple because I want to be able to enjoy getting good results (not incredible, I have few illuisions on that score) and to learn as I "play" with the camera.
    Will this series be for FDG or the revitalized HD?
    As always....love the blog

    Will C.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Will. This will be for FDQ.

    2. This, all of it, from #1 to # 5. Many of us do not have high powered cameras nor the means or time to learn to use them, much as we would like to, so learning to maximize my digital point'n'shoot as well as work with GIMP (for me) to enhance would be wonderful.

      And maybe some information or links on where to find good information for when (or if) we do decide to upgrade our camera, and what lenses are most useful for this kind of photography.

      Reference materials.

      Thank you!

  6. You have inspired me to actually try my hand in the doll photography field .. I just got myself a Canon, and an actual studio set up, so my concerns may reflect those in the beginner/amateur stage :)

    1. Lighting and correctly diffusing. I take many shots, and have to retake because the gloss on the dolls eyes, when photographed, reflects the softbox lighting which makes them look like they are midway transforming into storm..or possessed.
    Also tips on photographing porcelain white dolls would be very much appreciated - when I took photos of my BW BJDs and Bride of Vampire dolls - they are washed out, no details shown whatsoever even though the outfit and background is perfect in details.

    2. Detailed information about different settings in non technical terms would be very much appreciated ! Ive been reading tutorials on photographing and they use all this technical details without explaining or having an image to describe - I just got a headache and decided to just point and shoot. eg. the little flower - macro. That is just about the only thing I know. Descriptions and tutorials on setting "levels" iv (I think thats what is called?) would be really beneficial for us amateurs!

    3. Posing. Ive seen some of your dolls - and they dont look like they are on stands. I really dont understand how they can keep standing with those heels. BJD's I can understand, but not barbie/FR/12inch dolls. If stands were used - how to hide or conceal them.

    4. Correctly setting up a backdrop and how to set up lighting.

    5. Perfecting hair. Ive seen many doll shots - ruined with untamed hair. The hair maybe styled perfectly but there are many flyaways around the head, or on the face. Perhaps a photoshop tutorial on how to perfect hair ?

    6. Photoshop effects - getting shots that look like they were underwater, vintage pinup style, grainy old photos etc. Those are always fun to read :)

    7. Making an impact. I get bored of looking at photographs that are basically "pretty doll 1" "pretty doll 2" - how to make photographs stand out and leave an impression - what to crop, blur out, enhance, shoot point position etc. Perhaps a not to do list ? like up nose shots, weird the exorcist neck poses, flash etc.

    8. A behind the scenes look

    Thats all I can think of now !

    1. Thanks for your great input, Aisha!

  7. UOW!!
    I Guess I Have To Belive In Something Magic!!
    This Topic Was And Is Exactly What I'm Feeling Now!
    I Think "I Was Till Where I Could Arrive Alone" Doing My Doll Photos,And I Feel Now The Necessecity To Turn Better Their Aspects Of Light,Since I Use To Shot Them Always And Only Natural Light.
    I need to learn how to turns better the light on them and I feel lost trying to understand my camera...I'll send you an e-mail and please if it will not take too much of time...make me a visit on CLICKING DOLLS.You Just Have To Click On My Name!!
    God Bless You!!Thank You Thank You,Thank You!!!

    1. Thanks, Jorge. Glad you are enjoying this.

    2. Terri,I'm Really Happy To See You As Someone Able To Share And To Help Other Ones By Your Personal Experience Doing Your Amazing Photo Job By The Dolls.
      I Can't Wait To Read More About It Here And To See Your Project Becoming An Extraordinary HELP For Us!
      Thank You!(I'll Send You Today An Email!)

  8. Hi Terri, my answers to the 5 questions mostly echo all previous posted here, so I'll just make it a summary-
    1 lighting;
    2 I own a simple point and shoot so none really :)
    3 keeping the poses varied and interesting is a challenge to me because even with dolls on articulated bodies I tend to snap back to boring "tried and true" poses;
    4 yes, pictures taken in harsh sunlight are always a problem, I try to stick to filtered sunlight areas outside but direct sunlight usually ends up with way too strong contrast.
    5: I do have one question that's also about photography in general, but applies to doll photography so I hope it's relevant. Do you think it's okay or not okay to be a chance photographer? I read an article (lost the link) before which said that a -good- photographer knows their camera inside and out and doesn't need to take a ton of pictures in the first place because they know exactly what the end result will look like. The article said more or less that you're not a very good photographer if you take 100 samey pictures that need to be edited down to 20 good pictures later, because a truly good photographer just takes 20 spot-on shots. So is it true that pros don't waste "clicks" or do you also end up editing your photoshoots down to x out of y pictures? If yes how many on average do you take initially? Thank you for this opportunity, I would love to learn something from a pro such as you :)

    1. Alrunia, I'm going to answer your last question right here. First of all for someone to make a statement like that is ridiculous without clarifying what he meant. I love digital photography precisely because I can click away and take risks. I don't consider myself a chance photographer. I experiment. I do a lot of editing with some shots and occasionally I know that one shot worked. Visualizing the outcome of a photograph is important in some cases. It's such an individual choice.
      I'll tell you what drives me crazy with some doll photographers...when they post like 10 pictures that look nearly identical.

  9. I would love (if possible) some direction on the best and least expensive point and shoot digital cameras for dolls. Obviously dolls present a very specific need for clear, very close ups and I'm sure there must be cameras that are better at this than others. Also, the ability to take clear close ups in low lighting would be great. A suggestion for a DSLR camera would be helpful too (one that doesn't cost a fortune) and also tips on how to focus in the foreground and blur the background would be great! Thanks so much!

  10. Just found this! Cool!
    I'd like to learn about 1) Lighting! 2) Posing dolls 3) Fixing doll's hair. Those are the 3 issues I run up against over and over. Not that I haven't made good shots, because I have. I've got a Nikon D80 and it's a gem of a camera! But indoor lighting and doll placement are struggles for me. Thanks so much!

  11. Great idea to share your experience. I like to take pictures of my dolls as an amateur but would like to improve some things :
    - use of backdrops (how to set a light behind, use a reflection floor)
    - how to place my camera to shoot a doll standing without a short leg effect
    - get rid of the doll stands
    - work with shades or creating them
    And thanks again for sharing.

  12. I would love to improve my photography in the following areas:
    clear, sharp and bright photos (probably related to lighting!)
    how to get the most flattering photos of my dolls at any angle