Behind the scenes of doll photography

Today I spent the whole morning taking photographs for my Etsy shop (but not only!). That brought to my mind a thought of giving a glimpse into my photographing process. That is, taking you behind the scenes…

First, there are a couple of fresh photos from today’s photo session.

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As you can see, I use two photo lights (they came as part of this kit), a background stand and a roll of white seamless background paper. The reason why I chose these lights is that they can be folded which is important for a portable studio at home. I wasn’t able to use the 500W bulbs that came with the kit – the moment I turned them on, they burned and tripped the circuit breaker. So I put in standard bulbs, which I later changed for 110W white energy saving ones, and while they don’t give as much light as I need, it’s the best I could have and they work fine.

But I haven’t always used the studio equipment. There was a time, about 2-3 years ago when I took photographs on a patio – first, just as it is (which I am not happy about anymore but those photos still can be seen at the very beginning of this blog), and later I bought some backgrounds and invented a system of mounting them outside on a large wooden board. That worked fine for a long time. It had the advantage of shooting outdoors which is always good. The only downside was that I couldn’t take photos if it was wet (raining) or too sunny (luckily, the shade on the patio was always in the morning, precisely when I had time for photography). And it was generally too exhausting because of having to be outside in the tropical heat for a few hours (and I simply can’t stand the tropics!).

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The photo that came out of this:

IMG_8646Another working moment:

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And the photo with the background.

IMG_8626Girls waiting for their turn.

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But then we moved house and although we now have a small garden, it doesn’t have the advantage of a wooden floor that the patio had. And I had to move inside, so I decided to fulfill my dream and bought the photographic equipment. I particularly like the background holder which turned out to be small enough to use even for small doll backgrounds.

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And, of course, it can be used for larger ones.

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I also had a go at trying to use white background. I didn’t immediately succeed, because I used ordinary bulbs and they caused problems with white balance.

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Finally, what I use now. The white energy saving bulbs and white background paper.

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But I do have a feeling it’s time to buy a wider white background! I seriously have trouble with fitting groups of dolls within the white frame!!!

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And you wouldn’t believe how many foot prints dolls leave on white paper!!

Oh yes, and the camera I use is Canon EOS 7D with the 24-105 mm lens.

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A bonus photo from today. A bunch of happy girls.

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16 thoughts on “Behind the scenes of doll photography

  1. Олечка, с каким удовольствием я это всё прочитала и посмотрела, так здорово!!! Обожаю твои фото рабочих моментов, особенно на веранде: девчонки как живые стоят и ждут своей очереди!!!

    1. Леночка, спасибо большое! Да, на веранде у нас весело тогда было. Мы же еще и с Юлей вместе там фотосессиями занимались, одной там с ума сойти можно было. Юля переодевала, прически делала и иногда работала тенью (солнце загораживала), а я фотографировала. Говорю же, весело было. http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

  2. Оля, спасибо огромное за публикацию! Просто мечта. Всегда думала, как же делаются эти прекрасные снимки?
    А тут все так наглядно показали.
    И Рози – фантастична в этом парике!

    1. Света, спасибо огромное! Надо будет еще, пожалуй, показать, как я фотографирую на улице. Там я использую отражатель. Совершенно другая история.
      А в Рози я после той фотосессии сама влюбилась так, что передумала продавать. Позавчера она уехала к Юле-Ариадне на переделку мейка (она ее рисовала с мыслью о продаже, под азиатский вкус, с розовыми тенями, я хочу теперь такую же нежную, но без розового). И да, Рози будет только в этом парике, я в другом ее даже не представляю. http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_heart.gif

  3. Процесс фотографирования захватывает не меньше, чем сами фото 🙂
    Оля, а если для групповых фото под ноги что- нибудь белое постелить или просто светлое, а фон повернуть?

    1. Марина, спасибо! Я сама люблю у других разглядывать фотографии рабочих процессов. Очень увлекательно.

      Белый фон никак не повернуть, тогда он низкий слишком будет. И вообще он очень плотный и прямо висеть не будет. Чего уж там, придется нормальный большой фон искать. Жалко, что они не вечные. Говорю же, этот фон куклы истоптали уже жутко! http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. Chris, thank you so much! http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif I really appreciate it. I love this studio set, even though it usually takes quite some time to set up (and later tidy up) and therefore I don’t take photos of just one doll / outfit. I have to wait for at least a few to make it worthwhile. If I desperately want to take photos of a particular outfit I simply go out and take pictures outside the front door, with a reflector in my other hand (if I can’t find a second person to help me hold it!).

  4. It was lovely to get an insight into how you take your photos and set up your shots, I really enjoyed seening this post. I have to admit that I particularly liked your photos of the outside photos on your terrace, but I know that with a garden there is a lot of work involved with photographing dolls outside and they can be a bit hit and miss. My problem is usually too much sunlight (not that I’m complaining for myself, I love the sunlight!) but it can make photos either too bright or too shaded, depending on the angle and time of day. I do like your photograph backdrops though, I keep meaning to invest in some of those….I particularly like the one you’ve used with the 18 inch girls with the wall of a house in the background.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs Sharon in Spain x

    1. Sharon, thank you so much! I am glad you like it. I totally agree that taking photos of dolls in the open air / garden is tricky and is not always pleasing. When I take photos outdoors I always make sure it is in the shade, but not too shady because dolls loose sparkles in their eyes in the shade. Here I always take outdoor pictures at 8 am when the sun is not quite up yet (in Singapore the sun always rises at 7am and sets at 7pm) and the shade in the place I like for photographing is very light. In addition I use a small reflector to bring light to dolls’ eyes (I should really do another article on that!). Later that place becomes too sunny and totally unsuitable for photography. By the way, I find I don’t like most photographs I take while travelling because I cannot control the lighting conditions (it’s either too bright or too shady).
      That background with a wall is one of my favourite, too!

  5. Закулисная часть фотосессий выглядит не менее впечатляюще, чем конечный результат)))Оборудование такое солидное и обстоятельное.
    Приятно видеть кадры с тоннерами)))Особенно с королевским семейством http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

    1. Лара, спасибо! Очень рада, что тебе понравилось! А тоннеров да, надо почаще показывать. http://www.swish-swirl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif Я-то их вижу каждый день, они у меня все на виду стоят, но что-то на них шить или просто фотографировать их руки просто не доходят сейчас (даже на БЖД некогда, шью на заказ на кукол-детей).

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