Doll Photography - B&C Camera

Doll photography is unique and a niche photography genre. Although this isn't the most popular genre, it is becoming more well-known amongst collectors. And, if you're reading this article, chances are you've had some time dabbling in doll photography. However, you may be searching for some more tricks on how to perfect your images.


Although dolls are a subject that can stand still, they also need to be posed and positioned to be presented well. Here are the best techniques to capture your collection.


Eyes Are The Focal Point

One of the first things your viewers will do is look at the eyes. So, spend time aligning your focal point on the eyes. The only time you should break this rule - is when you focus on one of the doll's accessories. The doll you are photographing should be looking directly toward your lens, which will help give your doll a realistic look. 


Don't Forget About Your Doll's Hair

Don't forget to style and brush the doll's hair. Wispy strands will be noticeable against a backlit portrait. Crazy little hairs will steal the show and draw the viewer's eye to them. You can brush the doll's hair and spritz a little hairspray to keep them from going all over the place. However, it would help if you remembered to go be conservative with the hairspray - using too much can cause a sticky wet look. 


Expose The Eyebrows

Eyebrows are an essential feature to emphasize anyone's facial expression. Most of the eyebrows should always be a bit exposed, even if the subject has bangs. You can always clear a little path between the hair's bangs to have parts of the eyebrow peek out.


Strike a Pose

The best part about your subject is that you can adjust them and move them around as needed! Your doll's pose is another crucial aspect of the photograph. This helps bring out life and show character. Experiment with different ways that your doll can move. Try bending the arms and legs to get a feel for their movements. If you feel unsure how to pose them, go onto Pinterest and look up fashion photography. Try to mimic the models and recreate poses. Don't forget! You will need a doll stand to help prop the doll up.


All About Angle

The best angle to use when shooting dolls is right at eye level. If you photograph from a bird's eye view, it won't make them look realistic. Unless, of course, that is the look you are going for. 

Related article: Photography Composition Techniques


Tell A Story

To help add interest to your photograph, you should try and tell a story. Before you take the photos, come up with a story. Write your storyline down and brainstorm different ways to pose your dolls to help convey the story. If your image tells a story, more people will be intrigued to look at it.


Consider Your Background

Indoor: Keep it simple. You need a subtle background that won't take the focus off your subject. If you aren't using a plain white background, use a wide aperture. A wide aperture will give your background a slight blur while keeping the doll focused. Set your aperture at an f/3.5 or below. Since your subject is small, you always have the option of building a diorama to fit the doll in and creating your own backdrops.


Outdoor: The possibilities are infinite when you shoot outdoors. Keep your elements within the scale of your doll to help with your story and create something realistic. 

Related article: Best Camera Settings for Outdoor Portraits


Fashion, Baby!

Another important aspect is the clothes. You will need to have properly fitting clothes. If they are too loose, invest in tiny clothespins to alter them. You can make alterations to the clothes as much as you need to. 

Try and keep the clothespins out of the frame.


Which Lens is Best?

One of the best lenses to use is a prime lens like 50mm. A 50mm is excellent for portraits and will work well with doll photography, and this lens will give you the bokeh effect that many photographers crave.


Doll Joints

Pay attention to your doll's joints. Please do whatever you can to not crop them out of your picture. It always looks weird when a photo is cropped out at a joint; you want the viewer to see the end. However, it's your choice if you want to show the joints since they do differ from our actual joints - especially if you are going for a realistic look.


Now that you have doll photography techniques, get out a notebook, start crafting your storyline, practice posing, and start shooting!

If you are new to photography, check out these other articles on camera settings to help capture the perfect photo:


Related article: Portrait Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know - 10 Tips

Related article: Best Aperture for Portraits

Related article: Best Camera Settings for Outdoor Portraits

Related article: Best Lens for Portraits


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