I’m not that great at doll photography. I could look at photos from American Girl Doll Artist or karaleels and just drop to my knees going WOW WOW WOW.
But I have learned some tips and tricks over the years that make my photos the best I can be. And I’m constantly trying to grow my skills to my idols’ skill level. A few weeks ago, I devoted an entire afternoon just for working on my indoor photography.
Watch my photos get better as the post progresses! Maybe you’ll see something that’ll help you (or something you know that could help me!).
All of these photos are completely unedited except for slapping my watermark on there so in case some dummy decides to take these really bad test photos and post them, I spare him the shame by letting the world know I took these photos, not he.
The best thing for indoor photography is natural lighting! I’ve got a really great window facing the sun at almost all the right moments and it lets in a ton of natural light.
Then I’ve got my studio light (with a missing filter ?) and my reflector.
Neither of which are actually mine. O_o
Then I have my overhead lights with special daylight bulbs.
Edit: I hate these daylight bulbs. My old yellowish ones gave me better lighting, actually. I’m going to switch them soon. XD
Mr. Reflector likes leaning up against Miss Chair. They’re a lovely couple.
This is my completely unedited photo. I think it looks good, but it’s not as awesome as I wanted it to be. ?
Shadows are nasty things that can ruin your pictures, especially if they’re on your doll’s face. The reflector is awesome for bouncing light from the studio light and window back into Taryn and Del’s faces to rid shadows, but these ones still remain.
So the above setup didn’t go so well after fiddling with the lights and such. Let’s try a second setup, in which I carry the studio light—that is not mine and with open bulbs—up my loft bed.
The light shines straight down on them, which looks absolutely terrible.
See what I mean? Besides the wonky off-centered framing, I’m loving the setup, poses, and the aperture, but the one thing I just haven’t gotten down yet is lighting. ?
This is with the reflector kind of reflecting the light from the above studio light… not quite like I had foreseen in my head.
Life has a way of not playing out like you envision it. XD
This is how dark the setup looks without the studio light and just the natural and overhead.
Better, but… man, that shadow!
Let’s see what Mr. Reflector and Miss Chair can do to help out.
A little better but WHY IS POOR JOSEFINA IN SUCH DARKNESS.
Sorry, Miss Chair. I need Mr. Reflector over here.
NO. WHY. WHY CAN’T I LIGHT HER UP.
It’s all my evil loft bed’s fault for blocking the sun.
SEE. SO MUCH SHADOW.
Ewwww. Jasmine’s eyes are in such shadow too.
A little better. I always brighten my dolls’ eyes in editing, lightening up any shadows that way, but the better you can get the lighting when you actually take the photo, the better.
Even with the reflector this close… ? My indoor photography is hopeless.
I think we could notice that, thanks.
But check this out.
BAM! WHOLE NEW CÉCILE! Her eyes and face are so bright!
WE KNOW. WHY DID I ADD TEXT TO THESE PICTURES. THE DIFFERENCE IS OBVIOUS.
Can you tell I like my reflector? Not that it’s mine.
This is with the studio light and reflector…
This is just with the reflector. So it’s hard for him to do his job if he has nothing to reflect. XD He bounces off the light from the studio light.
Photography Takeaways I Learned:
(to save you time the next time you take photos)
- The closer the reflector was to my dolls, the better the reflection. Typically, the closer to the ground it was, the better, too.
- I should consider re-arranging my room to allow my doll space to get the best natural lighting from my window.
- I don’t really like my LED overhead daylight bulbs. It’s making the lighting worse than it used to be. I’ll ask my dad if we can switch ’em back to the yellowish ones we had before.
- I should get tinier studio lights to act as fill lights to get rid of the shadows behind my dolls, but until then, move the dolls further away from walls.
- I’m a lot worse than I thought. ? Editing saves my bacon.
Do you ever take time to practice photography? What are your favorite photography tips? Got any for me?
By the way, today is the LAST day to comment questions for Katy and Del to answer next post!