Sew Crafy

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You oughta be in pictures!

The Oddee website creates top-ten lists, and they recently created one featuring the top ten weirdest dresses. But no matter what dress you are showcasing, proper lighting and background must still be considered.

The Bubelle illuminating dress by Phillips - These pictures demonstrate how you want to showcase a dress. Notice how the backgrounds in the pictures are changed showing this dress in on or off position.

The Birdcage dress by Kasey McMahon -
Unfortunately, this picture has way too much going on! I keep wondering what that red thing is in the background? A plain background would have more clearly shown off this interesting dress!

Now that we know the requirements for this competition, some of you may be worried. No, you're not worried about your capability to design and create your outfits, instead you just don't feel you can produce pictures that will really reflect what you have accomplished. Therefore, in an effort to help, I have decided to provide some tips that have helped this novice photographer. No, they are definitely not guaranteed to make you a picture-perfect photographer the first time you try, but practice does still make one perfect!

Photography doesn't come easy for alot of people; spending long hours making perfect photos just doesn't appeal to them. So what are you to do if you simply want to take sharp, appealing pictures suitable for submission in doll competitions, or for just showing your dolls to your friends? The answer for me, and many, is as simple as point and shoot. Today many cameras have this capability, and I was quickly won over by one from the tried and true Kodak line. These tripod queens, best if capable of anywhere from an 8 to 12 megapixel range and a zoom lens, are desireable because they not only offer clarity; they are also very economical.

Teamed with a good photo editing software, you're be set with the modern day version of a dark room! I use an older version of Adobe Photoshop, but Corel and other companies have good ones. The important thing is to really become acquainted with your software of choice, and to concentrate on making the true corrections which will make excellent photos possible.

Know your photo editing software!
This lady did recently win the Biggest Loser, but in adding her to the cover
(with photoshop), someone made it appear she also lost a leg in the process.

Then, once you have the right equipment, it's time to think about how you're going to photograph your doll. You'll have to consider where you'll take pictures, what lighting to use, and poseability - among other things. A few are mentioned below.

Lighting - Good lighting, indoors or out, is paramount to flattering pictures. However, in a pinch I have taken pictures in poor lighting. In those situations, I relied on one of two things to balance my color. You can either do a correction in the settings on your camera (refer to manual) or rely on your photo editing program to create the best color balance. The important thing to remember is that in all editing what you're really trying to do is not correct flaws you find in the doll or her outfit, rather your goal is to correct flaws in the photo's lighting. Analyze carefully to provide the setting that most accurately depicts your subject.

Backgrounds and proper range - First of all, if you're getting tight, close up shots, you are doing it right. Backgrounds should have little exposure ideally, and can be achieved by draping fabric or paper in neutral tones behind your doll. But, if you have to shoot your doll in a distracting background, you can still blur the background either by adjusting your f-stop or in your photo editing program.

Handling your camera - You'll want to handle your camera in a manner that is comfortable for you. Camera shakes can mess up the best of pictures. A camera with vibration control can help; but if not available try a tripod. Play with your camera - shoot your doll from different angels. The possibilities may surprise you!

Pose that model - Models on the runway are painted, primped and polished. Although we're not able to repaint our dolls for each photo shoot, it is important that we get them ready. Check those hairdos, and use gel to keep flyaways to a minimum. Don't let the doll stand show - make them look as human as possible - that's a winning shot. And be sure to take advantage of all the articulation now available - posing your dolls in interesting positions makes them appear to have been set up by their very own stylist! Success!!


  1. For taking pictures of the dolls, how does one go about making the doll stand disappear?, when the doll is on the stand.

  2. You can erase the stand with photoshop clone stamp tool or try to balance the doll without a stand for example using some accessories in the photo such as a simple decorative pillar etc.