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Behind-The-Scenes Doll Photography Setup by almightyhat
Behind-The-Scenes Doll Photography Setup
This is not by any means the only way to photograph dolls, this is just how I do it.

First, you got your backdrop.  How simple is mine?  Mine is a science-fair tri-fold project board covered in white poster board, with a white poster board floor.  Not shown in this photo are the pair of TV trays the whole shebang is sitting on.  Anything your dolls will show up against-- fabric, paper towels, foamcore board, scrapbook paper, a nice clean wall, a curtain, a printed or painted backdrop-- will work, I just like to work with white or light gray because it cooperates with most other colors.  I also like this setup because it folds flat and tucks out of the way easily.

Second, and this is even more important than your backdrop, you need lights.  Sunlight is an excellent light, but it's not always reliable-- unless you have a north-facing window, it changes color throughout the day (and even with a north-facing window, it changes color at the end of the day), and indoors you have to contend with things like your windows not being perfectly clear-- mine are green-tinged for energy-saving reasons I do not understand.  So whenever possible, I take my photos after dark, using two cheap desk lamps armed with GE Reveal 40-watt light bulbs.  GE Reveal brand bulbs show colors beautifully truly-- Ott Lites are the only ones that do it better, and Reveal is a lot cheaper and available in most big box stores-- and goose-neck desk lamps mean you can put the light right where you need it.  The lower the wattage the better, though, for three reasons: one, these are going to be pretty close to your dolls, two, these are going to be pretty close to you, and three, you really don't need SUPER bright light for clear photography right up close.  (It's always tempting to use your flash instead of using good lighting, but flash macro photography tends to wash everything out or make your photography subjects look weirdly shiny, or both.)

Third, you need a decent camera-- my own camera is an older Olymups Stylus point-and-shoot.  It's pretty good-- 10.1 megapixels, 7x optical zoom, fits easily even in a women's pants pocket-- but I've had it for at least a decade and it's not great.  Features to look for are face detect (great for getting auto-focus in the right place), macro mode, and super-macro mode, which allow the camera to focus clearly on small items right up close to the lens.

Fourth, it helps to understand that the higher the ISO setting, the greater the grain.  Low ISO settings have low grain and are meant for bright light and low movement-- which, if you're photographing well-lit dolls, you already have!  I try to take all my tiny-things pictures with an ISO of 80, the lowest my camera will let me set it, though sometimes darker-skinned dolls refuse to focus below 200. 

Finally, if you're going to try to tell a story with your photos rather than just take product pictures, remember only what's going to be in the shot needs to be part of the story.  My dolls look ridiculous from the waist down here because I knew the shot I wanted from this pose was going to be from the waist up at most-- the final image is barely shoulders-and-up.  Get in close and on the level with your subjects-- which is good advice for a lot of things you might photograph-- and only use the zoom if you have to. 

These two are for sale on eBay here.  Or, for more Tonner dolls (mostly nude, some repainted, re-rooted, or both), check out my items for sale on eBay.
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Tonner Doll Couple Antoinette and Sean 2 by almightyhat
Tonner Doll Couple Antoinette and Sean 2
She's a 2009 Cameo Antoinette Mannequin who got a full-face repaint, he's an Alice in Wonderland King of Hearts Sean (whose face you really can't see in this picture), and I need to sell them both but can't bear to sell them apart.  I'm not flagging this as adult because 1) they are dolls, 2) you can't see any bits, and 3) they don't have any bits to see.   Still, this photo seemed a little steamy for their eBay sales page, even if it did turn out really well. 

If you'd like to take them home with you, you can find them on eBay here.  Or, for more Tonner dolls (mostly nude, some repainted, re-rooted, or both), check out my items for sale on eBay.
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Tonner Doll Couple Antoinette and Sean by almightyhat
Tonner Doll Couple Antoinette and Sean
She's a repainted 2009 Cameo Antoinette Mannequin, he's an Alice in Wonderland King of Hearts Sean, together they're a couple I need to get rid of but can't bear to sell apart.  I literally got them for each other.  They're for sale on eBay here, but I took a few photos of them that aren't what you might call suitable for eBay that I'm going to upload here-- they turned out well, somebody ought to see them.

For more Tonner dolls (mostly nude, some repainted, re-rooted, or both), check out my items for sale on eBay.
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Painted MH Accessories: Werecat Twins Suite by almightyhat
Painted MH Accessories: Werecat Twins Suite
Meowlody's stuff on the left, Purrsephone's stuff on the right.  All their red accessories (cherry AND tomato) were given washes and dry-brushings in appropriate colors.  Studs were detailed in bright silver, as were Purrsephone's buckles.  I also dry-brushed the sculpted details on the boots-- straps, bows, laces, and eyelets-- with a medium gray, so that the details never get lost in a blob of black no matter how awkward my photo lighting happens to be.

If you'd like to see more of the twins' accessories all painted up, you can check here or here on my doll blog-- or if you want to see even more painted accessories, click right here for my Painted Accessories tag.  If you're looking to buy loose Monster High bits, bobs, or loose dolls to customize, check out my Monster High Sale-Or-Trade post.  ... I buy dolls for their clothes and/or accessories kind of a lot.
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Painted Monster High Accessories: Frankie Suite by almightyhat
Painted Monster High Accessories: Frankie Suite
And here's a mess of Frankie stuff I've painted recently.  From the back, her Gloom Beach shoes (which I did paint in their factory colors, just neatly instead of having the paint vaguely sprayed in the right direction), her Budget doll's red shoes with black stripes and accents, her Home Ick spool of thread painted red with a silver needle (needle and thread were teal before; I have a spare teal one so now Frankie has more thread colors to work with!), her Budget doll's red tie necklace given some shading and a metallic black chain, and her Gloom Beach sunglasses with steely silver frames-- I got a little fancy on the earpieces, painting the edges and back to keep the contrast between Frankie's green skin and the blue plastic, so that little cut-out lightning bolt still pops.

If you'd like to see more of Frankie's accessories all painted up, you can check here on my doll blog-- or if you want to see even more painted accessories, click right here for my Painted Accessories tag.  If you're looking to buy loose Monster High bits, bobs, or loose dolls to customize, check out my Monster High Sale-Or-Trade post.  ... I buy dolls for their clothes and/or accessories kind of a lot.
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almightyhat
Just call me Hat
United States
Interests
I finally decided to quit using my messages page as a catchall page and actually put some stuff in my favorites.

Like, a ton of stuff.  Because I was up over 200 messages and THAT was not groovy.

Sorry for spamming the heck out of everybody with "Almighty Hat has just added YOUR DEVIATION HERE to their favorites!"  (Especially Wayward.)

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:iconpika-la-cynique:
Pika-la-Cynique Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Cookies. I love you. Thanks for trying. Gah.
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:iconalmightyhat:
almightyhat Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
Eighteen-year-old college freshman. You never know, it could be worth the pixels, right?
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:iconelandain:
Elandain Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008
Thanks for the favorite.
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:iconasherhyder:
AsheRhyder Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for watching.
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:iconeyefeather-stock:
eyefeather-stock Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2008
:wave: Hi, thanks for adding my stock account to your watch list! :blowkiss:
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:iconeyefeather:
eyefeather Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008  Professional General Artist
Thanks very much for the support! :heart:
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:icontanaigre:
Tanaigre Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2007
Thank you for the friendwatch!
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:iconhewhobetrev:
HeWhoBeTrev Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
w00t thanks for the fave! ^_^
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:iconmaximumoverdrive:
MaximumOverdrive Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hey, thanx for the fav!
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:iconalmightyhat:
almightyhat Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2007
Heh. You're welcome! I sort of went on a stealth fave-ing spree. *sheepish*
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