Let’s talk photography. This post will be about the ‘how-to’ stuff. The next post will be about specific equipment recommendations.
Intro: In some ways it seems silly to write about picture taking skills, because it’s so commonly written about on the internet. But sadly, lots of folks selling doll clothes have decided not to focus on this important part of the presentation, and we believe that’s a big mistake. So, we have a few things to suggest. Our top 10 tips…
1. Google, “taking great pictures” or something similar, and then read 10 articles, with a note-pad at your side.
2. Take notes and make a collection of all your favorite ideas.
3. Take 100 pictures trying out the various techniques. When it comes to photography, like with any other art, practice makes perfect.
4. Natural Light! Go outside! The best pictures will be in warmly lit, (but not harshly lit). Obay this rule and your pictures will improve tremendously. We never use a flash, and you should avoid it too. Our lenses allow us to operate this way, (read the post about our equipment). Natural light with no flash! It’s best.
5. Want A White Background? A simple way to shoot on a white background outside, (if you want to have a white background), is just to use white foam-core board from the art supply store. Use one piece for the ground, (setting your doll on it), and one piece immediately behind the doll. We use our patio table for this all the time. The effect will be a fully ‘white’ background, but shot in warm light. (I realize this can be a bit hard to visualize, so I’ll take a picture of it sometime soon and insert it in this post).
6. The Golden Hour! Take your pictures an hour, or so, before sun-down. This is well-known to be the absolute best light of the day, and photographers call it ‘the golden hour’. You can shoot outside earlier if it’s overcast, but if it’s sunny, shoot during this specific time. There is a reason it’s called the golden hour. Photos come out amazing! Glowing, warm, beautiful.
7. No clutter! More important, (almost), than the item you’re shooting, is the background. Remove all clutter. Find a solid surface, ideally one that people won’t recognize, and use it as the backdrop. Place your doll 4 or 5 feet in front of the backdrop, (not right up next to it).
8. Get closer to your doll, (or outfit)! Why do so many Ebay sellers take their doll, set it against the kitchen cabinets, and then back up 10 feet and take a picture, (just one of course). You can do better. Get close, and then get closer! You don’t need to take a picture of the entire outfit every shot. Some can b extreme close-ups.
9. Crop and saturate. If you open your pictures in Windows, (desktops anyway), you can generally edit the images. Crop them. Then saturate them, (but not too much). Saturation warms up the image. Just be careful not to affect the color too much. You don’t want it to be an inaccurate representation of the original.
10. Take a lot! There is no substitute for taking a lot of pics. For any given outfit we are going to sell, we usually take over 100 pictures or more. We sort them into “good ones” and save those as a separate folder, (our folder structure ends up looking like this – “Spring 2010” then “U.K. Holiday” then “Good Ones”. Then we look through those for the absolute best 5 or 6.
Okay, next post will be all about the specific camera we use, and the lenses, and the software. Stay tuned…