Monday, December 3, 2012

Taking Pictures of Fashion Dolls

There’s a lot of trial and error in taking pictures of Barbies and similar Fashion Dolls. The lighting has to be just right, there can’t be any camera shake, and the settings have to be just right. I’ve read some hints and tips about taking pictures of dolls, but they were all vague.  I have never come across anything that explained what settings to use and how to get the right lighting. So I decided to share what I’ve learned so that others can be helped.

Here are some pictures for examples. I’m going to go through each one to show how I took it.

Photo 1: Not Right Coloring

IMG_6054
IMG_6054
(Close-up of eyes—this is how I test to see if it is in complete focus)
This one’s not that bad—it’s in focus and the lighting is good, but it doesn’t portray the right coloring of the lips. This was important for me because I repainted the lips and I want my customers to see the true color that they are.

How I took it:

Background: White poster board, leaned up against a box.
Overall Lighting: Basic room lighting
Flash: Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon with a Flash Bounce Cap Diffuser for Canon 580 EX, pointed to the right (I had the doll and poster board on my dresser) to bounce the light off the wall.
Flash Settings: (M) 50, and zoom 28
No Tripod
Camera Settings:
   Aperture: f/5.6
   Shutter Speed: 1/125
   ISO: 200
   Manual Mode
   Metering Mode: Pattern
   55mm
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT

 

Photo 2: Slightly Blurry

IMG_6072

You’re saying, “That doesn’t look blurry to me”, but I am VERY picky when it comes to focus. Here’s a closer look at the eyes:
IMG_6072

How I took it:

Background: White Craft Foam Set inside a box (scroll down below to see the setup)
Overall Lighting: Outside in the shade
Flash: None
Tripod
Camera Settings:
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 200
Manual Mode
Metering Mode: Pattern
55mm
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT

 

Photo 3: Perfect!

IMG_6125
Here’s a closer look at the eyes:
IMG_6125

How I took it:

Background: White Craft Foam Set inside a box (scroll down below to see the setup)
Overall Lighting: Outside in the shade
Flash: None
Tripod
Camera Settings:
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Manual Mode
Metering Mode: Pattern
50mm
Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT
I tried several settings to see which one was best. I used manual mode and kept changing the shutter speed and aperture. I even played around with the iso. I took over 100 pictures. f/5.6 with 1/100 with iso 100 seems to work best. And I changed lenses because the 50mm is better.

My Outdoor Setup:

Here’s a picture of my box with craft foam. I had to set it on a laundry basket (closest thing I could grab that was the right height) since I used my tripod. The bottom white is actually poster board. I cut the box at an angle on each side, to give it support, and straight across the top.
IMG_6129

 

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Update!

I experimented with my flash indoors and found out how to take indoor photos of fashion dolls and get the same result as outdoors.

Photo 4:

Close-up on eyes:
IMG_6146

How I took it:

Background: White Craft Foam Set inside a box
Overall Lighting: Room lighting, no window light
Flash: Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon with a Flash Bounce Cap Diffuser for Canon 580 EX, pointed towards me (I had the doll and box on my dresser). I held white poster board in front of the flash to bounce the light off.
Flash Settings: (M) 70, and zoom 100
Tripod
Camera Settings:
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Manual Mode
Metering Mode: Pattern
50mm
Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT