sábado, 20 de agosto de 2011

Taking better pictures of your Blythe doll

This tutorial is intended for people starting with photography. I am no professional photographer at all but have been taking pictures of Blythes for a while and I want to share the things I have learned so that others don’t have to go through my same mistakes!

In any case, taking pictures is similar to driving a car, you only really learn practicing. So if the results are not *that* great just keep trying, in no time you will see that your pictures have improved a lot!.

Getting your doll ready.

  • She surely needs some hairdressing after the trip in your handbag. Make sure that you keep one of those complementary hotel toothbrushes in your bag. You can always comb her hair and then afterwards mess her hair in a “controlled” way - this means no hairs in the middle of her face!

  • If the girl has a shinny face you can use some moisturizer cream, better if its not a fluid. You can tap some cream on her which will “break” the shinny spots. But be careful with the type of cream you use, it could ruin her makeup!

  • If you want your doll to stand up, think about a holding method, you can use many diy tricks: a fork, chopsticks..

  • Try to avoid flash! You can disable it in most cameras. If you can avoid it, try to diffuse its light by using something translucent (one sheet of a kleenex, a piece of bubble plastic. Flash light tends to flatten shapes and it gives an unflattering shine to Blythes hair and face.

  • If possible, take pictures under natural light, but better in the shadow than in full sunshine. Direct sun light can create unflattering shadows. Usually a picture will come out better having the sun behind you (and lighting the girl) better than with a back light (in this case generally the girl’s face will come out too dark and the background will be to bright). It is generally easier to take pictures in a cloudy day, light will have a more homogeneous texture.

  • If you are home, try to take pictures in daylight behind a very light curtain, it will help blending the shadows.

  • If you take pictures in artificial light, try to use several, better than one coming from the ceiling, the shadow will come out wrong. In this case try to set the White Balance (WTB) in your camera for incandescent light (usually a bulb icon) to avoid an orange hue in your pictures.

  • Beware of bright colours coming from clothes or hair, they can make reflections in your Blythes face.

  • Uncustomized Blythes have pointy noses. Try not to take a picture from below so it doesn’t stand out. Her underchin is not her best angle also, try to avoid it.

  • Try to fill up your picture with your doll, don’t leave space around her unless the background is interesting (a nice scenery in a trip!)

  • Move your girl around in the picture, avoid her being in the center of the composition. If she’s looking sideways, why don’t you try to leave space towards where she’s looking?

  • Never cut her hands or feet on the composition. It is wrong to cut elbows and knees too, in a portrait it is better to cut the forehead rather than the chin.

  • A photography rule says “if it’s not helping, it’s ruining it”, so try to use neutral backgrounds we don’t need too much information that distracts the watcher’s attention.

  • If you want to draw attention to a doll in a portrait you can use progressive blur. With this effect you can make the dolls face very clear and the background blurred so it does not distract the watcher’s attention. To achieve this you can try to follow any (or all) of this tricks:

o Use the portrait mode in your camera
o Use the maximum zoom in your camera
o Allow for the maximum distance possible in between the doll and the background
o Allow for the minimum distance possible in between you and the doll.

  • Pictures in which the doll is “looking” directly at the camera are usually very hypnotic.

  • Be careful with the horizon’s line, try to make it straight..

You do not need to have photoshop to make a picture substantially better. There are plenty of free online tools to achieve this.

Get used to treat pictures, most of them will improve with minimum treatment, some WTB, better light (exposition), contrast, straitening the horizon, cropping the composition...

Whenever I don’t have my computer at hand (I use Lightroom to treat and organize my pictures) I use picnik, which is a great free online tool that allows treatment directly from Flickr.

I will try to add more things that come to my mind, please feel free to comment and add anything missing and please forgive my non-native English!