Hello beautiful dolls!
Welcome back to my little blog!
As I promised you a couple a weeks ago, I’m a starting a short blog series with a few tips for #dollstagram, starting with tips for taking beautiful photos, editing tips, growing a community and so on. And today is the day! Finally! Sorry for the wait but #alerickwedding took away most of my free time.
So, today I’m gonna share with you a short set of rules/tips on how to take beautiful pictures. Remember I am not a professional photographer, I am just very passionate about photography (since highscool actually) and I also had the chance to study composition and image processing as well, while in uni, so please don’t take this too serious. The most important rule ever is to just HAVE FUN and do things exactly how you like. I always feel the need to make this disclaimer because I don’t want anyone to feel like this is the only way of doing things. There is no right or wrong. This is JUST ME, talking from MY OWN experiences and answering to all the questions I constantly get about this topic. I will also include some pictures where I feel like it’s needed. So let’s dive in, dollies!
Tip number 1 – THE GEAR
I am using a DSLR camera – a Nikon D 5100 with Nikkor 50mm f/ 1.8 G lenses. Sounds a bit like rocket science but it really isn’t. The camera is actually a bit old, and the lenses – just basic portrait lenses. But you don’t need professional gear for this. Phones nowadays come with really good cameras that can do the work. Now, I’m not gonna lie and say that the quality is the same, because if you ask me, it’s not, but that is just my personal opinion and preference. You can’t always get the same soft bokeh background with a phone. And I also love the feeling of holding a camera instead of a phone, you can call me nostalgic but this is me. I do think you can take beautiful photos with your phone as well, especially if you have some skills in editing, but I prefer using my camera.
Tip number 2 – COMPOSITION
In photography, composing an image pretty much means arranging the elements within it in a balanced way, to achieve a pleasant look. In other words you can say composition equals balance. The best tip I can give you here is to try using THE RULE OF THIRDS as much as you can.
What is the rule of thirds? This is one of the golden rules in photography, cinematography and painting and it consists in a set of guidelines that help you compose your image. The rule of thirds is basically dividing your image into 9 equal pieces by using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines and placing your subject or your point of interest on one of those lines/intersections. Nowadays, all smartphones and cameras have the option where you can use the rule of thirds grid while taking photos so it’s really easy to do that. I did put some of my photos down below so you can see how I use the rule of thirds. Usually I like to focus on the doll’s face so I will place the doll’s head near the intersection of two lines.
I also found this very useful video that explains the rule of thirds a lot better than I can, in just 5 minutes. Click here for the video.
Tip number 3 – LIGHT
Show me the light, baby….. Light is such an important aspect when it comes to photography. Playing with light is one of my favorite things to do. NATURAL LIGHT! I can’t say this enough buy my best advice here would be: TRY USING NATURAL LIGHT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! I never ever use artificial light. I always use natural light and lately, I’ve been in love with using direct soft sunlight. I like to keep my diorama in front of a window, so I can get the best natural light. Artificial light can also work, but I don’t like using it so I can’t give you any advice here. Also, another tip related to light would be to learn working with exposure. Play with the settings on your phone/ camera and learn to work with all the tools. For me, the moment I learned how to work with the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and so on, changed everything. It was literally game changing! And guess how I learned all this stuff? By playing with my camera and making a lot of experiments and of course, a lot of mistakes. Remember practice makes perfect and we learn the most from our mistakes.
Tip number 4 – MAKE ME FEEL SOMETHING
This is something I do almost every time. Before I take a photo of a doll, I’m trying to think for a little what would that doll (character) want? Is she/he happy? How do I want my character to look? What would she/he do or say? What do I want to make YOU, the viewer, feel? If I want to just show you my doll’s features, then I would probably take a quick portrait and that’s it. But if I want you to feel what’s happening in the doll’s mind then I would probably spend more time, finding a proper pose, finding props I can put around the doll, finding a suitable outfit, playing with light and so on. And before I come up with a new idea I like to sit for a few seconds to see what’s the first thought that comes to my mind and explore that. Let’s say I like listening to my intuition. I usually get inspired by my own life, wether it’s something I’ve done, I’m about to do or I would love to do.
Tip number 5 – MOOD
I love listening to music when I’m taking photos. It helps me sink in that moment. It also helps me when I need some extra inspiration. So next time you’re playing with your camera, hit that play button and see how it makes you feel.
Tip number 6 –KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
Try to keep things simple. Don’t use too many props, or else the viewer will be confused and won’t know where to look first. If you’re using a camera, that won’t necessarily be a problem since the background will be blurred, but it’s another story if you’re using a phone. Remember sometimes, simplicity is key! I like to keep things as neat as possible. Also, try not to use 92763728 colors in a single picture, unless that’s the idea of the photo. It can be confusing for the eyes, as well.
Tip number 7 – CLARITY
Try to avoid camera shaking when taking pictures. It happens to me as well, especially when I am tired (or hungry, ha ha ha). But whenever I feel like my hands won’t stand still, I will use my tripod. Sometimes using a tripod will make things so much easier.
Tip number 8 – THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP
HAVE FUN! Photography is a way to bring happiness and joy into your life. Don’t stress to much about it! Just take your dolls off the shelf and have fun! Experiment! It really doesn’t matter if you have a professional camera or a phone as long as it makes you happy. Buying and investing in professional gear is totally up to you. Like I told you, photography is my passion for almost 10 years now, so investing in professional gear is totally my personal choice.
I guess that’s all for today’s post. I will return soon with a new and more exciting post about #dollstagram. I really hope you enjoyed today’s post. Like I said earlier, don’t take it as a general rule, I’m only talking from my own point of view and my personal experiences. Have fun with your dolls, loves!