Posted in diorama, doll photography, Fashion dolls, Rosie, Wildflower dolls

My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad photo shoot

The good news: Everything turned out OK (but not great) in the end.
The bad news: I’ve never had more trouble doing a photo shoot

Last week’s shoot with Camellia gave me a ton of false confidence about my ability to just dash together a set. This week, with Rosie’s bird adventure, I learned that that opinion was based on anecdotal, and not scientific, evidence.

What went wrong:

The weather: When I planned for this photo shoot, I had the idea that I’d shoot in the park out behind my house. On the weekend, when I went to do my shoot, although it wasn’t actively raining, the grass was far too wet to do my setup outside. So, I had to move everything inside.

The backdrop: But, hey, no problem, I thought. I’ll just use that backdrop I put together for Lily’s set. I’m sure it will be just perfect. By itself, the backdrop seems fine:

Here it is, with it’s subtle blue and it’s fluffy clouds. You can probably see a hint of one of the problems, but let me show you one of the photo shoot shots so that you can see it more clearly.

If you look towards the right of the photo, where the light source is coming in, you can clearly see one of the black bars that the fabric is affixed to. A second one is visible above Rosie’s head. So, I couldn’t take any shot that included the areas with the black bars. Problem 1.

Problem 2 I’m not going to be able to show you, because I corrected for it before I took any shots. But, because the fabric is so close behind the set, if the light is shining directly on the tree, the tree casts a shadow on it. Not so good for a realistic sky.

Problem 3 Finally, and this was obvious in every shot I took, the sky is simply too close to the set. Even in the better shots, it just feels like the sky-fabric is smothering the world. It made me feel claustrophobic.

So, anyway, I went through the entire photo shoot before I realized the the whole night’s work was wasted. I couldn’t keep any of the shots, because I was going to reshoot under completely different lighting conditions. Which is too bad, because I had some pretty cute shots, like this one.

Anyway, the next day I tried again, same set but using the daylight and the sky from the window behind the set.

Balancing: Most of the shots involved a lot of balancing – the bird had to balance on the fence, Frank had to stand while holding up Rosie, the larger bird had to stand still. Mostly, by the time I got everything exactly how I wanted it, something fell over.

The tripod: I love my new(ish) DSLR camera, but it’s so heavy that I have to use a tripod for every shot in any but the very brightest lighting conditions. I’m used to my Canon Powershot, that I can move around freely and examine the scene from all angles. With the DSLR, every time I need to adjust height or angle, I have to fuss with the tripod.

Grass everywhere: I love the realistic look of the groundcover that I use in these shots, but it gets absolutely everywhere. So, as soon as something falls over (see “Balancing” above) you have to pluck all the ground cover off the object. At the end of the shoot I had ground cover all over my carpet:

on the bird’s feathers:

and in Rosie’s hair:

Aptly summing up my feelings about the whole shoot, here’s the (newly named) Frank in deep despair on the set



In my (almost) 60th year on earth I decided to set my fashion dolls free of their clothes and accessories and send them on adventures. This is your window onto my own adventure into a land of crafts where I have zero skills, talent or mentors. Wish me (and my dolls) luck!

5 thoughts on “My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad photo shoot

  1. I feel your frustration! It’s impossible for me to do indoor shots except on the sunniest days and here in Newcastle, those are often few and far between! But in the end, your story is compelling enough and Rosie’s face cute enough so that the background doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect.


  2. Oh I love that shot of Rosie on the blanket in the grass. Maybe you could use it as a sort of “my favorite snapshots” collage? Or maybe you could print it (in a small version) and have it as a picture in the doll house, like someone took it during a picnic?


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