Posted in Camellia, diorama, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, photo novel, Photography, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Fire in miniature photography, and a hut

On Monday I wrote about getting the right shots for the start of Camellia’s next episode. Today I’ll show you my experiments on bringing fire in miniature photography, and the makings of a hut. By Friday, I should have everything ready for her episode.

I’ve seen different suggestions for making a fire that looks like a fire but, as you know, I’m not much of a stickler for details (an anomaly in miniature photographers, I know.) What I really wanted was the glow on their faces. If I had to Photoshop a fire in afterwards, that was fine.

Fortunately, I got my effect on the third try. For the first try, I gathered together two types of led lights. One is a string of tiny, warm led lights, and the other is a 50 cent LED tea light from the dollar store.

So I put Camellia and Moana on my desk to experiment with the different lighting sources. Here’s the effect with some light in the room, and both types of light together.

Nice, but the fire light is overwhelmed by the room light. On the second try, I turn the room lights off.

Better, but three problems. One is that the light is now so bright adjusting for it throws the rest of the scene into total darkness – I want to be able to see the hut behind them. The second is that the light is so overpowering that it becomes the focus of the shot. And the third is that the white is too white – I want more of a warm glow. Although I can fix it in Photoshop, I’d prefer to get the actual image right.

So, I turn off the string of LED lights, and just leave the tea light, and I get exactly the effect I want – a warm glow cast on Camellia and Moana’s faces.

For another take on fire on miniature photography, here’s someone I follow on Instagram using a miniature Link and a matchstick to great effect


A post shared by Marcos (@justshotthis) on

I may borrow this idea for my Underfoot dolls.

The final problem was making a hut for Camellia. I’d been looking through images of primitive huts when I stumbled across what I think is a bird cage at Goodwill. Here it is with Moana perched on top.

I can’t locate a picture of how this looked before I modified it, but it had an attached rounded door where the opening now is. Unfortunately, it was a little too short for my dolls, so I had to remove it and just leave a rough space. I’m not sure why it has those extensions at the top – it made the whole thing look very odd – but I’ll just photograph it without that part for my story.

So, that’s the set up for this week’s episode. The one trick I have remaining is to somehow get the hut into the background of the fire shot. It’s too big to fit in the diorama space, and I don’t have any surface high enough to prop it up between the diorama and the backdrop, so I may photograph it and pin the photograph to the backdrop. Or, maybe I’ll figure out something else. Anyway, that’s tomorrow’s problem 🙂



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!

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