Many photos taken show images of beautiful dolls, only to have the pose they are holding be unnatural, or unbecoming. Dolls are created to be likenesses of people and to be photographed at their best, they need to be posed in ways one would expect a person to sit or stand.
Many times I've seen pictures of dolls that are meant to be speaking to one another. The pose however, has both dolls looking directly at the camera. The first tip is to pay attention to what the doll is looking at. Stand behind the doll you are photographing if you can, and see if she is looking at her playmate, toys, or whatever you are creating in your scene.
Even if it is just a portrait shot, there should be an imaginary something out there that gets the doll's attention. When I look at a photograph, this small little detail really stands out to me as something so simple yet having a huge impact on the effectiveness of the photo.
The portrait below is a picture of DE's latest face up she created. (A face up is defined as either painting, airbrushing, drawing, or other artistic method of creating a face on a blank doll head. Elizabeth uses chalk pastels, watercolor pencils, and acrylic paint to create her faces.) In this picture I wanted to create an official looking photo of a business woman for a local newspaper (not a real newspaper, but a doll newspaper to use in a story).
For a portrait shot such as this, having the doll looking directly into the camera is certainly appropriate. Use a slight turn of the shoulder or tip of the chin if you can.
Not all dolls have the ability to move their heads as freely as others but I think you get the idea. Position the head as best as you can in a natural way that makes sense for the picture. It's a small detail that potentially has great impact on your picture irregardless of why you are taking it.
Take a moment and turn your own head from side to side. How far does your head go before you have to turn your body? My chin barely comes in line with the front of my shoulder. Keep this in mind when positioning the head of your doll. Don't turn it more than it would naturally go.
Now let's talk a little about the elbows. Typically they are pretty close to the body. Unless the hands are on the hips or they are resting on a shelf or something watch out that the elbows don't do the chicken wing thing. Of course, if your doll does not have bending elbows, you'll have to work with those straight arms. But not to fear. Straight arm dolls can be posed very nicely, too.
When you have your doll posed for the photograph, imitate the pose and if it feels awkward, it probably looks awkward. It takes a couple of extra minutes but the final photograph looks so much better when the doll is properly posed.
That's about it for this issue. I'll write more next time.
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