Saturday, 9 February 2019

Quick and easy background ideas for doll photography


Hello doll lovers!

I swear that I planned to post this earlier, but as usual, life happened and before I knew it, it’s February. While I was focusing on my finals I only did the most basic of the house chores, so now that I’m free for a while I have some stuff to fix. Not that Mr. Monster did nothing at all, but he’s working full time, so he doesn’t have much more time than I do. I’m also trying to do all those things I always want to do, but I never have time to do, such as re-arranging my shoes or cleaning the oven. And, to make things even worse, my usual photo editor stopped working, so I had to find a new one. But finally, I’m here sitting in front of my computer, writing this.



When I thought about new post ideas that may be a little bit different and helpful for people, I thought on doing some sort of “behind the scenes” doll photography post. However, I’m not the most skilled photograph out there, and also there’s not much content or innovation in the way I take photos. Then, this idea of making a background ideas post clicked in my head and I thought this would be much more fun. I hope I can give you some ideas, aswell as I’m hoping to receive new ideas from you.

Of course, I’m not an expert in photography, I don’t even have a professional camera, so don’t expect very professional advice. In fact, this is more about giving you ideas than actually photography tips and tricks. Also, if you want to give me professional tips and advice, feel free to do so in the comment section. Being that said, let’s start.

Colored cardstock or colored paper

You’ve seen this being used as a background on my blog from a few years now. I use a navy blue one in all my doll reviews and a while ago I purchased some colored ones. I don’t know in you areas, but here this are usually sold in A4 format and also a larger size, which is the one I use. 



Here’s a look at how I take my pictures, so you can get an idea of the size.


The advantage is that it allows you to take full body photos of your doll, while other backgrounds limit you to a certain shot. On the downside, most brands I’ve seen seem to carry the same colors, however you can still find some interesting things such as glitter cardboard or even some with prints. Or you can give it a try and customize it. Which brings me to the next point.


Make your own using a cereal box


This is probably the background that requires more effort, but you just need a cereal box, craft paint and a brush. Just cut the widest part of the cereal box, lay it flat and paint it using your favourite colors. I chose this periwinkle for my background, but it looks duller tan I expected.



While I was waiting for Mr. Monster to finish this box of cereals so I could use it, I painted a cookie box, to see if it would look good. I used this teal color from the brand Amsterdam, but you can use any acrylic paint you may have at home.



The cookie box looks good, but it’s too small and you can only take headshots, while with the cereal box you can take almost full body photos. This may vary depending on the Brand of cereals, as some boxes are narrower and shorter tan others. This is how mine looks:




I also tried to paint on a regular cardboard box, but I don’t like the results because you can always see those lines cardboard has. It could be interesting if you want some texture, but it wasn’t what I was going for. I will try again, but this time using gesso as a primer.



The good thing about this is that you can make any color you want and, if you’re inspired, make a pattern or use an stencil to decorate it. But if you’re not into crafting, no worries, keep on reading.

Wallpaper and paint samples

A while ago I was working at a company that sold wallpaper and every year lots of catalogues got discontinued and, instead of throwing them away, we gifted it to good customers that would use it for crafting or scrapbooking.

Most of the patterns this wallpapers had were way too big for doll scale, but then this catalogue got discontinued and, even though it’s not quite my style, I thought it could be interesting for doll photography.


My favourite background is this wood plank pattern. They’re super thin in “human scale”, but they look just fine next to the dolls.


It can also be used as a floor.


The way to sell wallpaper changes from one country to another. In the UK for instance is quite popular and inexpensive. In some areas they give you a free sample that may be just the right size for photos. However, I encourage you to go to your depot/paint store and ask the employee if they have samples that have been discontinued and they’re about to throw them away. If it’s the store you usually go to, they’ll probably be more keen on give it to you or give you a call if they have some samples.


You’ve seen the paint samples I have before on some of my “Pop of color” posts. This are A4 size, which won’t allow you to take full body photos, but you can take cowboy shots (by the way, cowboy shots in Spanish are called “American shots”). However, in some stores the samples are smaller and they might not be useful. This is how mine look compared to the doll:



As with wallpaper, this may vary from one area or brand to another. In some places you can get them for free, while in others you have to purchase them.


Scrapbook paper or wrapping paper


This is probably something you’re already using. However, scrapbook in my area is quite difficult to find and in some stores is so expensive that it seems that you’re buying gold.  I’m not sure in other areas, but in Europe supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl sometimes bring scrapbook paper albums at low prices, so you can get some new backgrounds. I don’t own any scrapbook paper, so a while ago I printed my own brick wall that you may have seen around here.

Wrapping paper can be harder to use, as most of them have a glossy finish that can be tricky to work with. Also, in my case, this is the only wrapping paper I own that doesn’t have a Christmas theme print:



It doesn't look that bad, to be honest, but the theme may not be very versatile:



Anything that you have around your house


It can be anything that has a nice texture or color. School binders, storage bins, pillow cases… The only limit is your imagination. In this photo for example, I used an old school binder.



There's a Little bit of shine in here, but I'm not mad about it. 

This are just a few ideas of what you can use as photo backgrounds for your dolls but, of course, there are tons of other things you can use, such as a TV, fabric, etc. And again, this posts is not about to “teach” you anything, is just about inspiring and putting together the ideas I’ve come up with this past few years. As I’ve said countless times, I’m not a photography expert, in fact, I have no idea of what I’m doing (LOL). However, I do try to improve and take other people’s advice.
I hope you guys like and enjoy this post. It has taken me a lot of time to actually take this pics, edit them… plus all the difficulties I’ve mentioned above. I wish I could have more time to do another post before college starts, but considering how long this post has taken me, I don’t think so. Anyway, just leave me your thoughts on the comment section down below and, if you want to, you can follow me on my Facebook page, where I’m more active during my “silent blog periods”.
Take care.
M.C.

4 comments:

  1. Great tips! When I was more serious about my photography (I've gotten lazier over the last couple of years) I used fabric backgrounds, but the lack of wrinkles in the paper and cardboard shows that this way is clearly superior! :)

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    1. Hi jSarie! I'm glad you like it. In a coment down below, Dom says she pins the fabric to a cork board to avoid wrinkles. However, wrinkles can give an interesting texture to the photos, depending on what you're going for.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Hello love, I love all those ideas, usually I am using fabric , as I am sewing a lot for my dolls I always have plenty of material. I have a cork board (the kind of those found in office to pin notes) I drape my ironed fabric over it and it's done. Some fabric have fun print too.

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    1. Hi Dom! Using a cork board is a great idea too! If you can't tape the paper to your walls, you can always pin it too. I don't have much fabric avaliable, unless it's my own clothes, but yes, they can make great backgrounds too.
      Thanks for your lovely comment.

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