Do you ever feel like dolly photo shoots are a lot of work?

Nov 20, 2020

    1. I love taking pictures of my dolls, but sometimes I feel tired and a little overwhelmed after it's done because I'm always so excited about all the ideas I have! I normally spend about a couple of hours with my dolls. I'm not a professional photographer and not I'm not trying to be. It's just that I like telling a story with my dolls. It's one of the reasons why I'm in this hobby. I like to add props and backdrops, ect. It does take time to get everything set up. I find a place with good lighting, set up the backdrop and props, also add my little ring light that works decently well. I get my dolls out of their boxes, dress them, do their hair get them to the "set" and pose them. After taking a lot of pictures I have to put everything away.

      Having larger dolls makes it harder! I'd downsize, but all the sculpts I fall in love with are in 1/3 size! It sometimes takes me a couple of days to actually finish the project. In the end it's all worth it! I have so many ideas that I'm excited to work, but I just been doing things very little at a time. I know this sounds kind of silly and I'm sure it's normal. I just haven't seen a post like this.
      • x 1
    2. For me, even getting out the camera is a lot of work.

      I'm not a photographer and don't enjoy it. I only have a digital camera as a "Necessary Evil" because it's the only way to share my dolls with others online. 99.9% of my photos are quick snapshots, not carefully set up and posed scenes.

      I'm full of admiration for those who take the trouble to do all the set dressing and scene setting for their doll pictures, and love seeing the results, but for myself, I don't like photography and I simply can't be arsed to go to all the trouble most of the time.

      • x 9
    3. I am addicted to telling stories in photos. I have many 70+cm dolls. I am 71 so I sometimes run out of energy dressing my heavy dolls! It takes a few days to dress, set up and pose my dolls. I often dress them the night before I shoot. The worst are my ancient Asian scenes with all of them dressed in Korean and Chinese garb. I love how the photos look despite the work though. I tend to leave them in costume for a week or so (in a dark area) because I want to delight in their beauty for longer.

      I also do some spontaneous shooting. I like that they are sometimes just as good or even better than my planned scenes.
      • x 8
    4. Absolutely! I often say doll photography is just doing squats with ten pound weights and then throwing yourself into the mud to document. But I love the end result, and for me there’s nothing like taking the big guys out on a hike to find a good natural background, so it’s all worth it!
      • x 4
    5. I don't feel like it, it simply IS a lot of work. Especially when you want to do more than just "one doll standing nicely in front of a wall" pictures.

      You have to go to or prepare the location. Have to fiddle around with posing, light, and maybe use a few tricks to get your doll to look right. Take a million pictures until you have a couple that are okay.
      Sit down and sort through them. Edit them (depending on how heavy the editing needs to be, this can take hours too).
      Meanwhile your doll can get damaged, pictures don't turn out like expected, it's physically exhausting, the location might not work after all the time you had to spend driving there/building it and so on.

      I am always glad when I manage a grand shooting with beautiful pictures, but it's just SO MUCH WORK.
      And I don't want to take just boring portraits all the time inside my apartment :( I honesty envy people with a nice big garden/nature around them or who are more mobile with interesting landmarks surrounding their area.

      Also envy everyone who has a photographer buddy/helper. It is sooooo much easier with a second person by your side, and sometimes the only way to make a shot even work.
      • x 6
    6. Yes! I get overwhelmed a lot! Whenever we get a big rainstorm i feel like i HAVE to get out there as fast as possible and get some awesome rain shots, even if i dont feel like taking pics, i feel pressured to just so i can get my ideas out. In the end i always end up having fun(even though i get cold and wet and my neighbors think im crazy) but it does feel like a LOT of work. Just setting everything up and trusting my ladies not to throw themselves over onto concrete and stuff lol. It is always worth it in the end for the awesome pics though!
      • x 3
    7. Yeah, this is why I never take pictures of my dolls. I have some (mostly unboxing), but I swear I hate prepping a doll just to take pictures...
      • x 1
    8. Oh...rain scenes. I have a great umbrella all the kdramas.
      @MarvinRed you shouldn’t have told me that idea! Haha!
      • x 3
    9. Yes, taking pictures can be a lot of work depending on how many dolls I want to use and the setting. Because of that most of my pictures are simple documentation of outfits I've made or face-ups I've done, against a wall or not too cluttered area of my home. However I do think that it's really satisfying when I have the energy for it to set up something special, and enjoy the photos that come from extra effort. I just try not to pressure myself into taking more complicated pictures than I feel up to at the time. It's supposed to be fun after all!
      • x 1
    10. It's a mountain. If you want good figure photography at any scale, you've always got to put forth some effort. Those simple photos with great lighting and dynamic angles where's it's just the toy posing still require setup. Indoors? Lights, location, placement, toy balance, camera setup. Outdoors? Light, time of day, location, toy balance, appropriate wear for the weather, potential 'elemental' props (Lighter/torch, fireworks, spray bottle, gravel, etc.), camera setup. Even if the only 'prop' is the toy itself, there are always things to consider. I love taking dolls with me because I can just plop them down places and hopefully not have to think about it as much.

      .....99% of the time, I'm stuck at home and end up building sets to avoid the unphotogenic nature of northern suburbia. It's sunny the 1/4th of the year it's not snowing, so outdoor photos in good lighting are rare with BJDs. I usually end up editing the snot out of photos I was too lazy to set up the lights for too, and it's the worst feeling when you flip back through great shots with terrible lighting. BJD photography can be highly unrewarding without a space to do it in freely, and that's why I only post my photos one or twice every few years.
      • x 1
    11. I can not hold a camera steady for a picture, ever in my life. Even with a tripod I can manage to blur photos. It is a curse and my family refuses to allow me to take pictures. I admire anyone who takes photographs let alone the beautifully thought out picture stories I see on this forum.
      • x 1
    12. Absolutely! It's a strange balance of overwhelming feeling work, but also satisfaction when I succeed. Sometimes a photo just wants out of my head, so I do the thing!

      I have really bad shoulders and love SD-sized + dolls, so just picking them up and carrying them across my small house can be a valid deterrent some days (maybe most days). I basically never carry a doll outside of my house anymore for exactly that reason. Even if there is lovely weather, pristine fallen snow, vivid painted sunsets, etc. etc. I just can't manage the weight. 99.9% of my photos now take place on my bed. So that's a crazy limiting factor in what my photos will look like. For me, doll photography has become posing large fiddly dolls on a soft bouncy surface and....portraits are now my friend. :XD:

      Then after everything is set up, the multitude of photos taken without really knowing if they came out or are at all usable because I have to wait my turn to use the computer to check, it means that everything HAS to be cleaned up, no exceptions because I have to sleep in said bed. Hehe. So yes. Sometimes I do REALLY want to take a photo.....but I just know I don't have the physical energy that will be required to do the thing and it slips out of my hands. I take a photo maybe once a month or so. But I do keep doing it because it's something I really love in the end. It makes the dolls come alive to see them on the screen. :chocoheart
      • x 1
    13. I used to have a room full of dioramas for my dolls permanently set up, so taking photos was pretty easy. I’ve since torn out that whole wall so now it takes more effort and I find myself making little to no effort now, since I’ll just have to put it all away again. I’d love to be a better photographer, but it probably won’t happen any time soon.
      • x 1
    14. YES! And I generally have to take outdoor shots as I have no good lighting inside. But it takes HOURS to change their outfits, find shoes, get them looking at least SORT OF how I want. Then take them out and wander the neighborhood to find nice place to take their pics. Then I take TONS of pictures with different poses and different angles and it adds up to being HOURS!

      I love it, but I rarely devote the time to it. I wish I had a good indoor photo studio with nice lighting that I feel like would maybe save me time?? But I don't know that for sure...
      • x 2
    15. Well - I used to do lots of photostories (still pix, but probably almost enough to do stop-motion--). The one that almost overwhelmed me was the halloween party that involved multiple dolls sitting and standing around, as well as 4-5 couples on the dance-floor. No stands. Luckily, most of mine are pretty stable. But still, when I had to leave the room (nature calls--), I did put a stand under one big, heavy-chested guy, and he still started to swivel off his feet on the saddle stand until I Macks-Earplugged his tookis in place.

      Now - alas - cats. A room full of dolls would be a cat/doll cirque du soleil waiting to happen. Even if they condescended to leave at least half the wigs on the dolls....
      • x 1