The Ultimate Secret To Mastering Doll Photography

Hey everybody!  I’m am going to speak ultimate truth right about…now.

Doll Photography is hard. Like, really hard.

I would list some of the struggles that go hand in hand with it, but that would go on for a whole year.

So to convince you if you are not yet ready to admit, here is a comparison of my doll photography then vs. now:

August, 2015                                 January, 2017

Yeah.  So there.  It’s taken me over a year to progress from that to this.

You may be starting out, and your photography may look like the first picture.  But don’t be ashamed.  In 2015, I took pictures with an iPhone 4.  And now, I take pictures with a Canon PowerShot 5×120 IS.  If your doll pictures don’t look like picture 2, there is absolutely no need to feel bad about it.

The truth is, your photography is GREAT no matter what.  It’s all in what resources you have.  Because in 2015, I had absolutely no access to a good quality camera.  But this post isn’t about my photography timeline, it’s about helping you get to point B.

With these tips, you will get either Better results or Amazing results, I guarantee.  If you have any questions, feel absolutely free to ask them in the comments, just be aware that I’m not saying I’m a pro photographer, I’m a total rookie.  😛



This is the ultimate secret to doll photography, the big change.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO HUMANLY GET UP AND MOVE CLOSER TO YOUR DOLL.  Technology in lenses allow us to be a lot lazier than that.  XD

I have taken all of my recent pictures several steps away from the doll.  It’s a miracle.  Here is how to take absolute advantage of the zoom on your apple device/camera:

  • Set up the doll
  • take a few steps away from her
  • if you have a camera, make sure it is set to the mode that makes it easy to focus
  • zoom into the doll, but not too much!
  • focus on her so that the background is blurred, but the doll is clear.
  • take the picture, just be sure to hold the camera very steady, or else the photo won’t turn out


The photos above have been taken using this trick.  It looks best in a wide area or field with hills, but since some of you might not have access to that, your backyard would be the next best thing.

Tip #2:  Pay attention

This one just takes practice and time.  Sure, sometimes it annoys people when your doll is completely blurred, out of focus, or  her hair hasn’t been brushed.

But let’s be honest, EVERY SINGLE doll blogger has done that.  

If you look in the archives on any doll blog, I can guarantee that they have a “bad” photo or two.  Or thirty seven.

So here is a quick checklist when I’m going out for a photo shoot:

  • Is my doll’s hair frizzy or in a bad hairstyle?
  • is my finger in the way of the shot?
  • Does my doll have shoes on?
  • Does her outfit match?
  • Have I changed her completely from the last photo shoot?  (hopefully yes)
  • Could I spice up her outfit with a hat or a piece of jewelry?
  • I need to hold the camera STILL.
  • is there anything distracting in the background?  (person’s foot, bright car, etc.)
  • Is my lighting correct???

    Tip #3-Lighting

I’m slightly embarrassed by the first picture.  That one is one of the most horrid I have ever taken.  First, Ellie’s hair is a MESS, there’s a giant blow house is the background, she is completely out of focus, I used no zoom, and worst of all, She is in direct sunlight.

Okay, so this problem is the key element to getting better at your doll photos.


You have a brilliant photo shoot idea, you get your doll dressed, and (hopefully) tame her hair, and…

It’s 3:00 on a sunny afternoon.

There is no shade, no overcast, and lots of sun.

Okay, I’m just going to say this straight out, SUNNY PHOTOGRAPHS TURN OUT REALLY BAD.  At least mine do.

So here are the weather conditions you need for a good photo shoot:

  • overcast weather, or a shady spot
  • not actively raining, your lens could get damaged
  • not in front of something horrible, like a screen door or a mesh pool fence


Tip #4:  Focus

You need to focus on your doll.   Focus is basically when everything but you subject is blurred.  So above, Paisley is in full FOCUS, and the background with leaves, and a rustic fence to the woods is not.

If you are on an iPhone, just tap the doll, and all the sunlight will flow to her, and HOPEFULLY, she will be in focus.

If you are on a camera, you need to figure out which camera setting is best for focusing.  So on my camera, I set it to portrait, because I’m usually taking a portrait style photo of my doll’s face.  Then,  I set it to Macro, instead of normal, but manual focus sometimes works as well.  Then I click the button HALFWAY, it makes a beep sound, focuses, and that signals for me to take the picture.

I hoped you learned a thing or two about how to take better doll pictures!  Be sure to try out these tips in your next photo shoot!

Do you have any tips I didn’t mention in this post?  If so, be sure to comment down below!



29 thoughts on “The Ultimate Secret To Mastering Doll Photography

  1. Ooh! These are supercalifragilisticexpialidociously AWESOME tips! I have a different type of camera, so I actually have to rotate my lens to focus it, and as far as I know I don’t have any zoom, but for the most part, these tips work for me! 😀 I actually haven’t tried this one tip out yet, but I’ve see American Girl Doll Artist from Small Dolls in a Big World use an umbrella to shade her doll from direct sunlight once, and she zoomed in on the doll’s face. The photos turned out spectacular! I am going to hunt for my dad’s reflector, use our umbrella if I’m going out at 3PM 😄, and use all of your fantabulous tips next time I take my dolls out for a photoshoot! 😀


    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great!! I love these tips! I love the checklist idea. I think I’m going to actually make a printable checklist on photo tips… on my blog! 🙂 As soon as I find out how to make a printable.
    -Geeky_Girl ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have multiple pictures where my doll’s hair has gone insane, but part of that is just where I live: it’s windy! I know Seattle is supposedly the Windy City, but I swear Copenhagen puts it to shame. I only have three photo sets outdoors so far, the rest have been indoor shots. I’m also using my phone for most of the pictures; I love the comparison shots, though, maybe it’s time I start carrying around the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s