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Miniature Dolls and Toys: Little People Photography

Updated on November 3, 2021
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Laura has been photographing historical, abandoned, and rural ruins in Ontario since getting her first digital camera in 2006.

After being inspired by photos taken of little dolls in peril or just trying to cope in the big world, I have found my own little people to experiment with. I’ve seen people use Barbie dolls, some kind of revenge against the media thing I think. I know an artist who uses tiny figurines which are sold to be set up in model train villages.

I have been using two Bratz dolls which I bought at a GoodWill store. I like their sort of bitchy expression and the fact that they aren't blonde princess types. These Bratz dolls have a range for true torment, real peril and facing it all with an annoyed look.

So far the hardest part is getting the photograph in good focus. Even when I’m sure I’ve got several good photos, I end up deleting all but one or two cause they are blurry looking. I’m going to see what tricks and ideas I can find from other sites and people who are taking close up photos of little things. It's almost macro photography, but not quite that close up and focused on one small thing.

My best tips for anyone giving this a try:

  • Clear out anything you don't want in the photo's background. Get clutter out of the way. Look through your camera before you start and see what you still need to move out of your way.
  • Get in close to your dolls/ toys. In the photo you should clearly see their faces and details of hands and other small items you pose with them.
  • Tidy up her hair. The Bratz dolls hair becomes a mess pretty easily.
  • Practice different angels: overhead, to the left, to the right, from below, over her shoulder, etc.
  • Practice focusing on something in the background and have your foreground be a little blurry, not in direct focus.
  • If you are indoors, bring a light you can move around. Don't let it cause glare but experiment with moving it around for different effects, like shadows.
  • I bought a tripod to help me get a better photo, without blurring due to any least movement of my hand. This should help me get better, clearly focused photos. Also, it's nice cause it keeps my camera in the exact same spot if I want to try playing with the light.
  • Use the macro button/ feature on your camera. This means you have to move the camera really close but it does give you better luck catching the details.

© 2012 Laura Brown


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