Taking Doll photos: Color to Black and White

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Hi Doll Lovers!  

Sorry I have been gone so long---I will still be not in the doll room for a bit. Stairs are still hard for me. But, we are working in therapy on the knee, at least I am driving now.

I did manage to bring up some bins of dolls and a few things to work on---you know though, you always forget something, like shoes---rubberbands, the doll brushes, and a few props, jewelry.

Luckily I had a bin of doll miscellaneous from a thrift store in the car trunk, I had forgotten. 
When I needed a chair for this portrait pose, I had one, in that bin.

For all my photos, I use an old EZ-Share Kodak Z740 on Auto set--
with no flash on a 2 count delay--
which gives the camera time to really focus well. It's an easy camera to use for the closeups for the dolls and for my Etsy store. 


Zoe is one of my favorites to take a photo of, she has such a pretty face. She's only partially articulated on a new body. Her skin color is just a bit off for the new articulated bodies. At least now she doesn't have big flat feet, 
and she can bend her knees.
The dress was ordered online at Amazon from China. It has 6 layers of tulle, fits perfectly. I separated all the tulle to give the sumptuous effect.


Here's a closeup view. Lucky you can't see her feet, she does have white stockings on, but no shoes. 
Here you can see the netting very clearly. These were taken on the kitchen table with natural light, and an overhead kitchen light in a globe.


In editing this to Black and White,  I did a light vignette haze around the edges, kicked up the contrast a bit...and the shot looks entirely different.  Stray hairs really show up in black and white, so get out that gel or water to keep them neat.
I think she looks quite real, here.


Here's another shot of the same doll. This was supposed to be a night scene. Taken in the doll room, with Christmas lights on in the dollhouse and a can light with a photo bulb in it from the side. 
In color, this shot color isn't as interesting as the black and white. Dark shadow, Dark coat, medium tone fur, 
and her light hair make for lots of contrast and interest. 
Stray hairs really showed up on this one--
in color you don't even see them.
In editing I did very little but up the contrast a tiny bit.


Emily and Vera...The dog looks perfect, the Christmas lights provide the LIGHT, and the snow becomes a medium tone, the greens and fur provide the dark. Emily's black hair and the dark color on the dog, add balance to the composition. The connection between the dog and Emily with the leash--ties the composition together. This photo was cropped to give mold and a tight composition.


Black and white can give a vintage vibe to any scene. I did no editing with this one. This was taken in the craft room with LED overhead lighting. Sindy has a hotdog stand, this could be this summer or 50 years ago...with the black and white. I did cut this down from a larger photo---there was too much stuff the same tone in the foreground. Here the apron provides the bright white. 
Ken's shirt provides the dark, the stripes provide interest. 
Everything else is secondary as the action between the two is the 
focus. The diagonal of her arm and the cutting board provide energy to the composition.

Ryan and Richelle at a formal affair. Here I used a can light to the side with a photo bulb in it. It's a great photo in color, but all the detail of the lace really jumps out in black and white. All the white in the background has great textures and the stripes in the column echo the placket in Ryan's shirt and the stripes and lace in Richelle's dress. Having triangular elements in a photo--really tighten the composition.

I don't recall adding much editing to this, besides zooming in for a closeup. 

Hope this post gives you a few ideas for staging some photos for black and white. Most photo editing programs give you the option of going to gray scale or black and white in editing.You may have to up exposure, or up or down contrast to get the effect you want. 
Vignette framing, can block out distracting bits in a photo. It's very effective though, don't you think. 

I hope to be posting a few times a week now--with something! 

Hugs to You All and your dolls, too.

Thank you for visiting, I will try and respond to every question and comment. 

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  1. A great session, I like the last and the first photo the most. Best wishes from Poland.

    1. Thank you so much, greetings from Chicagoland! Sandi

  2. Good to see you posting again and I'm glad to hear your knee is slowly getting better! That's one of the more realistic Barbie dogs I've seen:@)

    1. Thank you, Lynn. The knee is not going to get better until it's replaced...I'm just trying to get to the point where the leg doesn't fall off, grins. The dog is really very special, my girlfriend gave it to me for Christmas---She's Emily, her greyhound at that time was Vera...I was an honorary Auntie...lol.


Thanks so much for each and every comment, and I will try and answer any questions you may have.