As I mentioned in my post last week, I live fairly close to a nice botanical garden. As a member, I get unlimited general admission and discounts to events and classes. After doing some scoping last week, I made plans to do another session this week. This time, Rin go to go along. I don’t have an actual carrying case or bag that will fit a Dollfie, however I did discover that one will fit in a backpack when placed in a sitting position. To keep the hair from going too out of place, I took a small towel and wrapped it around her upper body.
I figured I’d go with an early morning session, hoping there’d be less crowds to contend with, cooler weather, and generally less embarrassment over carrying a doll around in a public area. The garden is open 9am-5pm, so I got up early today and arrived shortly after 9. Of course, I didn’t make the direct correlation that today was Mother’s Day and the garden was offering free admission to mothers today. I was greeted with a small line waiting to get in. Scratch that last item off the list. Fortunately, it was still early enough where there weren’t a lot of people inside yet and I quickly set to work.
I started with a couple test shots of some flowers in the orchid greenhouse. Confident that everything was fine and I’d established to onlookers that I was taking pictures, I opened up the backpack…
Lighting conditions in the greenhouse weren’t completely ideal and I ended up getting some odd shadows across the face. Using the built-in flash helped somewhat, but had a tendency to be too bright in spots. One of the staff members actually noticed what I was doing and approached me. She wondered if I worked for the doll’s manufacturer and if I was taking photos for a catalog of some sort.
One of the other things that I noticed was that it wasn’t extremely easy to pose Rin in the way I wanted to. She was able to sit fairly well, but anything more complex would require a bit of work.
Sitting on a flat object was pretty easy to pull off, but if she didn’t have anything to put her feet on, I had to make sure I leaned her against something. I did have one or two close calls where she almost fell…
For standing poses, I found it best to have her leaning up against something. Trees worked pretty well for these. I found it was quite impossible to get her to free-stand for any length of time. Dollfies don’t have that great of balance and a light breeze could easily knock one over.
I found that doing partial body shots worked best when other things are in frame. It helps with scale I didn’t capture as much background detail that could give away how big Rin was compared to her surroundings.
I did have to have some fun though, here we have Rin riding what looks to be a bear. XD
Of course, the easiest pose to keep a Dollfie in the one where she’s laying down.
Sitting in a chair is pretty easy too.
More tree leaning here, I tried to minimize the aperture so that the background detail would be somewhat preserved. It sort of worked, a tripod probably would have worked best for this. I probably should have broken out the gorilla pod here to keep foreground blur to a minimum.
The only problem with shooting Rin among flowers was that I pretty much had to be close to the ground to get the ideal shot. Most of these were taken kneeling, resting on my elbows, or laying flat. Whoever said photography was comfortable?
Driving on the way out, I went past the pond and gazebo that’s not a part of the main garden. Not to let the opportunity pass, I took a slight detour for a few gorgeous photos.
Relaxing by the pond is best. Easily one of the simplest poses I’ve had to set up all day.
The wind was particularly strong at the gazebo and it was difficult to keep Rin upright. It also managed to blow her hair in all sorts of directions, so I have quite a few failed shots where there are bits all over the place… I particularly love the background in this picture, it almost looks like a painting. The polarizer also did a great job with giving me a deep blue sky.
After the first few shots, I pretty much forgot that I’d feel embarrassed carrying a Dollfie around in a public place. The key here was to have some camera equipment and be in an environment where people are bound to take scenic pictures. I did get the occasional odd look, though a few people actually asked me what I was doing. In addition to working for a doll company, I was also associated with a student taking photos for a class, creating material for a book, and shooting for a magazine. I replied to a curious onlooker that it was easier than taking pictures of children. ^.^
I did learn a couple things today from today’s outing. Mostly it’s things to bring next time.
- Bring the external flash. The built in one doesn’t quite give the level of control I need to keep from overexposing photos.
- Bring a stand. Dollfies are near impossible to keep standing in unpredictable wind conditions. They are extremely hard to balance without assistance.
- Bring a brush. Hair can get tussled up pretty easily, either through transport or from the wind. Hand brushing works for the most part, but may not achieve the fully desired effects.
- Consider investing in the Dollfie World doll stand. It is threaded for a tripod and allows for easier wide angle shots. Much preferred over trying to hold the Dollfie out at arms length and taking a picture.
- Don’t be embarrassed! Carrying a camera pretty much made it “socially acceptable.” The fact that Rin looked pretty fancy probably helped, too. Somehow I doubt Yoko in her default outfit would have gotten the same reception… ^.^;;
Sufficed to say, I’ll probably be back there later on to do more. This experience has given me a lot to think about in terms of photography and may have started me down the road to buying more outfits and accessories for my daughters… I’m also probably going to invest in some carrying gear, apparently soft ukulele cases work pretty well and are an inexpensive (yet stylish) alternative.