Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Growth comes from overcoming frustration

With the funds I received from a rare and generous donation I was able to buy a Pullip doll that I intend on using for photography. That might sound really stupid, but as you can see from the examples of Pullip photos here, they really can make great subjects.

So, the doll arrived the other day and I immediately started to think about how to photograph her. My first thought was to make it animal-oriented. I bought her because she looks a little like me, and so I thought about posing her with all of my Vet Tech books (for school) in the background.

I arranged the books and the doll and this was my best shot out of the first shoot:

That wasn't nearly as effective as I thought it would be. So, I re-assessed the situation and decided to focus more on the doll. Here's my best shot from the 2nd round:

That's better, but still not a very good photo. I started getting frustrated. Why did I spend all that money on this stupid doll? Why can't I do this? Maybe I should stick with the still life genre or macros -things I'm good at.

I took a deep breath and thought about the advice I'd give to someone else in my situation -take a look at other people's photos of the same subject. That's when I found this photo. THAT's what I wanted to produce!

What's the difference? No background. They got in much closer. I decided to forgo the background and start working on the kitchen table. I propped my doll's head up and positioned her, then took some photos shooting down at the doll at various angles. And that's how I came up with this:


Much better. Postable. I'm glad I stuck with it. The trick of searching Flickr for inspiring photos has helped me out of similar situations in the past and it's one of my favorite pieces of advice for frustrated photographers. The other lesson to be learned (or re-learned) here is that even though our instincts often lead us to want to include more in a photograph, it's often more effective to get closer instead. Zooming in can eliminate distractions and create more intimacy with your subject. I think that's where I was going wrong with the first couple of shots.

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