A CoverDoll Special by scooter_ca
Why Your Next Doll Should be a Miniature
So you've pulled the trigger and purchased the girl of your dreams. She's everything you hoped for. You discover that she is not just a doll. She has become a companion, sharing her life with you. You have feelings for her, and she is returning those feelings.
Like most of us, you want to share your feelings with the world. You grab your camera. You photograph her on the bed, on the couch, on the chair. If she has the standing option you photograph her leaning against a wall, leaning against a mirror, leaning against the table. If you're very lucky, she has only fallen once and was not damaged. If you're unlucky, well, at least you learned a valuable lesson.
Now, you would like expand into some more daring photographs. Perhaps photograph her doing a workout or maybe heading outside for some nature pictures. But your back is killing you and every photo session ends with you sweating and panting with exhaustion.
Now imagine a doll that can be posed in seconds. She can get into positions that other dolls only dream of. If she falls over, you just stand her up again. She can go anywhere you go, even travel with you on trips.
Yes, I'm talking about a miniature. Miniatures are great little dolls and are a joy to photograph. As an added bonus, they costs less than 1/20th the price of a full size doll.
So let me introduce you to Giorgi. Giorgi is my second doll after Daria. Daria has been my constant companion for 3+ years. She was even in CoverDoll back in July 2016
Giorgi is a Phicen Vampirella, Asian Edition.
Click on image for full size & gallery
I got Giorgi because she looked a little bit like Daria with her long dark hair and bangs. I was embarking on a photo adventure where Daria has an accident with "Phicen Cream" and shrinks down to 1/6th scale - Daria's Phicen Adventure - Giorgi is the actress that played "little Daria". In a later adventure, Daria was cured and returned to her normal size. The personality of Giorgi then occupied the empty Phicen shell.
But I digress, let's get back on topic. What's it like photographing such a tiny doll? It was only after I started working with Giorgi did I realize how easily she was to work with, and how great she looks in photographs. Photographing a miniature doll has similarities to photographing full size doll. Many full size dolls are on the small size, for example 150 cm or approx 5 feet. If you photograph them in a picture that has size references it becomes obvious that they are slightly smaller than real girls. That is why moving the camera in tight without a frame of reference is a popular photographic technique. Photographing a Phicen is the same, just to a greater extent. I like to get the camera in very tight, and in post editing I may even crop it some more.
You may be familiar with the story telling style popularised by miniature experts like LoneRanger (Starlight Lounge featuring the Ruby Room Bar and Grill ) and OlmanOz (Jessica's Big Droid) They create entire miniature worlds and the dolls are small actors in epic stories. I also like to tell stories and I also try to blur the line between small dolls and full sized dolls. I want to take photographs where it is not easy to tell them apart. The greatest compliment I receive is when someone asks me what vendor and model Giorgi is.
OK, I've been babbling, now let's see some pictures.
This picture of Giorgi illustrates the lack of external references so that her size is ambiguous.
These pictures shows the effects of getting the camera in close. The first picture is nothing special, but with the camera in tight the photo becomes much more interesting. This simple picture is Giorgi on a cutting board in front of a widow with a lace curtain.
I would like to mention that I am not a photographer. I have no training whatsoever and am self taught. I have a very inexpensive Cannon camera, although lately I have been using my Samsung A8 phone. I find it meets all my current needs.
Lets pause a moment to look at the body sculpt. You can count her ribs and see the muscles in her arms and legs. These are details that you would only expect to see on a high end full size doll, but here they are on little Giorgi.
I do not have a studio. I do not have photographic lights. I do not have a green screen. This picture was taken using Giorgi's packing box as the black background. I am holding an LED flashlight in one hand and the cell phone in the other.
Again, check out that body sculpt with fine details on the spine and shoulders.
Lets see some pictures and lift up the curtain by also showing behind the scenes.
This photograph won a monthly challenge competing against full size dolls. It's possible that some voters did not even realize she was a small doll.
However, you can see the simplicity of the setup by just pulling back a little. I closed the curtains to filter out the light and threw some paper into the fire. I held the phone very close to Giorgi.
To show how a Phicen makes life easier, think of the effort that would be required to photograph your full size doll stepping out the door into the backyard.
Take a step back to see how easy it is. I hold Giorgi with one hand, hold the phone in the other, and prop the door open with my foot.
Could a full size doll build a real snowman?
Another fun thing to do with small dolls is to take them outdoors and interact with the critters that live nearby. All that was required to take these pictures was to pose Giorgi and make some seeds available. I prop up my phone and run an app that takes a picture every three seconds. After an hour nap I return to reclaim the phone. Odds are there will be some great pictures.
Small dolls are also perfect for composite pictures. I've had no training on graphic editing. I've taught myself how to use GIMP (free) and PhotoShop (paid) by watching YouTube videos. Here is Giorgi making new friends --> Daria and Giorgi in Portugal:)
After a while it becomes easier and easier to remove backgrounds and add layers and layer masks. I did go a little wild with this picture from Jurassic II. A New Beginning:), putting together 5 layers. After removing the backgrounds of the 4 pictures they are layered one by one over the house picture.
Layer masking is used to give depth, for example on the budgie so that the branches appear in the foreground, and on Giorgi's right arm so it appears behind the neck of the bird.
And one final point. It never occurred to me that I could become attached to a small doll in the same way as a larger doll. I expected to use Giorgi in a Daria adventure and then put her back in her box never to be seen again. I was completely surprised when Giorgi began to feel like a companion and a full member of our family. After a photo shoot, I even say goodnight and give her a little kiss on the forehead when putting her to bed for the night.
So, to sum it up, these are all the reasons why I think a Phicen should become the next member of everyone's doll family. Your full size doll will become your lover and companion, and your small doll will become your versatile and resilient photographic model. I'm so happy that Daria and I found Giorgi, a friend, a model, a companion.
If you want to learn more about Giorgi. Everything can be found in her introduction and timeline - Scooter's mini introduction:).