How I Would Photograph A Baby…NOT!!

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Ok, this is creepy.

I was on location a few days back and found this doll laying in a pile of limbs near a ditch. Its amazing to me that a doll which is typically associated with cute little girls playing house can by virtue of condition become something dark and ominous. I suppose we can thank Hollywood and a long list of horror films for our connection with “creepy” toys and horror. I took the doll with me (which creeped out the model, my wife, and my son) to save as prop for a future date.

I know that come Halloween I will do something with a “ghost” theme so having a prop like this can come in handy. However since Halloween is months away I couldn’t resist playing with some lighting photographing the doll. I set up three lights for this set. The key light was gelled with a light blue-green and reflected out of a broken mirror that I used when photographing the Walking Dead fans last year. A rim light with a green gel is to camera left and a light with an orange gel to camera right. I experimented with various positions and angles with the doll body to see how it looked best. I also used a milk crate as a gobo between the key light and the doll to create the shadows on the face.

I tried different setups for about an hour trying various positions for the doll and alternate camera angles. In post I only adjusted the contrast and sharpened the photos allowing the gels to carry my normal color toning. While the images are creepy and will never be used in a portfolio, I do enjoy the process of creating images and learn something from it each time.

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