Storytelling & inspiration

Help & tips

Pictures can tell stories, well at least the most. There are for sure some exceptions like documentations and so on. But today I want to refer to more creative or artistic pictures.

Photographs show a motive, which was captured at a specific time. It is a current state of the moment and motive. You can change the appearance and this as-is state with several stylistic elements while a photo session also with editing later on.

As usual the main topic we will talk about are dolls. Some of these points can used for other art and pictures as well. Because sometimes you might want to photograph more than “just a pretty doll” (which is nothing wrong about, I do this on a reguular basis too, Ha) and create a story.

Please keep in mind that a lot of these informations also depend on your personal taste and interpretation! :) This is also rather a quick overview then an in-depth study. But maybe you find this helpful and get some inspirations for your next photoshooting!

Image section

The image section is a main part of your photograph – well obviously, right? Because it simply determines what will be shown on the picture later and what might be hidden out of the area of your photograph. This may sound a bit trivial, but you should try it out next time with the finder of your camera (or display) – just think a moment about this before you take the picture.

Another main point – The background: Describing your picture. It gives the watcher some hints of the circumstances of the place, or details in the picture.

A simple example: If you show the horizon low and make the sky a big part of the picture – it will seem airier and free. But if you will take pictures of a higher angle the picture might look more compact. It can give the viewer a high perspective and feeling more grand.

You can also show some structures or architecture. None of it is wrong however, it depends on your liking or what you want to show.

You can give your picture more depth with different parts out of focus. This can help you to draw the attention on specific points of the watcher aswell.


Create highlights

You can create a lot of depth to your picture with the help of focus. Especially if you have a fore- and background. They do not need to be in focus to create deeper appearance.

The focus can also determine the main point of your captures and where you want your watchers attention. It does not necessarily need to be on your dolls face. It can be on a item or even on the scenery – Creating only a silhouette of your doll and the pose.


Landscape pictures tend to have a calm atmosphere. You can also create a more panorama type of capture. I think landscapes are often used if the photographer wants to include some more of the scenery. And it works fine!

Landscape can include some more scenery.

Upright format

Pictures in an upright format seem oft more dynamic.

Basically it is the same with the focus. Do you want a blurred out background or is your landscape (as an example) one of the important parts of the picture? The focus can also lead the eyes of the viewer. Unimportant parts of the image can sometimes (more or less) be hidden.

Movement can create a dynamic picture of your doll. It does not have to be the hair though. You can get creative!

Posing & body language

Underline your character

There is more to posing than you would first think of. It’s not only “how does my doll sit on this sofa”. The body language often gives a hint about your character and doll you want to show. And so you can use this “feature” to your favour. Even though dolls are surely more limited than a human (flexing muscles etc.).


Hands can also show a lot of emotion. They can have different poses or even describe something – like angry fists or helping hands.

Let’s keep the example from above with a sofa: Is your character shy or an introvert? Well this will also be shown in his body language. Keeping their hands close to the body or hiding their face behind them. Or is your character a charming one? Well you can imagine that she/he will sit different on a sofa – like more alluring or open. :)

Mimic & Face

Obviously the expression does show emotion and personality too. Due to the fact that your dolls Face-up is permanent you can not do much acout the expression itself much during a photosession. But you can edit it to your liking later on. You can underline some facial features with light however.

Also eyes inherit a lot of potential – they do not need to focus on the watcher, but also guiding the watchers eyes to an item.


Create different moods

Of course light is also an important point of storytelling. Like the image selection and focus you can decide what will be seen in the picture or what will be a more subtle detail.

You can also set highlights – lighter areas are bigger eye catcher. With different angles you can set a more dramatic light – a lower lighsource can give your picture for example a more eerie or unnatural look and feel.

Higher ligh sources will appear more natural. This comes due to the fact, that we have the sun light which is mostly above us. There is no wrong or right however, you can experiment to your likings!

Shadows can create very nice shapes, not only silhouettes. They can give more depths to a dolls face or body for exmaple lights & shadows can make your picture look more 3D.

Decoration & Props

Create your scenery

Now to the obvious point in my list: props. No matter if only details or as a main point of view in your pictures. They can be, next to your doll, a major influence to the theme in your picture. Props define the appearance and the story you want to tell. And leave a hint or some space for interpretation for your viewer.

Of course you don’t need the most expensive props or decoration. They can help to show a clearer version of your story or character however. But you can definitely get creative and handcraft your own desired items.

Is your character attached to music? Well you don’t have to buy a pricey piano for your doll – how about some other hints you can use? Like some tiny paper sheets with printed music notes on them. Something you can easily make yourself. And even more personalized to the music your character does.

Some last words

Well as stated above – in the end it is up to you what you like, prefer and want to do! I recommend to experiment a lot aswell. Different colors, details or focus can make a big impact on your picture and the whole mood.

Also important: YOU should be happy with your pictures and you should not hold back because of any reasons or doubts. You don’t need expensive items or equipment. Stay true to yourself and don’t let yourself down. Always remember that some main points of the hobby is also to have fun and being creative.

Hope you liked this post and information! And maybe It gave you some inspiration for your next pictures.

Be happy and stay awesome.

Feel free to message, tag or add me on instagram @dollmoons!

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