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Help! Photographing objects is much harder than humans!


I am a reborn doll artist, I create likelike reborn art dolls. This is my career and I make a pretty good salary doing it. 5 years in and I am still struggling to take the best photos of my work. Pictures are what sells my work so I need the sharpest most natural photos. The coloring needs to be true to what my eyes see in person. I am shooting with a Canon rebel T5. I have a 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm. I need help finding the right settings. Flash creates shine that is not ideal for what I am photographing. In colder months when the natural light isn't great I find that I am struggling. These 2 photos were taken at the same time of day, same location. top photo in manual with the setting the same as the below photo(snowman)1/125 shutter--- F4.5--- ISO set to Auto---No flash. The bottom photo was taken in Portrait mode, flash came up automatically, I enjoy this photo more, I find it truer in color to real life with out being overly bright. My issue with shooting in Portrait mode is that you cannot choose when the flash is used or not as it doesn't let you choose. Does anyone know what the setting are in "portrait mode"? 

M.jpgThis picture was taken in natural light outside around 3pm. I was in manual mode 1/125 shutter--- F4.5--- ISO set to Auto---No flash. I like how this one turned out but I cannot always get the same quality. 




The first thing I see is that color balance could be way better.  Current images look quite cold (blue).


Did you capture your images in RAW?  If so, the color temperature can be adjusted later (e.g. in Adobe Lightroom).


Flash can be very useful.  When I first started with my Rebel T4i, I picked up Canon's 400-series speedlight.  Then got a cable so that I could use it off-camera.  There are numerous modifiers you could purchase, or even DIY, to soften the light.


Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers


The Portrait position on the mode dial is programmed to have the camera go for a larger aperture (smaller f/number) to minimize depth of field. As you found, these icon modes also set other features that you may or may not want. You can do the same yourself by shooting in Av mode.


There is also a Portrait Picture Style that only matters if you are shootingh JPEG or use the Canon DPP software and shoot RAW.  The Portrait Picture Style slects a little less sharpness and adjusts color towards pinkish.


Screenshot 2021-01-01 084839.jpg


As you found, when you are shooting on a clear day with snow on the ground you will find a bluish cast since the blue sky is reflecting of the snow. You will also find that the images will tend towards being underexposed since there is so much of the image brtighter than midtones.


Your subject is static - no reason not to be using a tripod.


Give the image about one stop positive exposure compensation.


Also recommend that you shoot RAW so you can better adjust white balance. What software do you use?


John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic


First off, beautiful work.


Second you are an artist at what you do. The best solution is to hire a professional photographer that is the best at what he/she does. Barring that the next best solution is to always shoot in Raw file format. Never, never, again never use jpg.  Because you need to post edit your photos. This mandatory and not a choice. You need a good post editor and all the best pros use the Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.  You should, too!

This is your photo with two simple clicks in PS. One is levels and the second is set gray point.  Nothing else and look how much better it is.




You never use any of the auto mode like portrait.  Always be in one of the creative mode like Av, which is what I would suggest to use. While on never use, never use the 75-300mm for this type work. I also would never use a flash.  You need to apply all the light needed either by natural light (preferred) or other constant on light source.

Feel free to come back with any questions you might have.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!