How To Make a Photo Story: Exclusive Tips and Tricks! HUGE GUIDE

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Welcome back!

First and foremost…

I’d like to thank all of you guys for 370 followers!  This blog is growing so unbelievably fast, thank you all for being a part of my family!  ❤

Now!  Onto the post!!

So at the beginning of the year, I decided to make this blog mainly for publishing my photo stories.  Ever since, I have posted a photo story of my doll family every weekend!  You guys love these, and to be honest, I absolutely LOVE, with all my heart, the process of making these!

In the comments you have requested me to make this post, and since I don’t have much a photo story to post today, I’m posting this guide to all forms of photo stories!

Yep, that’s right!  This includes photo series!

I am going to be covering everything related to photo stories- multiple part photo stories, photo series, outfits, scenes, props… everything you need to know to make your own photo story!

Let’s get started!

The Essentials for a Jaw Dropping Photo Story

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There are quite a few essential elements you need for your photo story… let’s go over them, shall we!?

  • DOLL PERSONALITIES

GUYS.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Your dolls need to be like people… so make them have personalities like real people!  Make them unique, make them original!  My epiphany began when I realized that the book characters AG has for the dolls ARE NOT FUN to read about in a photo story!  I spent about 4 hours plotting out all of my dolls’ personalities in a notebook, and then I published an All My Dolls Post.  An All My Dolls post helps your readers understand your dolls’ personalities.  It familiarizes them with them.   You also need a Meet The Dolls page on your blog, I just copied and pasted most of the dolls’ profiles from the All My Dolls into that, and BOOM.  Easy access for everyone to your dolls’ personalities!  You also need to remember your dolls’ personalities.  If you ask me one of my doll’s personalities, I will know it right off the bat!  Try to get to that point as well, it will really make their personalities shine through!

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  • AN INTERESTING IDEA

You need an interesting idea.  Nobody wants to read a photo story titled:  “The Dolls Go To The Park!”  I would not read that photo story unless the dolls went to the park, they saw a parrot, one of them tried to capture the parrot, and the plot had something to do with plums.  (idk)  But it has to be something nobody is expecting.  It has to be the most creative thing you can even think of!

Those are the two essentials you need BEFORE you make a photo story.

Now let’s start the process with… outfit making!!

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Outfits

I spent 1-2 hours per photo story dressing my dolls!

Now, I’ve been collecting doll clothes for many years, and I have collected a TON of doll outfits!  Yet I still tend to reuse the same piece, and that’s something that’s not really very… proffesional?  (Idk of a better word.)

The point is that you need to have different outfits for each photo story, and you need to put together different outfits for different dolls.  Think about what you wear!  You don’t constantly wear the same outfit, every few days, do you?  I don’t know about you, but I have about 2 weeks worth of different outfits I can wear.  So make it like that for your dolls!

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Remember to mix and match!  Try on lots of shoes, maybe layer a skirt over leggings, or put a cardigan over that plain t shirt!  You can even reuse doll clothes for different purposes.  (Upcoming post on that!)  You can turn a dress into a top by tucking in the skirt, you can turn a skirt into a blouse by pinning it up and tucking it into some shorts, the possibilities are endless!

The clothing your dolls wear should be appropriate to the season… if it’s winter, make sure they are all wearing holiday dresses or sweaters with long sleeves.  If it’s fall, maybe go for more autumn-like colors.  If it’s summer, go for neon bright tank tops and shorts!  If it’s spring, embrace floral prints!

The most important thing about an outfit is making sure it matches the doll’s personality.  For example, I would probably never put Kit in a dress unless she was wearing sneakers.  XD  I would dress her in her volleyball shirt, or a sporty top, and pair it with jeans or shorts.

But my more girly dolls would wear more dresses and skirts!  See what I mean?  Cater clothing to their personalities.  Above, Nora is rocking her style!  She pairs a cute denim blouse with a lace skirt, and some Native American inspired moccasins!  To me, that is something a country music star like her would wear.

SCENES!  My favorite part!

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I consider myself VERY lucky to have access to so many types of scenery in my photo stories.

Above is a floristry I set up in my room for an upcoming photo story.  I love my room because the light violet color really let’s a lot of sun in, making it the perfect lighting for my photos.

But most importantly.. look at all the detail!  

I put as much detail as possible into my sets, and that is my favorite part of the photo story process.  For the floristry above, I cut flowers from the garden, and spent hours arranging them into vases.  I printed out signs and taped them to the wall.  My mother made the table, and I spent an hour creating the white shelf from scratch.

It’s truly a fun process, and makes it so rewarding in the end!

I’m going to be showing you all the places I shoot my photo stories in!

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MY ROOM!

First is my room.  As I said before, it has great lighting.  But most importantly, it’s home to my very own dollhouse!  I spent a lot of time on my doll house, and it is the main place where I take photos.  My dolls spend a lot of time here, and I really enjoy using it and constantly redecorating it!  You can read the full tour here!

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MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE

This is BY FAR my favorite place ti take my photos.

My grandmother lives on a ranch, and works for a winery.  The windery is so beautiful, and it’s way out in the country and full of wildlife!  Much of Wealthy Hearts was taken here!

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Mt grandma’s house is probably one of my favorite places on earth, it’s so beautiful!

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I loved this photo, it has the pastures and hills in the background!

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This was taken in the woodshop!  (The baron’s “Evil Lair”!  😛  )

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This was taken right outisde the winery tasting room, in the pretty picnic area!

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The treehouse!  It’s a real tree house near my grandma’s house!

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This was taken inside the cookhouse, a strorage house for the winery!  I thought it looked like a palace kind of… I just added a few props.  😛

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And this was taken from the window of the tree house!

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MY OTHER GRANDMA’S HOUSE

My other grandma lives a lot closer to me, and I took some pictures for photo stories at her house!  She has a fence with a view of the river, and I think it’s soooo pretty!

She has a new house now, and she moved out of this one, but I loved it while it lasted!  🙂

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MY BACKYARD

My backyard is beautiful.  I feel so lucky to have such a gorgeous backyard, and I love taking photos there!

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This is a garden by the side yard of my house, and it’s so pretty!  The time window for good lighting is very short, however.  It is drowned in sunlight most of the day, so I have to take photos at either 6 in the morning, or 7:30 at night!  XD

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My mom has some beautiful trees all over that make for great bokeh.  (exhibit A ^)

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(Exhibit b ^)

 

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I love to utilize my pool.  It’s perfect for cute candids!

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Not so pretty photo of a pretty place lol.

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MY HOUSE

My mom and dad are awesome enough to let me take pictures wherever I would like inside of the house… for example a  lot of my CLUE photo story was taken in my dining room.  And whenever you see a tan wall rather than a purple wall… that’s the guest room!

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MY STUDIO KIT

I love my studio kit!  My mom has it for her work, but she let’s me use it!  It’s a cube perfect size for dolls, with 2 real studio lights!  *dies*  I use the lights a lot!

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COOL PLACES

I take my dolls on all my adventures!  I took Nora to Carmel beach a few months ago, and it was awesome!  Utilize your travel for cute photo stories!

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The next step… PROPS!

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I have A TON of doll stuff….

I call them props, because I use these objects in my photo story.

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I use lots of dishware to make food look realistic

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I use SO many props in my stories.  Think of your props as real objects.  You need them because you use objects in real life, so your dolls should use them too! I use tons of props, and you should too, to make it more realistic!

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I also make my own props too!  For example, that bowl is an easter egg, and that glue bottle is made of clay!

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I also love props from AG, they’re just super detailed!  Just like this map ^ from AG’s travel craft set!

 

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In the photo story, My Summer Of Living, I used all the props I had almost never used before!  Just like this ukulele!

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This lantern was sooo cute!

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I’ve had this lifejacket from Our Generation for FOREVER!  Yet I’ve never used it before….

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My grandma made me the tent and sleeping bag!  Isn’t that amazing?!

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And, of course, my favorite, the kite!!

Now the Hard Part… Photographing and writing!

 

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My Number One Life hack for carrying multiple dolls to your scene is to pile them into a laundry basket.  One laundry basket can fit about 13 dolls!  It takes FOREVER to carry your dolls one by one, so this hack really comes in handy, especially when shooting outside.  🙂

(Yes I was shooting Solstice Children Season 2 in that pic… shhhhhhh)

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When it comes to photographing your dolls, good photography is important.  It’s one of my top priorities when shooting a photo story.

I have an entire guide to how I get decent photos, and you can check it out here.

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How To WRITE a Great Photo Story

Let’s make this clear.  I may sound silly, But I NEVER have written out a photo story before I’ve taken photos.

I’m not that organized.  When I go outside to take a photo story, I know what pictures to take, even though I haven’t even written it yet.  How?

I use my imagination.  I imagine how I want the final product to turn out, and I take pictures accordingly.  I act out the scenarios in my head.  I think of my dolls as real characters when I do photo stories.  Then, I upload my pictures to the computer, and start writing from the photos I took.  I adjust.  I edit.  I publish.

This is how it works for me.  However, I know some people write their’s out first, and plan each photo first.  And that’s totally fine!  Whatever works for you.

But I honestly think my way is a lot easier.  😛

It takes me about 1-3 hours to write each photo story.  

I listen to music while I write.  I keep focused.  I text.  I eat.  And, I procrastinate.  This is why I post photo stories on Saturdays, so I have enough time to write it out!

 

Photo Series

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Photo series are awesome…

So here’s my little guide to keeping up with them!

  • TAKE THE PHOTOS FIRST

Guys!  I cannot STRESS this enough!  Taking the photos beforehand is a huge surefire way to keep up with your photo story.  If you take care of the hard part first, you will have no excuse to abandon your photo story.  It takes me abou 2-3 weeks to take all the photos for one season.

  • PLAN

As I said before, I’m not much a planner.  But I do kind of plan my photo series!  I take a piece of paper, and I write the title at the top.  Then, I write Part 1, and list all the main events that take place in part one.  I do this for ever part, and then I list the cast at the bottom.  This helps me write, photograph, and stay on top of things.  😀

  • MAKE GRAPHIC FEATURES

By Graphic Features I mean:

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You need a title feature so people will recognize your series.   As you can see, it can be pretty simple.  Just make sure it has the title, the season if it is after season 1, and your blog title.

An Original Agdollawesome Photo Series

And then to make sure that everyone knows you made it, and for it to be more professional, you can make one of these!

Side Characters!

side characters are people that are not your doll family. For example, they are in photo series, and some photo stories.

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They usually are your dolls “acting” like other people.

This includes boys!

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You can learn how to make your dolls into boys, give them freckles, and lipstick HERE!

Other Commonly asked Questions!

How many parts should a photo story be?

In my opinion, a normal photo story featuring your doll family as themselves, should eb no more than 3 parts long.  I actually never do more than one of two parts for a regular photo story, I just make mega photo stories if it is especially long.

How many parts should a photo SERIES be?

A photo SERIES should be at least 5 parts long.  This makes it worthwhile.  For one season, I suggest no more than 10 parts.

How do you come up with your ideas?

I honestly don’t know.  I get them from my experiences.  I’m inspired by TV, books, movies, and games.  Just imagine what YOU would want to read, and create that!

And that, my friends, was my guide for creating photo stories!  I hope you enjoyed, and I hope that this inspired/helped you guys!

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

If YOU have created a photo story/series using these tips, leave the link below, and i will totally check it out/follow you!

Have a great day!  Be sure to comment questions for my Solstice Children Q & A!

samantha

42 thoughts on “How To Make a Photo Story: Exclusive Tips and Tricks! HUGE GUIDE

  1. Samantha, I can not tell you how helpful this was! It was just so cool to learn about your process and I feel like I learned so much from this post. But, if I do create some photo stories, I have to write it out first. For me, that’s just easier.
    -Rose

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for this! 🙂 My doll blog has been on a tad of a sebatical and this inspired me to get back into it!! I’ve never been very good at photo stories now I feel confident I can.
    -Rose ❤

    Like

  3. WOW! (is that my thing now? i start every comment with a WOW these days idk XD) AAANYWYAAS. what great tips, Sam! I will be sure to use these for an upcoming stop motion (called Tour de Dollhouse if you must know) even tho these tips are specifically for photo stories I’m pretty sure a lot of them could apply to AGSMs. I’ll send you the link when it’s done!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I am hoping to talk to my friend today, I have 2 dolls (one with a very loose leg, she could be in a wheelchair) and one that is just fine!
        My friend had 3 dolls so that would probably be enough for something!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this was SO helpful!
    Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of places to take pictures. Any ideas?
    I ALWAYS write the story, then take the picture. That way, I know what pictures I should take. But I can see the upsides to doing it your way, too. What ever works for you, right?
    Thanks again for this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Hmm, I reccomend the backyard, but I’m fortunate to have one filled with flowers, and most people don’t have that. Front yards are pretty too! It’s also sooo fun to take pictures on the sidewalk and play around with the background of your neighborhood to make it look doll sized! 😀
      That’s cool you do you! Np!

      Like

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