Amusing a 5 year old with a Barbie Fashion shoot
When you’re a portrait photographer who can’t photograph people and you have a 5 year old daughter who just wants to play Barbie all day there’s only one course of action : Barbie Fashion Shoot.
”Play Barbie with me Daddy, play Barbie with me Daddy, play Barbie with me Daddy…”
Does this sound familiar to anyone? I’ll be honest, I’m not really interested in playing Barbie. I’m a big fan of Lego and any arts and crafts I’ll fully embrace, but Barbie is not my thing.
My daughter on the other hand has a ridiculous large amount of Barbie clothes, props and accessories.
Sometimes she’ll quite happily play on her own creating various peculiar narratives that if I spend too much time contemplating I’ll probably more concerned with her mental state than perhaps I should be.
Most of the time however she requires my participation so I came up with the Barbie fashion shoot compromise.
Setting up the Barbie Fashion shoot
As a studio photographer I wanted to emulate something similar to what I’m used to.
That requires two things in addition to a camera and a model; a background and lighting.
The choice of lighting it up to you, this can easily be done with natural light but what’s important is being able to control the lighting. I opted for an LED video light as my main light source. It’s great to use as not only can you see what you’re doing but you can also change the colour of the lighting.
This can be used for many different creative effects.
Next up was the background. I used a coloured piece of paper taped to a shoe box. Simple is always best.
The whole setup sat nicely on my dinning room table.
I set the camera up on a tripod and put the LED light on a stand close to the background.
I used my Sony DSLR with a 85mm lens for the shoot. I chose this over using a phone as I wanted a better quality of image and it’s what I use in the studio anyway.
The Barbie fashion shoot
After my daughter decided which Barbie was wearing which outfit we began the shoot.
I started off with a couple of test shots to show my daughter how it looked. I also showed her how to change the lighting.
This was the point where she took over. Apart from changing the background and occasionally moving the light I wasn’t allowed to do anything else.
My daughter’s approach seemed to concentrate mostly on the hair. Each model not only had regular straight on shots but they also had profile and near head images taken. Once we looked at the images we decided these weren’t our favourites though.
Editing the Barbie Fashion Shoot
I did some very basic editing in Photoshop to enhance the colours and to crop the images. To be honest there wasn’t anything I did that couldn’t be done on any basic iPhone editing app.
We used Adobe Spark Post to create a montage of our favourite images and to add coloured backgrounds to the images.