Tiny Props - Where to get them & how to use them.
Using props can make or break a photo. Too large or small and immediately the photo looks out of proportion, unless that it the look you're going for. Many people ask me where on earth I get these tiny things from for my photos, and my answer is, 'everywhere'! Anything that looks fashion-doll sized or smaller always captures my attention. I use new and vintage doll playsets, sometimes I make food from polymer clay, sometimes I find small cake toppers on market stalls. It takes a while to build up a collection to use, and I've been on the hunt for tiny things for over 15 years!
Ebay is a great place to start. Fashion dolls are usually 1:6 scale size and so I usually search for things that will fit this scale. Always ask the seller for dimensions if you're not sure, I have made that mistake many times! You'll find all sorts of tiny props in craft shops too. If you're making a Christmas scene tiny ornaments are ideal. I've found tiny fairy lights, Christmas presents, trees and decorations on crackers perfect for setting a scene. Have a good look around charity shops, craft fairs, stationery stores and art suppliers. Car boot sales have been fantastic too, you may pick up some amazing vintage doll-sized items for very little cash!
When you start to get a big collection, organise them into boxes. My boxes are usually sorted into rooms of a house, so if I need a kitchen scene I can find the props pretty quickly.
For really amazing tiny props, search for 'Re-Ment' online. This Japanese company makes some seriously cute stuff, often themed around a brand or a food theme. The entire sets can be quite pricey though, but you can find some good deals online. If you're lucky enough to go to Japan they sell huge Re-Ment ranges in stores and gift shops and the variety is incredible!
When using props, if you need a doll to hold something use double-sided tape or blu-tack. Practise seeing yourself holding something similar and try to recreate that post on your doll. Taking a photo from a certain angle often helps too, especially if the doll isn't very poseable. Using photo-editing software like Photoshop is really helpful too. I have had dolls holding props with wire and tiny clear elastic bands before and then had to airbrush them out. Sometimes a doll really won't hold anything unless the prop is almost cemented to her!
When adding props into a photo, sometimes less is more. The key is to practise and experiment. Take a whole range of photos adding and taking away props. Sometimes you'll find your photos are too cluttered or you need more to add interest.
But most of all, have fun searching for these tiny treasures and photographing them! They really are a joy to work with and the end result can look amazing!