Newborn Safety: DIY Posing Doll

Through all of the recent (and not so recent) drama in our industry over newborn safety, there are two sides to every debate.

More seasoned photographers raise the very valid point that certain poses should not be performed prior to having certain knowledge or experience…and that ‘practicing’ on fragile infants isn’t the greatest of ideas either. That is inevitably always matched with, “How do I gain experience and knowledge without practicing on the very subjects I intend to work with”.

One thing that many of us do is practice with dolls. I’ve never been able to find a newborn posing doll, in fact, I don’t even know if such a thing exists.  The alternative, of course, is just to use a regular doll.  Finding a suitable one can be tricky, and to be honest I’ve never had much luck…..until today. I thought I could do a quick tutorial on how I modified an average doll into something a little more realistic.

When I’m on the hunt for a good practice doll, there are a few things I look for:

  • glass or shiny eyes (not needed for posing, but most helpful when working on your lighting setups)
  • soft body and limbs, preferably with seams for joints (meaning, they don’t rotate, but flop)
  • size (yes size matters!)
  • makes noise (more on this shortly!)

Today’s find, ‘Sneezing Baby’ by the Lisso Doll Company……(she is 18″ long and has a 15″ circumference head…..maybe she was a few weeks early!)

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The reason I look for a doll that makes noise is simply because the noisemaker (highly technical term!) usually means an opening in the doll’s back. I was pleasantly surprised to find that “Sneezing Baby’ not only had an opening, but also an inner pouch with a drawstring.  pinimage

One quick snip removed the noisemaker, and the stuffing was quickly removed as well.

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The next step was to simply replace all of that light stuffing with something weighted, and poseable. Any guesses?

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Polly the Poser (aka the toy formally known as ‘Sneezing Baby’) isn’t perfect. I really wish her head turned, and if I could sew worth a lick I would replace the stuffing in the arms and legs too. As an afterthought, a beanbag type doll would have saved me the risky rice transplant 😉 ….ah well, another day, another doll.

And there you have it. Nothing earthshattering, but if it helps one photographer,  it was worth my time. ♥

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