Taking Good Photos for Appraisals

Desired Photos

The following list gives you an idea of the types of photos I will need to do a good online appraisal.  The photos should be done with a plain background such as a light colored wall or light colored sheet or towel.  If the doll has an outfit that is sewn on you do not need to remove it for the photos.  In this case if possible a picture of the lower body with the underwear removed would be useful.  On some dolls the outfit will be fragile and may be starting to split or come to pieces.  In this case you should not try to remove it for the pictures. 

When taking close-ups you do not need to fill the screen with the item.  If you do many cameras will not be able to correctly focus.  Take a picture with the item to be photographed filling 1/2 or less of the screen.  Upload or otherwise view the photo to see if all the detail of the object can be seen. Be sure to zoom in on the picture to check you can see details.  If the details are not clear take another picture a little further away from the item and check to see if it is clear.  Keep doing this till you have a photo where the object can be clearly seen.

The following list covers the photos I will typically need to do a thorough appraisal of your doll.  

  • Full front view with clothes (if any)
  • Full back view with clothes (if any)
  • Close-up of the face (try to pull back the hair or remove the wig if it can be safely removed)
  • Close-up of the back of the head showing marks. (pull back the hair or remove the wig if can be safely removed)
  • Full front view without clothes (If the clothes can be removed safely)
  • Close-up of the hands and feet (Remove shoes and socks if they can be safely removed)
  • If there are additional sets of clothing include picture of each outfit laid out on a light background
  • Close-up of the shoes
  • On bisque head dolls a close-up of the inside of the head (If the wig can be safely removed)
  • Close-ups of any damaged areas or repairs

Photo Size

When you take a photo with most digital cameras or cell phones the resulting image is usually of the highest possible resolution for the device taking the photo.  The resulting file the photo is stored in will be larger than is needed to easily upload.  Once you have the photos on your computer or phone you should try to crop them to contain just the relevant portions of the doll and to compress them to a smaller size for ease of uploading. On a computer a file size of 200 K to 500 K bytes for each picture is usually sufficient for a successful appraisal. Mega byte or larger image files slow down form processing and usually do not provide any more detail of the doll.

Please note that there's a 20 MB limit for the total size of all the files you upload and a 5 MB limit per individual file. By default many smart phones can save image files in the 2-3 MB in size so it is easy to exceed these limits if you don't do some editing of the files before you submit them. It is good to check the size of all the photos before you start to fill out the form.

Sending Photos

Normally photos are uploaded as part of the appraisal request form.  If additional photos are needed the best way to get the photos to me is to attach them to an Email.  Be sure to crop and compress the photos to make attaching them easier.  Zipping the photos into a zip file does not result in a significant savings in the size of the files. Most mail tools limit the size of attachments so you may need to send multiple Emails to get all the photos to me.  

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