Professional Product Photography

Have you ever tried to make an idea happen only to find yourself hitting your head against a brick wall? This is what happened to me in January of 2010 when I first started Rag Dolls Rising.

Having been a graphic artist for many years it was not difficult to come up with a logo and other identity graphics for my business, but I had one visual that became difficult to obtain, professional photographs of my dolls with kids. It seemed like it would be helpful for people to see the scale of the dolls in children’s  hands and would be a great marketing tool.

I called around locally, the photographers had the equipment but not the kids. I called modeling agencies, they had the kids but with a contract to hire them for a minimum of one day, plus make-up and wardrobe- yes, I am not joking, this was more of a commitment than I was ready for at the time. . .  so I kind of gave it up.

October 2013, I receive an email from photographer Jessica Fitzgerald. Jessica had seen my dolls on Etsy and felt they would make a good addition to her children’s photography props. When I looked at Jessica’s work I was instantly blow away. Her images of kids in the sunshine with earthy tones was exactly how I pictured my doll, in a perfect world; in the arms of a child running through fields of grass. A connection was made, I would supply Jessica, (DBA Adella Photography), with a doll in exchange for professional photos.  I absolutely love what she came up with, and how did she match the dolls dress to that wallpaper? I couldn’t be happier with the pictures that Jessica supplied to me.  Visit Jessica’s facebook page to see more of her wonderful photography.

Patience does pay off!

New Group of Cowgirl Rag Dolls always exciting!

First sketch ideas

First sketch ideas

I begin each new group of Rag Dolls in the same way, but it never gets old. The very first part is what I’m picturing in my head. When I’m out window shopping or just driving around, something like a fabric pattern or even the way someone is dressed will light the spark. While at the Christmas Goose, my favorite local fabric shop, I was picking up a small amount of fabric to finish off a custom order when a few paisley and plaid patterns crept into view.They were just screaming Cowgirl Rag Dolls!

Next I sit down with the fabrics, colored pencils and sketch pad. I like to keep each doll different but keep a cohesive group for three reasons.

  1. They look cohesive when displayed together on my Etsy store or on a craft fair shelf.
  2. Keeps thread color changes down to a minimum, so I’m spending more time on sewing and less on threading needles.
  3. It just feels “Zen” to have a common bond in the group.

Next is putting it all together, which could take from 1 to 2 weeks. Taking the pictures for my online store is always fun! We decided to take some inside and a few outside because the weather has been so nice, 110 wonderful degrees, (we love the desert)!

I let them choose where they would like to pose and of course they all wanted to have the Cholla Cactus in the background.

I warned them about the cactus, the “Jumping Cholla” called that because even lightly touched, it will release it’s sharp needles. Things were going along very well- when it happened…..Dixie slipped out of her doll stand into the Cholla……

Dixie posing near the cactus

Dixie, attacked by the cactus

Luckily I had a pair of tweezers standing by and Dixie was very brave about the whole thing, but after that we all agreed to moved to another location to finish up the photo shoot.

Featuring Kids and their Dolls or Dolls and their Kids

It’s such a thrill when someone sends a photo of their child holding their new Rag Doll… but backing up to the beginning… after the initial idea of what a new group of Rag Dolls are going to look like I pick out the fabrics, cut out the pieces and start the construction process. Working assembly line fashion, because after getting machines and tools set up to make a certain part, it only makes sense to assembly all dolls I’m working on up to that stage at once.

After the dolls are stuffed I slow way down. Each doll is an individual, the hair, face, clothing details develop as I realize their personalities. I’ve been asked how long it takes to make a doll which is very hard to answer, I just keep working out the details until it’s complete.

O.K., yes I admit it, I talk to the dolls, especially when I’m packing them up to ship them, I tell them I enjoyed making them and that they are going to a wonderful new home, and when I receive pictures like these… it just make it all worth it, thanks everyone for the photos!

Meet Mixed Media Artist, Michelle Nascimento

Mixed Media Artist, Michelle Nascimento

Mixed Media Artist, Michelle Nascimento

Michelle likes to call herself a mixed media artist who lives a life full of fantasy. Her Etsy store Misanthropycreations reflects her talent for bringing interesting pieces to life. Nothing in Michell’s shop is mass produced, each item is made with love and care.

Although Michelle was originally from New England, she now lives in South West Florida.

blog question 1

Antique Vintage Blue Flower Ring by Misanthropy Creations

Antique Vintage Blue Flower Ring by Misanthropy Creations

I’ve always crafted. I believe it started when my grandmother taught me how to crochet as a child. I always had an overwhelming feeling to keep my hands busy. I call myself a mixed media artist. I’m always trying to find uses for discarded house hold objects.
I find color inspirations from:
Under the sea.
In the sky.
Science fiction movies, television shows, books and magazines.I also find inspiration from crafts stores. I could spend hours upon hours just walking around and getting ideas while looking at the supplies and then purchasing them to follow those ideas through to completion. Love and friendship are also huge inspirations for me as well. It’s such a great feeling to give someone a gift that you made and see their face knowing that you made that item.

question 2

I have slowly dedicate my life to my craft. So I will tell you about how my work space has evolved! I first started off on my coffee table in my living room, to the kitchen table for a little bit more space and one book shelf for storage. Now I have an entire spare room of my home set up and organized. A work station, a shipping station and a computer desk. I have a storage closet and lots of shelving now! I love my little craft room/office. It is my happy place!

ques3

Eyeball Brass Ring,  by Misanthropy Creations

Eyeball Brass Ring, by Misanthropy Creations

I would have to say my eyeball rings. They were a huge seller this past Halloween and they are very popular all year round. I even had a customer buy two and used them for their wedding rings! I was super excited the day I received that email as you can imagine!

blog question 4

This is a really easy question and I think it is something that a lot of jewelry makers come across naturally. My biggest frustration is buying supplies that don’t work out. Neglecting to read descriptions because I was too tired and purchasing the wrong thing. As well as wanting to purchase all the supplies in your line of sight. I get so many ideas when I shop for supplies that I get easily discouraged and frustrated and I will have to come back to it because I literally want to buy everything I see and make everything all at once right there and then.
As for my biggest joy, that would be customer feedback. I love to hear that customers are happy with a product that I made with my own hands. It’s a huge compliment!

Question 5 of 10

Oatmeal Raisin. The reason being because I am a very sweet but also very down to earth, reasonable and logical.

tool

Neon Earrings, by Michelle

Neon Earrings, by Misanthropy Creations

My hands. I like to get right in there and get dirty! Sometimes you just need to put down all the tools and use your fingers instead. I’ve glued my fingers together by accident many times but it always pays off in the end. I hardly even use brushes when I do my eye make up, I always use my fingers! Like Honey Boo Boos momma says “Hands are your best utensils.” …Did I just say that?!

do

I don’t normally listen to music but I will usually have the X-Files or Fringe on TV as background noise unless my boyfriend is playing video games then I’m listening to that. Maybe I should listen to music more often!

could-you

I just learned about Ping O Matic the other day while researching. I am always trying to learn new things. I came across this on a blog.
pingomatic.com/
It helps drive more traffic to your blog posts and I thought that was really neat.

question 1

I’d say that chances are your not going to make it big in a day, a week or even a year. Don’t waste your time or resources if you aren’t serious and are not willing to put 110% in every day. I bust my butt everyday because it is what makes me truly happy and not because I think I am going to be a millionaire one day. If that’s your deal then you might want to research other hobby!

blog question7

Long Brass Bicycle Necklace by Misanthropy Creations

Long Brass Bicycle Necklace by Misanthropy Creations

My main shop is on Etsy.
www.misanthropycreations.etsy.com
But I also have a Storenvy:
mis_anthropy.storenvy.com/
You can also find me on the following networking sites…
Twitter:
twitter.com/#!/DIYartBlog
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003014817110
Stumble
www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/manthropy
Pinterest:
pinterest.com/diyblog/
We Heart It:
weheartit.com/misanthropycreations
Wanelo:
@misanthropycreations
Instagram:
@misanthropycreations

Background as Photo Prop

Textured background on doll photos

Textured background on doll photos

Sewing up a group of rag dolls is only the beginning. Next comes taking the photos so that I can upload them to my Etsy store.

There’s always been a controversy over using colored backgrounds behind your shop items or plain white. Of course white gives your store a uniform look, but it’s also a lost opportunity to express some personality, the background in your photo is really another prop.

The new Police Officers dolls just seemed to need something urban behind them. I began trolling  the internet for an urban brick pattern.  It wasn’t long before I found several sites that offered free high res. textures to download, here are a couple of my favorite ones, texturez.com and lostandtaken.com. , manipulating your photos within the computer editing program is also an option but much more time-consuming.

These are the steps I took to get those textures from the website to use as a prop in my photo set up:

1. Go to free texture web sites and download a high res texture to your computer.

2. Open the background texture in Adobe Elements, (or a photo editing program that can crop images to size), and crop to 11″ x 17″, I’m using 11″x17″ because that’s the size OfficeMax offers for full color copies on tag board.

Texture cropped in Elements

Texture cropped in Elements

3. Choose show guide lines, pull out a guide line, placing it at the halfway point vertically, and one for the horizontal, it’s now divided into fourths, which will give you a 22″ x 34″ background when assembled.

Background texture with guide lines

Background texture with guide lines

4. Save this image as texture-guides, so that you can come back to it. Now grab your crop tool and crop the upper left quarter of the image. Save this new image as upper-left.jpg and close it.

Cropping upper left corner

Cropping upper left corner

5. Open up the texture-guides file. Repeat the process cropping the upper right corner, than lower left and finally lower right. You now have 4 separate files to put on a disk or drive. Take to your nearest OfficeMax, Office Depot etc. for printing.

White strips trimmed off

White strips trimmed off

6. Trim the white borders off your prints and assemble them on cardboard or foam core, you’ve got a 22″ x 34″ texture for under five dollars.

Attaching each print with double stick tape to board

Attaching each print with double stick tape to board

There are so many different textures online, grunge, plastic, paper you could have a lot of fun and get creative!

Police Officer doll Rusty in front of a "brick wall"

Police Officer doll Rusty in front of a “brick wall”, whoops- going to work on making the seams seamless next time.

Showgirl Rag Doll Sandy’s Adventure

Sandy1-lr

This is the first of the new rag doll showgirls, Sandy. I thought you might like to know more about her.

Sandy was lucky to have a very talented mother who loved all things to do with dancing. Many mornings Sandy would wake up to the most beautiful music danceplaying on the giant record player in the middle of the living room. There would be her mother, gracefully floating across the oriental rug, spinning around in her ballet pointe shoes.

Sandy knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, and that was a dancer like her mom.

So began her many years of dance lessons which did eventually pay off.

As a young adult Sandy and her family moved to Las Vegas, which also payed off because Las Vegas is a great place for a dancer to live.

One day Sandy heard that the MGM Hotel , (at that time located where Bally’s is now on the strip),was holding auditions for their show, Jubilee!

She tried out and of course landed the part.Sandy5-lr

Sandy’s favorite part of the day is getting ready to go on stage, maybe someday you can see her show! If you can’t make it you can always see her in our Rag Dolls Rising Etsy store!