Monthly Archives: October 2017

Photography Backgrounds Matter More Than You Might Think

Happy new week to you all!  The weeks are simply flying by; two and a half months til Christmas?!  What?  I’ve started making my Christmas ensembles, and thought it was too early.  Not really, is it?

Making things for Christmas means using lots of red.  My biggest gripe about red is that I will need to photograph it, and it’s hard to make red look nice.  Red looks nice against the Christmas tree, but that isn’t up yet.  The tree farm isn’t even open yet, and even if it were it is a little early!  But, anyway, this got me thinking, how can I simulate a Christmas tree background so that my photographs with red things look nice.

Here’s my basic backdrop setup.  I’ve been taking photos in my daughter’s room for the past couple of months.  There are two sets of windows facing south and east, so it is bright in the morning.  Before that, I was taking photos in our family room which is darker.  It didn’t seem to matter much which room I used.  (I use a tripod, so the shutter speed can be slow to adapt to changing light conditions, and I use the timer on my camera which eliminates any movement from my hand.)  The photos were dark even though the room was not.

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I got this backdrop support last Christmas.  I’ve been using it with a white sheet and have noticed that usually my doll ends up too dark for my liking.  My husband told me that the camera tries to average everything in the frame to an 18% grey.  Since the huge amount of white is so light, the camera wants to darken it, and so the doll gets darker too.   So, if the outfit is dark, it’s not good at all.  If the outfit is light, it isn’t too bad, but still a little dark.  Afterwards, I always have to lighten up my photos.

I decided to darken the background.  After pinning bright green napkins together and then using a piece of army green knit, both of which didn’t do much for me, I decided to order some one-yard pieces of green fabric to try and mimic a Christmas tree.

I ordered various shades and values of green.  I have tried four of them for this ensemble, photos below.

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You can see how the background changes how Gina and her red jumper look.  I like some fabric better than others, but they are ALL a major improvement.  I also think that different dolls/outfits will look better with different fabrics.  I’ll need to experiment for each one.

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Fabric #1

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Fabric #2

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Fabric #3

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Fabric #5

The lens I use is a 14-42 lens.  I know there are other lenses to get the job done better, but this is what I have for now.  This lens allows me to zoom in on the doll to get a narrower shot, otherwise I would need a much larger piece of fabric.  My f-stop is open as much as the lens allows (5.6) so that the background will blur.  If my lens opened up more (a smaller numbered f-stop) there would be even more blur happening.  The doll is usually about 4-5 feet away from the fabric, but this can change.

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The photo above is fabric #1, but the doll is closer than in the one above, so the background is less blurry.

I am constantly learning new things about photographing my dolls.  I am no expert… at all!!!  I just wanted to share with you what I’ve figured out about photographing reds.  For me, it’s mind blowing; all these years I’ve struggled.  Now, I am happily pulling out all of my red yarn and fabric.  Woo hoo!

If you have any questions, please ask away.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll ask the resident photography expert (to me, anyway), my husband.  He knows so much more than I do.

Wishing you all a great Monday and a great week ahead!  Bye for now!



New Knitting Pattern for the Little Darlings

Finally, after 4 sample/test knits this pattern is ready for you!  I am just a wee bit tired of knitting jumper pinafores at the moment, but I wanted to plough through and get this one to you for your autumn knitting pleasure. 🙂  I hope you enjoy knitting it.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that this design was inspired by a vintage   jumper I saw quite awhile ago on Pinterest.  I’ve no idea who the original designer was.  If anyone knows, please let me know.

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This pinafore is quite easy to knit with minimal shaping.  It’s knit flat with plackets for buttons and buttonholes on the back.  You’ll start at the bottom with a seed stitch border and go up.  Stockinette stitch is used for most of the skirt.  As you get to the fitted high waistband, you’ll make decorative decreases which look like soft gathers or pleats.

When the entire skirt is finished, stitches are picked up for the straps.  I don’t like picking up stitches, probably because I haven’t practiced enough, but these are a very small number to pick up, and they’re picked up along a straight edge.  It wasn’t hard at all, and I’ve included tips.  If you really don’t want to pick up stitches simply knit the straps then sew them on.

Working buttonholes are added to the straps and for the first three buttons.  The remainder of the buttons are sewn through both plackets, as they’re not needed for dressing.

The Little Darlings have sloped shoulders, and the straps are meant to fall right at the shoulder/arm joint, so the straps need a fabric blouse or t-shirt to “grip” onto.  I’ve used quilter’s cotton which works nicely.  If you have the top already made you can adjust the straps when you get to this point in the pattern.  The straps could be lengthened and criss crossed in the back too.

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The buttonholes are made with a yarn over.  These buttonholes are just a tiny bit larger than the ones on my sweater patterns.  Four millimeter beads will still work, but five millimeter beads or 1/4″ buttons are a better fit.  If you’re using the smaller size, making good thread shanks is important.

I’ve use Knit Picks fingering weight yarn for these three pinafores:  Stroll Tweed Sock in North Pole Heather, Palette in a blue heather, and Gloss in cranberry.  The gauges came out slightly different for each, but all three different yarns worked with the same pattern.

I wish all of you a wonderful day!  Thanks for visiting with me today. ❤