Tag Archives: photos

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!

 

 

“A Nostalgic Christmas”

Hello everyone, from snowy Illinois.  It snowed all day on Sunday!  We ended up breaking a record for getting this much snow during the first December snow (or something like that).  With even colder temperatures arriving, this white stuff will stick around for a while.  I’m not sure how I feel about that . . . so far so good though.  I’m surviving!

Yes, Alice is here again to show you something new.  Nelly’s dolls have a muted rosiness that I notice above their eyes; it’s kind of a vintage look.  The colors in this ensemble are perfect with her coloring, so she gets another chance.  I love how all the artists paint the Little Darlings a bit different.

I wanted to photograph my newest outfit this past Sunday.  I think I fussed around with the photos all day.  The Christmas tree seemed so busy and the color wasn’t as pretty as I wanted it to be.  Finally, my husband gave me some tips (he was probably tired of hearing me complain–lol).  He had me put a different lens on my camera, so I could stand back and zoom in on Alice.  I also put Alice farther from the tree and opened up my f-stop as much as I could.  The result was that I got a somewhat blurry tree with Alice all in focus.  My favorite photos were taken when it was around 4:00 in the afternoon!  It was quite dark in the room, but I had the tripod set up and Alice stayed as still as possible.

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This isn’t a typical Christmas print for a Christmas ensemble, but it kept calling to me to be made into one, so I did.  The colors in this ensemble are shades of mauve, a little deep red, warm pink, salmon.  They all go together beautifully because all the colors are neutral, nothing is bright.  I even added a little bit of plumminess with the organza ribbon used for the sash and present.

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The embroidered motifs, are all slightly different compositions, both on the sweater and cuddle cap.  I used four shades of floss to shade the roses.  Ecru colonial knot buds add a bit of bright and the perfect shade of green foliage ties the blossoms together.

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Alice’s sweater is knit with Peruvian Highland wool and her 1950s style cuddle cap is knit with a wool/angora blend.  Her scarf is knit with a lighter shade of mauve, also in Peruvian Highland wool.

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Isn’t Alice a beauty?  You can see how this ensemble compliments her coloring and personality perfectly.

Alice enjoyed watching the first snowfall too.  What a daydreamer she is!

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Alice’s “A Nostalgic Christmas” ensemble will be available tonight (December 6, 2016) at 7:00 pm CST, cindyricedesigns.com.

Some Info For Eye Candy Lovers

Do you love looking at photos for inspiration?  I know that I do.  The first thing that I usually do when I am thinking about a new outfit is to go back and look at past ensembles that I have made.

Did you know that you can also go back and look at my original sales page from each ensemble that I have made (starting from March 2014)?

This is how:

  1. Go to my website.
  2. Click on the tab at the top titled “Slideshows“.
  3. Click on the doll’s photo that you’d like to see photos for.
  4. On this page you will see one or more slideshows going on.  (If the slideshow moves too fast for you, you can click on the circles underneath each slideshow to move backwards and forwards within the slideshow.)  If your cursor arrow turns into a hand icon when it is on a certain photo, you can click and go to the original page from when that particular ensemble was for sale.  Remember that this feature is only available for my ensembles created starting from March 2014.

When I first started my website, I signed up for a one year contract because I wasn’t sure if I would like selling my outfits from a website.  Well, it has worked out, so last spring I renewed my contract for 5 years and I was able to get unlimited pages for my website.  What this means is that I can keep those original pages for viewing which makes me happy.

🙂 🙂 🙂

So, try it out, if you’d like.  I hope my photos inspire you today.

To get you started here’s a photo from a year ago.  If you click HERE, you will get taken to the original sales page on my website.

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