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June 01, 2012

Posing pretty

This is the very nearly last part of my "Making of a Rag Pet"-series. You can read the previous parts by clicking the "Making Of"-tag there on the right.
(I added a bit about ironing to the entry before this one that I plumb forgot when I was writing the post back then, just so you know.)

Once a Rag Pet's outfit is all finished and ironed and done, and I've gone over everything with a tape roller to remove the inevitable cat hair (BooBoo isn't allowed in the workroom, but her hair still makes its way there none the less) and stray bits of fluff, it's time to dig out my camera (an old Canon EOS 10D with a Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 lens, for those who are interested in such details) and take pictures!

I should probably start off by mentioning that I am by no means an expert when it comes to photography. I am self-taught and I'm still learning the ins and outs of it all through years of trial and error. So my way of taking photos might not be the best one possible, but it works well for me. :)
I use a lot of little tricks when setting up photos, like a doll stand to help Rag Pets stand in photos, pins to pin things into place, an empty loo roll to prop up a sitting Rag Pet in the light tent so they're not leaning directly on the backdrop making it go all wrinkly, and occasionally transparent nylon thread to stitch props or poses into place.

Posing pretty

I usually begin by taking a portrait, or "mood picture" as we knew them in school, of the Rag Pet, because it's the most fun bit to photograph and it helps tell the story of a Rag Pet, to establish their character. For these portrait shots I try to find the most fitting backdrop and props and things, like in the case of my example rag-cat, who is posed in front of my fabrics and sewing machine. I constantly keep my eyes open for possible shooting locations, and I usually plan out the portrait photo at the same time I'm drawing up the design sketch.

I'm ready for my close-up

In addition to the portraits, I also take more detailed photos of the Rag Pets in and out of their outfits. For this I set up my light tent, because it's nice to have a plain, uniform backdrop and come the darker months, an extra light or ten really doesn't go amiss!

And well, there you have it: a finished Rag Pet from idea to a dressed and photographed tangible soft toy! All that's left is to make an introductory post for the Rag Pet to share them with the world at large. Or in the case of my example rag-cat, all that's left to do is to pick a name and make an introductory post. And since I'm really not good at making up my mind, I've made a poll on the Rag Pet Facebook page, so you, my dear readers, can pick what example rag-cat will be called out of all the names you have suggested for her.


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Rag Pets by Eerika Valkonen

Eerika lives in Helsinki, Finland and makes Rag Pets. They're 100% handmade and filled with rags, love and personality.

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