Product Photography: Rident Custom Bags

When Rachel of Rident Custom Bags decided to open an Etsy shop, she knew she wanted to hire a photographer to take her product photos. She had seen my work with Pansy Maiden and she asked if I would work with her. Of course I said yes so we got together in the studio to get some shots!

Rachel wanted nice, clean shots of her bags, as well as some close-ups and details. We did a few with her holding them too to show the scale/sizes.

Her Etsy shop was launched at the beginning of this year and she also did a trunk show at Gather Here in Cambridge and was featured on their blog. Good luck Rachel, your bags are sweet!

2011 Desk Calendars...

...are now available in my Etsy shop! I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited about these babies. Much like last year's calendar, this one was a labor of love and I think it really reflects the work I've been doing lately.
It's never too early to start thinking about the holiday season and this calendar makes a great gift! I will be selling them online and in the local shows I'm participating in this fall (click here for a full schedule).

Musical Monday

Today I will be listing a bunch of prints from my Musical Notes series I began last spring. I've played the piano since age 9 and I wanted to portray the intimacy musicians feel with the instruments they play. The photos are sepia-toned close-ups of musical instruments (piano, trumpet, flute, guitar, violin), all taken at the North End Music and Performing Arts Center .

These prints and more are now available in my Etsy shop. All prints come matted and sealed in a plastic sleeve for protection. If you have any questions regarding pricing, available print sizes, etc, please let me know!

Christmas in July Sale on Etsy

I have never participated in an online sale before (at least not one where I was the seller not the buyer!) but it's never too late to start. From today until July 25, I will be having a FREE SHIPPING offer as part of a "Christmas in July" sale event happening on Etsy.

There are a bunch of other Etsy sellers participating in Christmas in July as well; to find us just type in "christmasinjuly" or "cij" in the search box on Etsy and they will show up. Happy shopping!

Happy Birthday Etsy

Tomorrow Etsy turns five! It amazes me that I still get the cocked-head-blank-stare-utter-confusion look when I mention Etsy sometimes so for those who fall into that category here's the Etsy scoop:

"Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.

Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:

Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."

Awesome! So to celebrate the first five years, Etsy has decided to throw a worldwide party! Using, Etsy parties all over the globe will be happening tomorrow evening. To find a party near you, visit the website: I will be at the party in Davis Square at Diesel Cafe organized by the guys from Bazaar Bizarre which starts at 6:00pm. I also donated a print (below) for one of the giveaway prizes. They have a ton of cool stuff planned, definitely visit the website for more details. Maybe I will see you there!

Boston Skyline Print, available in my Supermarket shop

Photo Tip Tuesday: Prepping Pictures to Post Online

Say that three times fast!

I talked about this a bit in my last Photo Tip Tuesday regarding contrast but for this week I decided to show exactly what I do to a picture before posting it on Etsy. I usually use Photoshop but today I am using Microsoft Office Picture Manager which I think most PC users have on their computers.

So here is the picture I'm working with. Even though it looked pretty good when I was taking it (using natural light), now it's obvious that it's too dark and could use some cropping since there appears to be an unwanted object in the frame in the left.

Let's start with the cropping- what you'll want to do it simply click "Edit Pictures" in the tool bar then click "Crop." This will show you small lines along the edges of your picture; just grab one of those edges and pull it in (from the top, sides and/or corners) until you like the composition of the picture. Click "ok." That left me with this:

Still needs some brightness. I first clicked "Auto Correct" just to see what it gave me which was this:

Too dark for my taste. So I hit "Edit Pictures" again and then "Brightness and Contrast" on the left-hand side. This is when you get to play around. I like adjusting the midtones since it's a bit more subtle then changing the overall brightness. I slid the midtones up to 60 which looked much brighter but still washed out. That was easily fixed with a slight contrast raise (up to 10). This is the final result:

Like I said before, some people prefer brighter photos, some with more or less contrast, etc. Also everyone's monitor calibrations are configured differently. Just play around and see what works for you. Also, to prep it for posting to my Etsy site, I also had to resize the image which you can also do in the "Edit Picture" mode under "Resize." Good luck!

New Items, Mini Note Cards

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend; it was gorgeous here in Boston and everyone in the city was outside appreciating the weather it seemed. I spent an exciting Saturday night crafting up a storm, something I haven't done in a long time, and it was GREAT. I'll be listing the items in my Etsy shop all week but here is a little preview-

"Morning Coffee" mini note cards (3x3")
Envelopes included!

Ghana Bound

I have a very good childhood friend, Kelly, who got a job straight out of grad school in Accra, Ghana. When she accepted the position, I promised I'd visit at some point. A year and a half later I am on my way! I'll be leaving March 17 for about 11 days and I can't wait.

To celebrate me finally sending out my visa application, I have put together some cool West Africa-inspired work I found on Etsy-

Handpulled screenprint, "Accra" by breeree

Mixed-Media Collage, "Melody Men, Fishing in Ghana" by JuliaBlaukopf

Photograph, "White Dress" by efia

This is a JHill Design "Places I Have Never Been" print that I will be purchasing it as a hostess present for Kelly since she used to live in Sierra Leone and I know she'll love it. Plus 25% of the print's sales are being donated to the Salone children’s health charity, The Welbodi Partnership, so how awesome is that?

Cooperation Makes It Happen

Last year I started making my own coasters using ceramic tiles. I loved doing it but never really felt like my waterproofing technique was 100%. I think sometimes it was but sometimes it wasn't and I couldn't really figure out where I was going wrong. Right when I decided to halt production and go back to the drawing board, two things happened- I started collaborating with Boston Coasters and shortly after was contacted by Bill of House of Six Cats about another opportunity.

Bill is the leader of the Photographers of Etsy team and he came up with a great idea- he takes an image submitted by anyone on the team and puts it on ceramic tile coasters. Since he had perfected his coaster-making method already, he thought it would be a fun collaboration and a good way to promote the team.

So far he has 36 coaster sets listed under "Etsy ARTISTS Coasters" in his shop and they are just beautiful. I submitted two designs and love what he's done with them. All of the sets are $20 (a steal if you ask me) and include free shipping. Check them out! Links below:

House of Six Cats Shop
Etsy Artists Coaster Sets
Photographers of Etsy Blog

Soggy (but Winning) Sox

So last Saturday, despite the awful weather, my friend Naomi and I ventured to Fenway Park for the Sox vs Rays game. They delayed the game for two hours, even though it wasn't even raining at the time, which was ok because it gave us a chance to have dinner (Italian sausages and beer) and have a nice chat. The game finally started at 9:15, a mere two hours before the rains finally DID come! Annoying (because they could've probably gotten a full game in there had they started on time) but ultimately ok because when they called the game in the 6th inning we were winning 9-1. Whew!

photograph of red sox fenway park in boston massachusetts during a rain delay baseball sportsHere's a pic I took when the heavens did open up. It was actually very pretty to watch from our covered seats.

red sox retired numbers at fenway park in boston massachusettsThis is another one I got while we were wandering around during the delay. They are the retired numbers of Red Sox greats (from left): Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, and Jackie Robinson (league retired number).

"Retired Numbers" is available as a print in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Friday!

My coworkers and I decided earlier this week that we were going to eat lunch outside on Friday and even though it is about 10 degrees colder than we'd anticipated, by gosh we're gonna do it! This is the funny time of year when people around here insist on putting away their winter coats and start wearing flip flops purely because we think we SHOULD be able to even though it is still pretty damn cold out there. *Sigh.*

On an unrelated note, here are some new illustrations inspired by dramatic female poses:

"Flamenco Dancer"
Inspired by an amazing flamenco dancer I saw in Sevilla, Spain.

"Blue Angel"
Inspired by Marlene Dietrich in the 1930 movie Blue Angel.

Trying new things

I have been really interested in the concept of bookmaking recently. I love the idea of creating a notebook or journal by hand and using my own design as the cover. With the help of a tutorial on Photojojo, I made my first notebook using an image I thought would work perfectly-

I was happy with the outcome but still looking into getting them professionally printed. I love the "handmadeness" of these ones but I still need to test them to see how the hold up. So far so good!