Mumbled Snark: If You Want to Sell Stuff, Why Can’t I Tell What it Is?

An outfit I recently bought, though not on my doll.

An outfit I recently bought, though not on my doll.

Lately, I’ve been cruising Etsy for outfits. Because Eden is somewhat awkwardly sized compared to an American Girl – she’s a bit skinnier and a bit shorter than your average American Girl doll and so I try to find clothes that will fit and look good given her unique coloring. And sometimes I just buy things for Mari and Elyse because they deserve them too. And besides seeing a whole lot of GeneriDresses and pillowcase dresses and a bunch of horrible Native woo woo shit, I’m seeing a whole lot of really, really bad pictures. And there’s a few reasons that these pictures are bad and why these are things that just should not be done.

Lets talk about them, shall we?

1. Auto Focus is Your Friend

We've all talked about the folly of crocheted shoes before but what the hell is this even supposed to be?

We’ve all talked about the folly of crocheted shoes before but what the hell is this even supposed to be? Are we to look at the purple blobbies or the doily?

Okay, so, now that your eyes have recovered from that blurry situation there, lets talk about this.

If you are a craftster who’s focus is making little doll clothes to sell, it would probably help a lot if your pictures were clear. I don’t know that there’s a huge market for crocheted shoes, but you know. There might be someone looking for just that. and if they are looking for that, then they’d probably like to be able to tell what it is they’re buying.

Also, in the case of knit items, don’t stand them on a knit surface like a doily. Make your item stand out.

Making sure the pictures of the items you want to sell are clear and easy to discern is important if you want people to part with their hard-earned money to line your pockets with some of that green paper with dead presidents on it. Most digital cameras these days not only give you a few seconds to preview the picture, but you can press a button and go back and check and compare photos to see which one looks best before calling your job done.

If your picture looks like the one above, your job is not done.

Also, please take into consideration that there are people in this world who are photosensitive, and something that blurry could send them straight into a migraine or worse, a seizure. If you want to sell things to people, it’s probably better that you don’t cause them to have a grand mal while they’re browsing your shop, but maybe that’s just me.

An example of doin' it right

An example of doin’ it right

In the above example, we have “doin’ it right.” The picture is clear, you can easily see how the shoe fits on the doll’s foot, and what it looks like, and there are also some examples of the shoe without the doll’s foot in it so you can look easily at the construction of the shoe. The background is not textured and all in all, this is an example of what you should be striving for. I’d buy the shit out of these shoes if I had an outfit they’d go with.

2. The Right Doll for the Runway

Which doll you use to model your doll clothes is just as important as how you photograph them. The perfect lighting, nice simple backdrop and perfectly focused camera mean bupkiss if you put your outfit on a doll that doesn’t look good in it.

Now, I know. I know not everyone has more than one doll, and sadly, even people who do have more than one doll don’t necessarily have any dolls beyond the ever-present light skintone that pervades AG and Adjacent collections everywhere. But the fact of the matter is, there are just some colors that don’t look good on a doll with a light skintone. That’s where cheaper dolls come in. Springfield Collection, Positively Perfect Divah, even Madame Alexander and supposedly Our Generation (though I’ve never seen a black OG doll in my Target) all have reasonably priced dolls of color if you can’t shell out $122.95 after shipping to get an American Girl of Color to be your model.

I love orange, but it doesn't look good on Ruthie.

I love orange, but it doesn’t look good on Ruthie.

Orange is one of those colors that just does not look good on a light skinned doll. In the above picture, it washes Ruthie out and makes her skin take on a somewhat funny tone, which is not what you want your dress to do to your model if you want to sell the item in question. Yellow and orange are just not colors that should be on the paler girls, because those colors just wash them out.

Addy, on the other hand, glows in orange.

Addy, on the other hand, glows in orange.

But you take that same color and put it on a doll with darker skin? And you can watch that color go from “Oh… erm… that’s nice,” to “Ooooh, that’s nice!” If you mostly own light skinned dolls, make sure you test your color palettes to make sure they look good. If they don’t, get a cheap doll to cover what you lack, or see if a friend has a doll you can borrow. Or just don’t make the clothes. Your sales will thank you for it.

And finally… the thing that inspired this whole post.

3. Instagram Filters are for Selfies, Not Sales

Can you guys help me pick a filter?
I don’t know if I should go with XX Pro or Valencia
I wanna look tan
– The Chainsmokers, #SELFIE


Have a brief break from the complaining and enjoy the cast of Broadway’s Kinky Boots
celebrating one year on Broadway with some #SELFIE action!

I really didn’t think that this was going to be a thing that was even going to have to be said, but alas I spoke too soon.

If you have to ask yourself which filter to use, you need to just stop, step away from the Instagram or Photoshop Actions to Replicate Instagram and just go outside for a bit because no. No.

Just… what?

Is the shirt supposed to be white? Or cream? What shade of blue is that supposed to be? Why is it floating on a blurry thing, why can’t I just see what it looks like on the doll? These are just some of the questions. And this girl’s shop (which I won’t link) is just full of stuff like this.

Besides, again, being potentially harmful to photosensitive people, this is just ugly. I can’t even begin to want to buy that. When I have to have things that will hopefully look good on not only my two brown girls, but also my green girl and my soon-to-be Marie-Grace who is getting moddied out? I need to know colors will look good on them. I can’t make that decision based on an overly filtered picture with the body blurried out and greyscaled.

That's better

That’s better

Now see this? This is doing it right. Using natural light (or daylight bulbs) and if there’s any Photoshopping, it’s minimal. You can easily figure out the shades of pink used in the outfit and decide if it’s going to work for you and your girls.

Repeat after me one more time: I, [your name here], will never use an Instagram filter on a picture of doll clothes I am trying to sell.

Please, for the love of holey Swiss cheese, stop doing these things.

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3 thoughts on “Mumbled Snark: If You Want to Sell Stuff, Why Can’t I Tell What it Is?

  1. Good points, except the “no orange on white people”, which is a matter of personal preference. It’s great to have colours pop to the best of abilities but unless the outfit is the exact shade as the wearer’s skin there’s really no reason to get angry at someone’s choice of colours.

  2. AMEN! I almost hate perusing the handicrafts stuff just because the basic photography’s just shit-tacular. Of course my rant usually goes to poorly chosen backgrounds and “artistic” angles, but you hit it on the head…and I didn’t realize what a virus Instagram filters were becoming!

  3. Some of these photos left me speechless. My own pet peeve is sellers on eBay who take photos of AG dolls that are blurred or else so dark that your really can’t tell what kind of condition the doll is in.

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