Friday, June 19, 2009

Photography and online selling

Online selling is mostly about effective photography. How else will someone realize they are hopelessly in love with your handmade item when they can't fondle it in person?

I have no groundbreaking photography tips. And I can't recommend a fancy camera. I use a Kodak Easyshare which is an automatic point-and-shoot, I like it fine. OK, here are all the same things everyone else will tell you:

Don't use a flash.

Try to use natural light. The best is indirect sunlight on a windowsill in the afternoon, maybe filtered through gauzy white fabric or tracing paper to cut harsh shadows.

The most important thing you need to take clear product shots is the Macro feature, the symbol for which is this Tulip.

A tripod helps too.

And try to think of what would make a pretty picture more than just showing the product, this is the hardest thing for me. You will of course want some straight up product shots but maybe the first pic can be the eye catcher. The one with that ineffable feeling.

That's all I got. Because everything after that is how well you can use photo editing software. I almost never put a pic online without tweaking it somehow. Often the pics are dark straight out of the camera so I lighten them. Sometimes the color is off so I correct that. Etsy likes square pics so I crop.

I use Photoshop, which is NOT intuitive. I have been using it for years and still only know about twenty things I can do on it. I understand GIMP photo editing software is free and people recommend it, I've never tried it.

Here's an example with my new cupcake pincushion listing in my 1000 Markets shop:

Straight out of the camera:

My pictures have been an evolution. I am always learning new Photoshop tricks and thinking of new ways to make my product shots stand out. But you have to start somewhere so don't let your lack of photo skillz stop you from just getting started. You can replace images as you improve. That's what I do. For example, I just replaced a product shot for the Farmstand Bouquet cards I made from my mom's amazing watercolor.

Old pic:

New Pic:
I keep trying to do my mom's gorgeous illustrations justice! Every little photography improvement keeps me interested in working on building a better online shop.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everything Upside Down

So there was some water damage in our condo. We are on the top floor and over the years the roof has leaked around the windows and such. Now that the roof has been replaced, the work can begin to paint and patch the damaged spots.

Dell and I had been somewhat dreading this moment, our small condo is crammed with the beloved artifacts of our ten years here. Even with half my stuff crammed into my studio we still have some pack-ratting issues in the apartment we don't much care to correct.

Though I cringed at the invasion of the workmen in my personal space, and hated the idea of being confronted with the evidence of my storage dysfunction by having to pull the bags of stuff out from under furniture where previously it had been hidden enough to allow me the illusion of normalcy I craved, I decided, since I had no choice, to embrace the event. To take it as a learning moment, to embrace the chaos and perhaps use the upheaval to make changes. Or at least to dust :)

The painters themselves are smaller guys and very neat and very quiet, this works well for our tight-like-a-ship quarters. They are also used to working in occupied spaces. After two days of being home while they worked in the other room, I can say I am very pleased with their methods. And our living room looks so much nicer without that hole in the ceiling!

Chester camped out in the bedroom with me while the guys worked in the living room. He knows how to take care of himself.

Did I learn a valuable adult-after-school-special lesson about change being a catalyst for growth? Not really, but neither did I fall apart like I feared. And when the work is all over and it's time to stash everything back where it was? It's possible I won't.