Thursday, December 09, 2010

Keep with the Times

Hello Friends!   How is this blustery cold week making you feel?  For me it's all about the warm weather items such a gloves, mittens, scarves, cowls, Neckwarmers, and Wristlets.  Yes I know you think my life is a little excessive but there is a reason! 

That reason being that I have been very diligently (moreso then ever before) updating my Etsy website!  Usually I don't have the need of this but with the wonky Indian Summer we had here in Ohio I needed to unload my cold weather gear into the general masses. 

This has been a long lesson in Photography, lighting, photo editing and most importantly patience.  It is very awkward and uncomfortable for me who is in fiber and fashion to switch gears to a nearly alien art form of photography.  Don't make any misconceptions that there "simple" etsy photos are not using the same skills as any other trained photographer.  If I had better skills you know I wouldn't be spending so much time editing my photos.  Nearly all of them are too dark.  Then as I lighten the exposure I find some that are completely out of focus.  There is much sighing.

Here are a few of my amateur tips for taking your photos to display.

1. Use the MACRO function on your camera, doesn't matter if you aren't even that close you never know what details the camera might bring out in a stitch or detail or even mistake.  Yes, I said mistake.  The Macro has saved me from several potentially embarassing and angry comments by showing me that thread pulling or stitch that didn't quite get covered into the waistband as my meticulate 1/2" seam allowance told me it would.  Since I can see it then I can fix it, cutting off one less potential reason for a buyer to complain.

2. Lighting, good natural lighting or close to it.  I never use the Flash on my camera for product photos.  I find that it usually adds unseenly colors or makes the background look like crap.  If it's sunny I take it outside or by a window. 
Look how harsh and terrible it looks even after trying to do some touch ups. Then next to it is without flash and just some exposure lightness.

3.  Knowing your editing program.  I know a lot of people default with PhotoShop but all those bells and whistles can be overwhelming to the newbie or lazy person (like me).  It also takes up a lot of running memory on your computer while you are using so depending what else you are doing at the same time it could make everything run slower.  My current favorite to use right now is .  It is web based so it will be wherever you are, connects to facebook, flickr, picasa and other various photo dumping places you might use.  It is very simple to use with the Silder bars and explainations of each option

4. Set up- yep the set up is just as important if not one of the most important things to worry about when putting your items out there to sell.  Just like the window displays at the mall, the way your photo looks will determine the traffic to the rest of your inventory.  When you look at the photos on the Etsy front page they aren't always the greatest most exciting items but they are visually stunning in the photos.  Some of them are just a detail shot of that lace fringe to a skirt or Soap set up in a pretty victorian sink.  

If you can master these very few skills then you my friend are in a good place.  If you are still having troubles consider getting a better camera (borrow and test them from friends), taking a class at a local college or art school of digital photography (I know CCAD's Continuing Education has one), or if all else fails hire someone.

If hiring someone it doesn't have to break the bank,  you can simply put up an Ad with a local college or Art School to find a student to help hone their craft for a minimal fee or even as an intern to do it for you. 

These are the a few of the things I've learned since my journey with Etsy and the Craft Scene started about 3 years ago.  I'll be giving a few other tips and tricks that I've learned over the years in some up coming posts!  Good luck out there!

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