Friday, September 19, 2008

Good photographs sell!

One of the keys to successful selling online is having a good photo of your item. Since your customer cannot touch and see your item in person, you need an accurate representation of it.

Please don't think I am an expert photographer by any means, but here is what I've learned in my one year journey on Etsy...all mistakes revealed!

When I first started selling on Etsy, my photographs stunk! Just to prove it to you, here is one. I took the photo inside in a homemade lightbox. Not that there's anything wrong with a homemade lightbox--I had the box, just not the light! I was using an incandescent lamp and my picture turned out dull with yellow undertones. I know you can fix things like this with fancy software, but I barely know how to use the program that came with my camera.

A kind soul suggested I try using outdoor light, so I gathered up a bundle of fabrics to use as backdrops and headed outside. I tried photographing in the sun, but the bright light tended to wash out my pictures. I waited for the sun to move and tried again in the shade. The lighting was a major improvement over my previous picture, but the wrinkles in the blanket are just plain distracting!!


My next attempt was taken outdoors again in indirect light, using a pillow for a rich, neutral background. That took care of the wrinkles, but then I had a new problem. My challenge here was trying to get a decent shot without the deck, garden, and dog running around in the background. I draped a piece of brown fleece over the chair to block the distractions. I was quite pleased with the results, given what I started with! However, my camera was having difficulty with the contrast between the dark brown backdrop and the pale foreground, giving my photo a greyish tint.


Another important discovery was the macro button on my camera. If you're taking close shots of your work and have this feature, use it!! It makes a huge difference in the clarity of your photos.
I used a piece of decorative paper for my background and tried different camera angles to avoid getting my patio table and the dog in the picture. I cropped out whatever I couldn't avoid.
After much experimentation, I discovered the perfect time of day for taking my pictures, which of course changes with the seasons, so it's a never-ending process!!


For those who are curious, here is a shot before cropping. See my lovely table and all the journals stacked in the cue, waiting to be photographed?!
For further information and tutorials, check out Etsy's storque articles on this subject. Here is one Etsy published that is helpful. http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/howTos/article/shop-makeover-series-photographing-for-success/913/

1 comment:

aprilsoriginals said...

I love this article in your Blog Beth! This is such a challenge for me because my bags can be so BIG it is difficult for me to get it all in a pic. Good tips thanks so much!

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