Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photo Tips on a Budget Revisited

Here are links to some great photo tips. elgarbo Etsy Forum Etsy Seller Merriweather Council
Artfire has a Photography guide But I think you can find better tips.

I have a few tips to add.

Your photography should be front page worthy. There should be enough contrast between setting and product to distinguish between them. Not necessarily a white or black backdrop. It can be something with character, a vintage table top, an old love letter, a slab of stone or wood. See Examples of Good Photography. Most sites display a square format, but Etsy for example uses a rectangle for Treasuries. Set up your picture so that the focus is within a center square. You can also do this with editing later. I will explain further in my next post. 

Star of the East                                         Shiny Adornments                                            Beau Monde

My first tip is don't do it yourself. What? Yes really! If you are not a pro, you can often get a student or fledgling photographer to take pictures for the exposure. Try local schools or listing on craigslist. You can find photographers and models (clothing, jewelry) at modelmayhem. Many will work for free or for product.

Second tip, if you must do it yourself - LIGHTING! Indirect, natural light is best. Don't use your camera's flash, It will create an artificial, 2 dimensional look and wash out your product. Best light is outside on a cloudy day or by a window. White Transparent film on the window helps to filter strong light. Another option is Halogen shop lights. I have seen some wonderful pictures taken with them. You will need two to distribute the light source. They can be pretty inexpensive. Make sure you keep an eye on them while working as they can get pretty hot.

You can also make a light box for jewelry and smaller items, like this one at wikiHow

Now that you have your layout and your light. What do you do with your camera? You can get decent pictures with just about any digital camera as long as the light and setup is good. MY digital camera was bought on eBay for $120, was $400 new. It is wonderful for the price.

Take time to play a little with the photography to get the right settings for your camera. You get better pictures if you can use your manual settings but, you can easily get good pictures with automatic settings too. Make sure your camera is set for the proper distance. A good trick for getting a bit of depth of field out of a less expensive camera is to focus on your merchandise, (this will usually be in the center of your item), move your camera so the focus is on the closest part of the item, then shoot. Take a lot of pictures, you will never be wasting time if your merchandise sells.

Get a good picture and then on to photo editing. If your pictures are not perfect this is where they can be touched up. Tips on next weeks post!


Star of the East said...

Photography is indeed very important when selling online!
Thanks so much for showing our piece as example!

Jane said...

This is the next area that I'm working on for my shop. I met a young photographer yesterday so I'm hoping she can help! Great tips!

vintage eye said...

Fabulous ideas! Expensive cameras are great but we can't all afford them so resources like this are so helpful! You are the bomb, Crusty! :)

Anonymous said...

I like the idea about transparent film on the window. I've found one good spot in my house but when the sun is strong it's too much.

Cthings said...

I agree that does make a difference on selling with great pics. I'm still working on that! Thanks for the tips!

Rough Magic Creations said...

Fabulous tips, Cinders! Thanks for posting this. I think photos are the bane of many a seller's existence, including mine, so this really helps. Looking forward to next week! :D

Marie-Hélène said...

great blog post! you take awesome photos!

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