Thursday, 18 February 2016


In my last entry I mentioned that I was taking part in the Etsy Resolution 2016.  I have to admit, I've been a bit slack keeping up with the webinars and online sessions, but I'm getting there!  The two sessions I've completed covered photography and SEO and with all the other informative links posted I found my mind was beginning to explode from too much reading, digesting and updating!

I managed to get more work and learning done over a 1/2 hour cuppa at a well known coffee shop than most days at home - becomes a little expensive though!

So, pushing SEO aside (I won't blog about that, it'll bore you stupid), I thought I'd talk about the photography side of things.

I imagine a vast majority of online sellers have issues with photography -  it's the a bug-bear of many (alongside correct pricing).  Lighting is most definitely an issue, especially during the Winter months, and then there's the sharpness of the picture and the good representation of the colours.

Along with the obvious (pictures in focus and relatively close up), a number of different shots can enable the potential buyer to get a good idea of the item they are interested in.  We have to remember that a potential buyer can't pick up the item and feel it, seeing it close up and at different angles by turning it in their hands or placing it against, say, an outfit (if it's jewellery).  They need to work out the sizing of the item too, even if we include measurements in the description, a visual idea of sizing goes a long way.  A number of different shots were suggested:

(1) a "studio" shot with plain background (not necessarily white, just one that means the focus is on the object itself).  I read elsewhere that a white background is good if you're hoping to attract the attention of magazines as these are the kind of photos they'll be looking for.  However, I've also seen that a stark white background is not always pleasing to the eye - a slightly grey tinge may be better (huge relief: I've often felt grey tinged backgrounds were personally easier for me to view).  To achieve a crisper studio shot, try using FotoFuze - it's very quick and easy to use and you can achieve a brilliant white, or grey tinge if you prefer it.

(2) a really close up shot so show the detail in your work.  I've had comments from customers saying that the item they'd bought was much more detailed than they realised, so for me to perfect the ability to get a good close up would be a bonus.

(3) a photo that'll give the impression of item size.  Quite easy for jewellery, but worth thinking about for all items.

(4) the lifestyle picture - so potential buyers can get an idea of their possible new item in an everyday setting.  A very good photo can actually push that potential buyer to become an actual buyer if you set the photo up to really sell your product (a trick of the mind perhaps).

With this knowledge under my belt, and a sunny day at my disposal, I decided to have a play with the camera and do a photo shoot for my new brooches.  I generally include a studio shot of front and back for my brooches, together with a packaging shot but thought I'd have a go at more natural setting.  Having read this helpful article on camera/photo techniques (although my ageing D70 doesn't seem to go down any further than f4.5), I ran off the following shots:

The background objects are blurred, as I wanted, but they are too tall and the coloured vase at the front is distracting - you don't "see" the brooch.

The positioning of the brooch is better, being closer to the background objects which remain blurred.  The bottle is still too tall in that your eye immediately goes to that first, rather than the brooch.  I liked the books, but wasn't sure if the floral notebook was too busy.

Still not happy.  OK, we've lost the tall bottle so the eye is at a better level, but the brooch is distanced from the background so it doesn't flow, your eye is more interested in the background than the foreground.

My final attempt (and the one I've used for my product).  Yes, the vase is tall but it seems to lead your eye down to the plant and then on to the brooch.  There's continuity between the green on the brooch and the green of the plant so there's less competition for the eye (does that make sense?).  I quite liked this photo, it seems peaceful and follows a natural theme to complement the nature depicted in the item.

Do you find it a challenge taking good shots for your products or is it something that comes naturally to you?  Would love to hear your views and any tips.


Handcrafted by Picto said...

I quite enjoy taking my product photo's, the only setting I tend to use is Auto.
I sometimes use a tripod, especially if I'm doing lots of products. I also like to do shots like you have done with things in the background. I usually set it up on the kitchen worktop and bring the camera down to the same level. If I don't use the tripod I use a folded up tea towel (or a small bean bag)for this. I love experimenting with different styles :)

Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

Thanks for commenting. I'm the same, I use my kitchen worktop as it's the brightest room (being a conservatory) and rely on my tripod to get a steady shot. Good to hear you enjoy the photography side ... I have to admit, I usually find it a bit of a drag!