Product Photography is not so easy

Whilst there are many people who love photography and take it rather seriously, when I was younger I was more a “snap” person, taking photos to have memories of places visited and people seen with a cheap camera. To own a camera that took good quality pictures was definitely an investment when I was young and developing photos an expensive process. Nowadays nearly everyone has a much better camera than back then in their mobile phone and so sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Imgur are very popular for sharing photos.

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Starting up the Didi Lou Crafts business I suddenly realised I needed to get, at a bare minimum, reasonable at photography in order to display the Didi Lou Crafts products online. I looked for short courses locally and only found photography courses for landscapes or portraits, not for objects. An untapped market methinks, although I am not the person to offer it.

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I’m finding my photography is slowly improving, although I do still find some objects challenging. I tend to do a batch of photos and then check them on the computer and go back and take any extras necessary. Having a proper tripod has helped greatly to keep the camera still. I now use a light cube with white lights. The late afternoon sun in the front bedroom seems to be the best for product photos. I’ve tried the kitchen too, under the fluoro lights, but that isn’t as good. I still take some “snaps” on my mobile phone of places and people, and when I have a new item to launch at a craft fair I will often just take one or two photos before the fair and then take a full set later, but for products it is much more involved now.

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What I find particularly hard is photographing glass and china, because the light shines off it. I’ve found closing the curtains is best for painted glass and china, but sandblasted glass is even harder and a coloured background is necessary. I uess you could say I am still working on improving my technique for glass and china.

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I do make use of photo editing software to crop and resize photos. I will sometimes also rotate a photo slightly if necessary. Once in a while I find I need to brighten up a photo, but it is not something I have to do regularly. I have started cleaning up the background on one photo for my “primary” image on Etsy and I think it has made a difference for my sales. All I do is manually paint the whole background pure white using Paint.NET. You can see the difference with the boat below, it is exactly the same photo, just the background is changed in the second one.

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This card and the mug and jar shown above are all available on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy Shop here

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More items to post to Etsy… How I do it!

I have posted more completed items here on the Products page of this website today. That’s another eight items.

So when these are posted to Etsy, that will be a total of 33 items for Didi Lou Crafts, found by going to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts, having posted 3 additional cards to Etsy late Wednesday.

floral sandblasted vaseMy favourites in this batch are the sand blasted vase and the two hand painted silk ties. Also included are some tea light holders and some upcycled gift bags. These are hot off the press, having been photographed only a few hours ago.

The process from photography through to listing on Etsy is actually quite drawn out. First I load the photos from the camera to the computer and check them, sometimesautumnal silk tie needing to go back and get additional shots. I then choose the best 3-5 photos of each item, deleting the rest. The remaining photos are then cropped, but they have to be cropped either square or in landscape orientation, portrait is not suitable on Etsy. I then resize them to be 1000 pixels wide.

Next I choose 1 photo for the website, making a copy of it resized to be 200 pixels wide. Both copies of that photo can then be loaded here and I can update the product page here, coming up with a suitable name for the item.

oceanic silk tieBut the processing getting ready for Etsy continues. The items each need to be weighed and measured to work out the postage and start writing the description. The description also includes putting the item in the right categories and adding appropriate tag words and components to get picked up in searches. I also double check my initial cost estimate and readjust the price if necessary as I load the photos on Etsy. Only then can it be made active on Etsy for sale.

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First Photos

bunny flower cardThe first photos of products are now taken, edited, resized and uploaded. It took some work to get them to an acceptable level: managing the light levels, including an item for relative size, the best background, the proper orientation and the correct size for uploading. I’ve taken nearly 200 photos so far, so have a pile of editing to do now. I will upload a batch to the website in the coming days, but here is a sneak preview of two items.

Launch of Didi Lou Crafts is only days away.

lamb box

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Busy as a spring bee

canon_powershot_a2600_silverA new camera for Didi Lou Crafts arrived last weekend, ready to start photographing products as they are completed. I’ve played with it a little, but need to practice some more and sort out things like lighting and backgrounds. I’ve also started some of the administration side: the accounts.

This last week has been used doing a batch of silk painting. The silk paints have now been packed away for a few weeks, replaced by the sandpaper and acrylic paints for some wooden and paper mache items. It seems unlikely the launch will be possible before Valentine’s Day, so the focus is further ahead, for Mothering Sunday in March and then Easter in April. I’ve been painting lambs, chicks, daffodils, grape hyacinths and lilies, despite the fact that it is still the middle of winter and even the snowdrops are unlikely to be out yet. I guess I will always be working a season ahead.

 

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