Saturday, June 28, 2008

Photographing For Etsy Part 1

I know I have only been here for a very short period of time but I have come to a realization. Maybe its because I consider myself a photographer but I really believe that EVERY ETSIAN NEEDS TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER! There I said it well YELLED it in Etsy terms. I know that this is somewhat a somewhat intimidating statement for most of you but dont be intimidated. I am going to walk you through what I know in a weekly series of blogs.

Lets start with the reasoning behind my statement. Lets say you shop at a Brick and Mortar (B&M) Store or store in the real world. When you go to purchase something you are able to use all five of your senses. You can see and feel the quality and texture. You can smell the scents or taste the flavors. All of these things play in your desire or willingness to purchase something. If something feels or looks cheap your less likely to spend your money on that item. If something smells like skunk or tastes like spoiled milk are you going to buy it? We rely on our senses every time we make a purchase.

Now lets look at our stores on Etsy. Etsy and online shopping as a whole is an entirely different world. On Etsy you cant smell or feel the Ginger, lavender, goats milk beauty bar (not sure if this is a real item or not but you know what I am saying)to see what the quality is. So how do we know what the quality is? Thats right the photography. In Etsy world we rely solely on our site to judge that quality. Thats why EVERY ETSIAN NEEDS TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER!

Lets look at some of the most common mistakes in Etsy photography. We will start with one of the most common mistakes I see and one of my biggest pet peeves. That would be not using a tripod. EVERY ETSY SHOP NEEDS TO OWN A TRIPOD. Of course owning the tripod is only half of the battle. Once you own a tripod YOU NEED TO USE THE TRIPOD. Tripods are essential when photographing smaller items like soaps and jewelry indoors or any other low light situation. Hand held pictures in low light situations will result in whats called camera shake. You have all seen it from time to time.

The picture above is an example of an image suffering from camera shake.

Now lets talk about how to fix the camera shake problem. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the best lighting possible. Natural light is great which is why many people photograph their items outdoors. However for many of us running outside every time you want to photograph one of your items is not reasonable. The answer to this problem has been discussed quite a bit. Its what is called a light box. You can see a picture of my set up below. Light boxes help photographers take great product pictures. Light boxes or light tents as some will call them also come in all different shapes and sizes. They are great tools for shooting products. Remember up above how I said OWN A TRIPOD and USE THE TRIPOD now is when that comes into play. Get your light box set up as well as your tripod and camera. My last tip for this blog is USE YOUR CAMERAS SELF TIMER OR REMOTE SHTTER RELEASE. The reason for this is to remove the possibility of camera shake from pussing the release button.

Here is my set up with my light box camera and tripod.

And here is the results.

As I said at the beginning of this blog this is the first of what will be many blogs about Photography for Etsy. I hope you all will come back and visit my blog again next week.

Check out my Etsy store

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade


beadinbythesea said...

Very helpful article! It took me about 1 week to come to that realization too. I'm sure your blog will help many people improve their photography skills. I just dragged my tripod out today!

BeadNestDesigns said...

Excellent observations and very helpful insight! For me, it has taken what seems like forever to get "decent" photographs and I can still improve! I can't wait to read your other articles! Thanks!

Laura Bartlett said...

You're so right bout the tripod. I've seen so many pics that looked like the photographer was just waving the camera at their piece.

I'm slowly learning and I truly love my light tent.

Anonymous said...

I never use my tripod...I do use the light tent though...and macro setting.

Anonymous said...

Apparently I have fashioned a "professional" light box: it looks exactly like yours!
So, would placing the camera atop a pile of books work as well as a little tripod?
Our tripod is huge and I don't think it can be made that short. I am photo'ing handbags, and so far i need to go back to school on digital camera settings (yukky first results). Thank you for this blog! And my DH won't let me bare with you! SusanDesigns

Mike said...

Anonymous said...

And my DH won't let me bare with you! SusanDesigns

Well he is just no fun at all. To everyone thanks for the great feedback. Next week I will do something on White Balance.

jenscloset said...

This is going to be my new favorite blog! thank you so much, I'm passing this on to my daughter, who also has a shop on etsy!

cindy said...

thanks for the advice. I need help with my photography skills, or lack of. I'll be back to your blog!

Daisy Mae Designs said...

Great post!

Tami said...

Mike, your tutorial is perfect! Thank you for the help, and I can't wait to update my picts using your techniques. And thanks for featuring my store!

Ronalyn said...

Great blog! I'm adding you to "My favorite bloggers" on my blog, A World of Creativity.