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Tips for new crafters Part II

In my blog 'Tips for new crafters Part I I discussed ideas on how to start out, initial goals, presentation and creating a unique brand and identity. One of the most important things is to be able to take a good photograph. It is absolutely critical to ensure your crafted item looks spectacular and a few key points to remember are:

Take at least 10 pictures of the item from all sides.

  1. Include a picture of the item in use in a simple, neutral setting

  2. Use something universally recognised as a size comparison, avoid plastic rulers and tape measures, (I used lawn daisies on the grass for my stones!). Instead make your own pretty or unique ruler from decorative paper or card, or even print your logo onto card

  3. Avoid clutter in the photographs. I have always said you don't need a photo prop as they distract from the item. A great item will sell itself

  4. Ensure the colours are true. Every digital device will show colours slightly differently so it is important they are as near true as possible and the surrounding backdrop will create different lighting effects.

  5. Shiny objects are a nightmare as they reflect the light source causing blind spots. The trick is to position the item, light and camera so the light reflection is not in the photograph.

  6. Remember all photographs can be zoomed in on so any faults will show up!

A Critical analysis of photographed Stuff

These photographs have all been used in my Etsy shop from 2018 to 2022. There is a clear development from the ones on the left to the current ones on the right. Here are the problems with each of the first two photos and why I am currently using the third

Left: Washed out colour and dull. I bought a set of studio lights for when there is no natural light

Middle: Too 'warm' (golden glow). The colours are quite accurate and I LOVE the crate backdrop

Right: Mathematically proportioned so the card is dead centre and a true square (taken from a slight angle will cause a square item to become an odd shape. Taken directly over the centre of the item will keep it square). The wooden shelf lines up with the in focus tatty edge of the card making the photograph extremely simple and easy on the eye without resorting to using plain white. The dark shelf and light grey wallpaper backdrop help to balance the light so the colours are virtually 100% true. I have also started adding type to the photos. This lets repeat customers know that there are some new options and in a category of high competition you could state a unique feature about your item. .

Left: Very poor composition. Although this is a clear photo it is not creative and it's off centre.

Middle: Washed out and too 'cold'. Whilst it is a well composed photo there is too much white in it

Right: It is quite hard to take a good photograph of a long, slim item if you use a square aspect like I do. By laying long items in a group with a blurred background you can actually use the item as your backdrop (middle photo). Corner to corner allows for more of the item to be shown. With the warm glow the colours are far more accurate and create the rustic look the item represents.

Left: Uncreative and 'cold': The backdrop was a piece of calico which created weird shadows

Middle: Too warm, inaccurate colours: This is a sweet photograph but the purple is too pink

Right: The birdie is off centre because he is long in the tail as I have shown the hanging thread to better show what the birdie is for. I had tried the hanging thread at the front of the photo, allowing the birdie to sit square in the frame. I didn't like the composition as the hanging thread became a big feature, detracting from the bird.

Left: Poor product, over-enhanced photo: These early pom poms are quite embarrassing as they are funny shapes. The plain white background made some of the colours very inaccurate and so the photo had to be photoshopped. This over-enhanced photo is so bad on every level: not evenly spaced poms, poms of poor quality and pointless writing that's unreadable from a glance.

Middle: Crooked and unreadable: There is perspective due to not being a true overhead shot

Right: The colours here make a huge impact. Poms feature in a high competition category and this photograph has propelled my poms to stardom. Slight imperfections are hidden within, making them look perfectly round. The poms themselves are now very round and of a high quality which helps to produce a good photo. Again I have taken the photo on the angle and blurred the background.

Left: Huge shadow and tail missing: My arm is casting a shadow and there is too much hand

Middle: Over-exposed, no detail/contrast: Natural sunlight can be too bright and the background is messy and irrelevant to the birds use. My thoughts were that it was cute to have the bird outside, but if you look closely it isn't even a pretty part of the garden.

Right: My husbunny now holds the birdies showing them in use. The grey wallpaper again makes a great backdrop allowing the colours to be true and clear. The composition is virtually mathematically perfect. The birdie is dead centre with the photograph evenly divided into three with the tail, arm and hanging thread. Those three things focus your eye straight to the bird. Aesthetically beautiful in all aspects!

Left: Too much room, not enough drafty: Again with the long, skinny things! But it's not too bad a photograph. I stopped doing them like this because Mr Bing, my house rabbit, chewed the tassels off the rug. It's bad enough that my other rabbit has chewed the door frame!!

Middle: Too much floor: A big improvement on the first photo, but still too much floor.

Right: Absolutely fabulous. This great photograph shows the full colour of the drafty, with the front in focus to show the pom poms construction. I was so pleased when I came up with this idea.

Below are three photographs showing how my gift wrap has developed in the last three years.

Left: Too seasonal but the colours were lovely

Middle: Sunflower flat pom poms were a pain to make, though they were popular

Right: A sprig of dried lavender perfectly placed in the bottom third of the parcel.


Learning to take a good photograph takes time, effort, practice and patience.

A method used to photo one thing may not work for another thing.

Relying on natural light will just add to the myriad of frustration when it comes to taking photos

Set your camera to the same aspect your listings are in, saves on editing (square or rectangular)

Get the contrast, colour and composition right in the photo to save time in editing

Check every photo so your item is central with no unnecessary shadows and not over or under exposed.

No photograph is ever perfect, so allow time to edit all your pictures

What is wrong with these three photos? Scroll down for answers!

Left: Dust specks everywhere, contrast is too high as the fabric weave is visible and the composition looks like there's a brown smudge under the moon, but the full image will show it is part of the colouring. Middle: Fabulous photo except it has not been taken head on, so the parallel lines of the shed door have a perspective. Retaken with the camera slightly lower and to the right would fix this Right: Over exposed in the top left corner due to the light source. The card is not square in the frame but retaken down and to the left a bit would fix this!

Happy snapping!

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