Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a few photography tips

Let's talk about something hands on today. :). How about photography? Specifically photographing something to list online or just to show all of your internet friends.

My best advice is to keep it simple. I used to try to dream up all kinds of stories and locations for photographing items. Beautiful, beautiful stories. But then it rained. And I couldn't get everything just so. And someone had the stomach bug. And I began to dread the photography part because I had made it so burdensome and complicated. So I simplified.

A few tips:

1. Find an indoor location that is physically close to you for routine photography AND has great natural light. Think about when you'll be photographing, too, as that affects the type of light you'll get.

This is where I settled:


Fancy, isn't it? It's our sunroom/playroom and that's on a clean day. But! It gets THE BEST light even on an overcast day. Since it's inside and so convenient, I can take pictures pretty much any time I want to all day. Even if it's sort of gloomy outside. Listen. Natural light is really important. Be willing to work that in, even if it means having to wait until the next day.

2. Establish some consistency to your photographs. If you sell pillows, use the same chair over and over again. If you sell stationary, maybe a sweet little desk. If you sell adorable baby things, maybe a sweet patterned fabric or an equally adorable baby.

I chose two burlap looking foam core boards from Hobby Lobby. It's ok, I know I'm fancy.

And that's all I need. My products-2nd grade art class sculptures for today, my background and my camera.

See? It's a working photography studio. Smiley face.
3. Try to use a good camera. I have a DSLR (Canon Rebel XSi) but a higher end point and shoot will do the job, too. In fact, I took a couple of pictures (I'll show one later) with my point and shoot just to show you that you even if a DSLR camera is cost prohibitive, you can still take great photos. My point and shoot is a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS and it's even got a manual setting with some control over lighting and white balance. I highly recommend it. I've battered and bruised it but it will still take a photo.

4. If at all possible, prop your product up away from the back of your background. I don't know why. I just like it better.

See? It adds depth.

5. Take close ups! The beauty of this sculpture is not complete until you've seen the detail on its little face. Seriously. Feature as much detail as you can. That's the beauty of handmade; special little touches that tell a story and you want to highlight them.


6. Use photo editing. I really, really, really prefer It's easy to use and offers you a good bit more control over what you can do to make your photo the best it can possibly be. Every single one of these photos was edited before I posted them.

Here's what I was able to do with my VERY well loved point and shoot:

Do you have some tried and true photography rules or tips? Questions? We'd love to hear from you!


  1. what a cute post! and that's some really good advice for photographing simple objects. I just ADORE your site. would y'all be interested in guest posting on Bartering Blogger?

  2. such great photography tips. i STILL dread the taking of photos even though i've streamlined the process as much as i can. detailed shots are something i need to work on though; great advice!

  3. this is great! light can make or break a photo. great advice. if possible, don't use flash....especially directly on the subject. it casts harsh shadows and can actually distort the object's natural look.
    -Candice {The Beautiful Mess}

  4. yes, candice! so glad you pointed that out :).

  5. What a great post! I have my little spot in my dining room that I go to for every picture.

    And I adore that little sculpture- precious!

  6. I have been pondering this very subject. I KNOW I need to re-do a ton of my pictures on my Etsy site... and I have been thinking - where do I get the best natural light in my house? And how do I set up my camera on the timer so I can model them myself? I hadn't thought about using picnik... I just usually use Microsoft Picture Manager but I will try something else. I am just exhausted by the thought of redoing everything... but I know it will help.