October 23, 2010

White Balance is Giving Me the Blues!

Countless articles, 
blogs, links...
I have trekked my way across Google in search of the secret to good photos for Etsy. Give me a flower macro, landscape, even kids to shoot- no problem! But let me try to take a good photo of a product in natural light and I start drooling like an idiot, babbling nonsensical cuss words --- then comes the mind-numbing headbanging.
I want to give credit to the articles. They were great. They made it seem so clear.
Crystal clear.

But my photos still suck.

Even editing software can't color correct with a natural look. After a process of elimination I have narrowed down some of the hurdles I'm dealing with.

First:  My home is surrounded by shade trees. The only side without a tree has a big detached garage next to it. Boo-hiss!
Second:  My patio has dark screens that filter the light- Great for keeping it cool.
Bad for pics.
Third:  Finding the white balance. Well, since I can't get a true white reading anywhere with natural light, that's not happening. The auto setting wants to be blue. Which makes me blue.


So I have pretty much said to hell with natural light and I'm getting back out my trusty gooseneck lamps, ott lites, white foam board and going back to the drawing board. I will wait for a while to build my patience levels back up before attempting to find the elusive white balance.

Now what I did fall in love with in my search for truth was using props, great advice from some Etsy sellers with eyecandy photos in their shops. This is completely opposite from my first photos which were devoid of color, props or interest. I tried a dreamy, pretty look for my vintage costume jewelry which isn't too bad looking but when I compare them to front page products they just don't measure up. You can use the Etsy Poster Sketch Tool to do this, it basically lets you paste your listings in a workspace with other well taken product photos to see them side by side with yours. Definitely not an exercise for the weak, it is brutally eye-opening.

Props bring out the imagination of buyers, they can see the item in use, or in a home setting. Sometimes they evoke a mood, whimsy or nostalgia that will trigger an impulse to buy your product. One of my recent favorite shopowners, Twirlie Whirlies, told me of her gorgeous southern exposed window she shoots by. Of course, I was jealous but my how her products pop! Mouthwatering, eh?

And is it any wonder that Fairyfolk's little
Fairytale Wedding Acorn and Oak Leaf Favors have sold? Pure white, and it looks lovely in its place setting prop.

And how can you resist this little fawn?

So when they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I say it's worth a thousand sales.
I may get a little slap happy but I'm going to keep snapping away until I get it right!

Links I loved:

What you need: Tapletop Photo Studio on Artfire.com

How to set White Balance by Ken Rockwell

10 Resources for Taking Better Product Photos

Free photo editing from www.Picnik.com

October 19, 2010

Last Summer's Wildflowers...

 One of my new found friends on Etsypreneur.com- "an uplifting and helpful community for Etsy Sellers" owns the Etsy shop: Redford Glass Studios and while I was browsing her shop I saw her location...the North Country of New York, namely the Adirondack Mountains! This happens to be not only one of my favorite places to go in New York, but also where I spent my summer vacation. What always amazes me is the millions of wildflowers growing along the roadsides, trails and river banks. We have lots of flowers here in Florida, but something about going north and seeing the abundant buttercups, tigerlilies, dandelions and daisies is a different kind of paradise for me...

Featured items from Redford Glass Studio:

October 16, 2010

Sunrise on Sandspur

Camping has been one of my passions for years, sleeping in a tent on a beach is more appealing to me than a five star resort! A favorite spot I've found in my travels around Florida is Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys. You can set up camp right on an oceanside beach...Paradise! 

Waking up in the morning and rolling out of the tent to the most spectacular sunrise imaginable is the best part of all...

October 15, 2010

The Little Ghosts of Vintage Photos

When I find old vintage and antique photos in the little shops I scour, I often wonder about the little ghosts from the past...who were they, where might they be now, were they someone famous? I love to imagine little stories about them and there is always a happy ending...


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