I have a standing invite every Monday [that isn’t a holiday] to go to a friend’s Open Art Studio day. It runs from 3 pm to 9 pm and typically I take advantage of the full 6 hour stretch. She encourages me to do painting while I am there to get my head into a whole different artistic space for awhile, it’s genuinely fun, all the folk who show up end up spending time talking, laughing and sharing stories over a coffee or tea and I have come home with some fantastic work that is actually worth framing and hanging on my wall.
So today I was not feeling so great, my head and body are all achy, head and nose are feeling like they are full of cotton and my nose won’t stop yelling for tissues – STAT! – It’s the fall allergy season; I’m used to this after years of suffering… I know it is going to be a stretch to haul my aching self there on the bus and then the congestion & cotton brain is just not the kind of thing that makes creativity spring up happy and free, so I opted to stay home and try to do something even mildly creative here.
Today’s creative project was photography… No matter if you are a hobby crafter, an artisan, a cottage industry seller, or a whole sale Ebay master, you need pictures of your product if you are going to sell your product.
Since I am a crafter of various crafts and try to sell what I can to help pay for the multiple hobbies I partake in [and for the simple fact I like the feeling when my stuff goes to people who are just keen for the handmade stuff], I needed to do the photo shoot thing to give my prospective buyers a decent idea of what I am selling. You see, while there is a huge truth in the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but there is also the codicil that says the wrong kind of picture can kill your story before it starts!
I had taken a bunch of photos of my hand-spun yarns awhile back, but I needed GOOD shots of the yarns if I was to post them for sale. Starting with the brighter yarns in the small case I usually take to markets, sales and festivals, I set up my mini studio on the trunk in front of the living room window to take advantage of the natural light as much as I could. I will tell you this little fact, natural light can go from fantastic to shitty in the time it takes to shift one skein of yarn off and the next one on, but I digress…
The pictures I took back in February were only intended to be a visual inventory of what I had on hand and ready to sell, the pictures I was trying to get today are intended to interest buyers in these skeins of hand-crafted yarns; they have to make the product look good and that can be hard. There is a lot that goes into taking product shots; first you have to get it to look appealing, then you have to get the lighting right so the colours stay as true as possible, you can’t forget to keep them clear and focused so they can make out details you are trying to highlight.
For example, the inventory shot of a pair of skeins
vs. the for sale shot
You can see the presentation is different…
So my afternoon has been filled with controlled chaos and my already aching body has now added tired to the list of complaints, but I am a stubborn and move on… I need to try to keep track of what I have already done, don’t forget to work the presentation, lighting is important [keep an eye on it!], details & keep it in focus, get multiple shots to cover all the bases – then times all that by a couple dozen skeins – it is very time consuming and a great deal of work, but in the end you look them over with fingers crossed that they look as good on the screen as they did in the camera – all that work for a bunch of crappy shots can break your heart and make all that work a futile effort.
If they have all turned out as you hoped, then comes then next hurdle in selling online. You see posting and/or uploading them is the easy part, it is adding all the right details along side the right photo that can consume an afternoon or evening before you know it… so I cheated a little bit and made sure to take photos of the labels as well so that I can refer to the photo itself for the information, saving me the hassle of needing a written inventory and making posting them for sale soooooooo much easier!
Then there is dealing with the clean-up afterwards, because you know you wanted to get the light while you could, so you just draped the skeins in a pile so you could move fast. A couple dozen rounds of twist and tuck gets them looking neat and tidy and so they don’t get messed up and/or tangled while in transit. In the end they are all tucked back into their travel case and stacked back with the other cases of items for sale.
This is the tip of my iceberg, but it was all I could handle today and it is better than nothing at all…
Now I can relax with a mug of tea and peruse a bit of this and that, a few hours of work to produce not so many pictures as one might think, but I have to say I am so very grateful for the digital age, this would have cost me a freaking fortune if I had to do all this on actual film!!