Did you know I'm teaching a product photography class? It's been lots of fun - especially since my mother is taking this class!! One of the features of this class is hat I contacted some actual Etsy shop owners to do an interview series and I've been sharing them here as well. So her you go! The Simply Style Week 2 Interview!! If you'd like to sign up to be notified when registration for my next online class opens just enter your email in the sidebar under the Simply Photography e-classes & mentoring graphic. My next mentoring session starts next month!
Name: Rachel Hunnicutt
Etsy Shop: www.cornflowerbluestudio.etsy.com
How long have you been selling online?
I opened my Etsy shop in 2008 and sold a few things here and there. It wasn't until the fall of 2010 that I decided to make my Etsy shop my job and started to sell in a serious way. This fall will mark my one year anniversary as a full time seller!
What equipment do you currently use?
My current set-up proves that you don't have to have expensive equipment to take good photos! I use a very inexpensive camera that I purchased on Amazon.com for $60. It's a Canon PowerShot A490. I also use a sheet of white poster board to create a clean, bright background for my product shots. I keep a small basket of props handy to add interest and provide scale in some of my photos - they are just simple things that I had around the house or found inexpensively on Etsy. I edit my photos for free on Picnick.com, which saves me from spending money on editing software!
Note from Faith - Picnick will no longer be available after March other free editing options are Picasa & Adobe Photoshop Express Online
What is your current favorite set-up?
My favorite props to use are vintage Victorian and Civil War era photographs that I found inexpensively at a local thrift store (such a score!) and from searching through Etsy's vintage sellers. They give a nostalgic, sentimental touch to photos of my tiny crochet items. For my larger crochet soft sculptures I like to use the self-timer on my camera to take photos of myself holding the piece. It shows the scale of the item and I think that buyers like to see a glimpse of the artist every once in a while!
Do you consider yourself to have a style in your photography?
I try to create photos with a unified style so that my shop feels cohesive - I think it's especially important since I sell a few different types of items (crochet, drawings, patterns, soft sculptures). If the photography was all over the place it would feel too random and cluttered with so many different types of things for sale! I try to create this style with a common white back ground, lighting, and close shots.
How do you get that incredible light in your shots?
Getting good light in my shots used to be a struggle because my apartment was heavily shaded, so I would move my table and equipment from room to room chasing the light. When I moved to a new apartment I made sure to choose a place with nice, big windows on an upper floor where I could arrange my table and have a permanent place to take my product photos in the afternoon or early evening. I shoot on a table right next to the window so that I can capture the warmth of the natural sunlight.
What has changed most in your photography?
A few things have changed dramatically! I'm now taking much sharper, crisper photos because I learned to use the Macro setting on my camera for close shots. That was a huge discovery! Also, my attention to details and staging the photographs has improved. Just trying different angles, arrangements, or props can make a great photo. I started looking closely at my own favorite Etsy shops and tried to figure out what exactly it was that I liked about their photos. That gave me ideas on how to improve my own shots!
What are some of your favorite tips for taking good photographs of your products to sell online?
I think that one important tip is to include at a really good close-up shot to show an important detail or texture. Customers can't touch your item through the computer screen, so you have to show them all the important aspects of the item with your awesome photography. It's also important to show the item from different angles - make sure that you take advantage of all the photo spots allotted for that listing!
Tidbits of wisdom...
Once you have your item set up to photograph, take more photos than you think you'll need. Inevitably there will be a few pictures that don't turn out the way you hoped so you want to have some wiggle room to find your great shots and delete the flops. It can also be helpful to go through your shop every once in a while and critique your own photos - are there any photos that look out of place or just don't look as good as the others? Taking an afternoon to re-shoot these items can improve the overall look of your shop and give you a more professional image.