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Friday, October 7, 2011

Am I the Only One . . .

who would prefer that Sunday be cooler rather than 83 degrees? Very selfish of me, I know, but I will be at the Coventry Farmers' Market. I'm hoping people will not forget how chilly it was this week. This is where I would post a picture of something but that's not going to happen now. I am working at the co-op, Swift Waters in Willimantic, CT, and I have my IPad. I should give it a name. Working on that. This post was because I am 1) just hanging out in the store and 2) so you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Been painting the shed forever now! Have a good Friday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Picture Perfect IV or Almost The Post with No Title

I'm back! Well, I didn't go anywhere, except to the farmers' market last Sunday where I sold this!

And nothing to do with the pictures I had taken because the shawl was draped on my display. But I'm still happy I reshot the pictures and happy it sold, whether online or at the market! Last post I said I would list some helpful editing programs and apps. These are great for product shots or holiday pictures or anything.

Before I got my IPad I used Picasa I still do occasionally. Picnik is also good and has a few different options but you have to do the editing online while Picasa is a program you install on your computer. They're FREE, although you can upgrade for a yearly fee for more options. with these programs you can crop, resize, brightening, adding contrast, tint, softening, even adding text.

For the IPad (IPhone, too, although since I don't own one, I won't have anything to add here) there are tons of apps. My favorites, so far, are Photo Studio HD and Pixlromatic but I use Photogene, Color Blast (turns your photo to black and white, then you rub your finger over the parts you want in color and it turns that portion into the original color), and Mobile Monet. Some versions of these are free. You can upgrade for a couple of dollars. Others cost a small amount. I like to read the reviews to get an idea of how they're working, pros, cons, is it even worth it.

Photo Studio HD is so much fun. You can make pictures look like charcoal, pencil, pen sketches, change the temperature for a warmer or cooler image, add hues, blur, various styles of photography, black and white . . .  This app also allows you to control how much or how little of the effect you want in the image. Cropping and resizing are also features included. You can save the effect to your camera roll, then add another effect from this app or another one.

Pixlromatic also has features such as vignettes, hues, intense contrast, black and white, sepia. There are also overlays that feature rain drops, sparkles, halo, scratches, as well as frames and mats. They have a blog, too, for updates and tips. There is no ability to control how much of the effect you want. It is what it is. But, you can still save your image, then pop on over to another app to add some other neat things.

Now, I know there is PhotoShop. There is an Adobe PhotoShop Express app but I see mixed reviews on it so I am not going to try it now. I don't have the original version, don't know how to use it, but if you do have it and can use it well, you're probably not looking to me for any photo editing tips. But I do envy you!

Yes, it is best to try to take the best possible picture you can BEFORE using the editing tools. But sometimes you have just a little CyberShot camera and that's all you have. So next time, I will talk a little about some things I like to take into consideration when I do a photo shoot.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Picture (Trying to Be) Perfect III

Hope everyone had a good summer, with a wrap-up of Labor Day weekend! I am always surprised at how, even decades after being out of school, the days after Labor Day still feel like new days, the-first-day-of-school days. Even if you are no longer attending school. Even if you are working week after week and just enjoyed an extra day off. Maybe it's the changes in temperatures of the hint of color in the trees you can no longer ignore.

Anyhow, I have learned so much from my time on Etsy, including the importance of taking better pictures. Online browsing and shopping does not allow one to use all the senses to discover products. Only the sense of sight, very important and often taken for granted, can be used. Visuals must be used to convey all other senses.

For some, this can be a skill that takes some time to cultivate. And I am still trying to cultivate that. I don't have sophisticated equipment. Just me, my Cybershot, and a flexible tripod. I love see beautiful product shots by other Etsians and I keep trying and experimenting.

Here are some before and after shots of my Sunrise Shawl. What are the characteristics of the shawl? The color, the way if feels, size, what does it do (is it stiff, flowy?), what is its size, what can you do with it? These are just some questions to ask about your product, depending on what it is.

Before                                                                                           After

The photo above shows how big it is, on a person. But the background - really? And the model? uh . . .  The picture to the right has a less busy background, still shows the shawl on a person, in fact, wrapped around.
The picture above shows texture, but, again, the background is part of the picture and really, that's unnecessary. Sometimes it's distracting. The picture on the right displays the pattern and the fact that the shawl could be used as a wrap. Again, the background is more neutral in subject.

Above: Yuck.  The picture to the right has been enhanced with a couple of layers of photo manipulation to do some of the following: color correction, softening the background, and adding some sun dots. The shawl is called "Sunrise". It is soft, handwoven in tencel (a yarn that feels like a blend of cotton and silk). The shawl is also a little bit hippie, a little bit boho (I didn't use these tags as I don't feel they ENTIRELY fit the shawl) but it is definitely casual. The photo tells a story: Sunny morning, a bit girly, enjoying this moment with a four-leaf clover (I really did find it next to me!). Warmth. Beautiful sunny morning. Pensive, quiet moment. Feeling pretty.

OK. The shawl will not make you these things, because you already are! But the pictures try to portray the feeling this shawl gives when you actually get a chance to hold it and wrap it around you.

This was a photo I had for a long time. I kept it because it gives a nice close up of the texture.

This picture, to the left, is new. I had this image in my mind when I started to put together the photo shoot. It's an experiment but shows the casual nature of the shawl.

They're not perfect and I'm still honing my skills and I have more work to do with other products in my shop. But I'm doing the best I can now and having fun doing it!

More on various photo editing programs - unless you have Photo Shop. Then you don't need my help. I don't have Photo Shop. :(

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Picture Perfect, Part II

Well, maybe.

Anyway, I reshot the shawl and did some fiddley-doo magic with some apps. (Note: I think that phot apps could be dangerous if used to excess. They are kind of like all the cool fonts out there. Just because you have access to them doesn't mean you should use all of them. At the same time. In the same document. So, I hope I haven't done that. But they are just sooo darned FUN!)

These are good today. Until I learn more.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Picture Perfect

It's a beautiful warm day here in New England. I've been working on new items, finishing, washing, labeling, listing, adding things to my inventory lists, PHOTOGRAPHING. Ok, I'm not yelling. It's just been on my mind lately.

I've been having fun photographing my new things and I like the results. I think they are pretty good, for now, until I get better. And I've learned so much since I've been on Etsy.

That said, sometimes I look at some of my older photography and cringe. It's time to go back and reshoot some things.

Yes, that means I have to find said item in inventory, take off the tag, and iron it. But it's worth it.

Here is my first piece:

I actually love this picture and I think I will leave it alone. But two others:

These two need work. They're poopy pictures. Stay tuned to see how the new ones come out. I'm interested, too, because I'm still working out some ideas and locations in my head.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodbye, Irene

We got out ok from the storm. Luckily, no loss of power or trees. Two neighbors lost a tree each but I am thankful they didn't fall on any houses.

Now, witht the windows open, a refreshing light, cool breeze, a refreshing tv program that is so far away from any storm coverage, and Bon Iver tunes in my ears, I am feeling relaxed and a little sleepy.

I am eternally grateful for our safety.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Night, Irene . . .

Seriously. Don't swing by, don't drop in, don't stop by. Go to sea. Stay away.

I'm getting ready to get ready for my first farmers' market day of the year and there's this hurricane out there, growing stronger, wreaking havoc, threatening to come up the coast. It won't make landfall here in Connecticut so I am thankful for that,  there could be rain and wind. We're good. We don't need that. Send the rain to Texas.

Anyway, I am wrapping up a few projects. I've got some scarves on the loom, some fingerless mitts on the needles, some display ideas in my head. I've got to buy another ink cartridge for the printer, print out more tags, tag and properly inventory more items, put new items into Square.

Yes, it's Tuesday. Such a beautiful, cool morning. I made good coffee this morning.

Guess it's time to get to work! Maybe I'll surprise myself!