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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!


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