Taking a quality photo is an art form, but it is a vital aspect of selling your crafts if you want to sell them online. Whether you sell via your Facebook page, a web site or an on-line marketplace, when you upload a photo it becomes the showcase for your item. From this photograph an on-line buyer has to make that vital decision of whether to buy your item or not. Your item may be unique and beautiful but a bad photo can and does put many buyers off!
Since starting The Crafty Network I have seen many photos of crafts for sale and some photos are exceptionally good and you can tell that the person who took the photo, either had professional help or understood what is needed to take a good photo. They had obviously put in a lot of thought, time and effort getting their images to look good. Most photos I see, I would describe as average, neither good nor bad they show the item as it is and to be honest I think that is what most of us want to achieve, we all can’t be professionals! But what concerns me the most is the small percentage of photos that are bad, usually out of focus, too dark and sometimes I’m not even sure what is for sale. You can tell that no thought or care has been taken and that’s what concerns me the most, especially if you want to be successful at selling on-line and I think most of you do as you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t!
Ask yourself this, if you were a buyer would you buy something that is out of focus, dark and you can’t see very well?
A few of you may know that I make and sell jewellery, when I first started trying to sell on-line I will be the first to admit that my photos were pretty dreadful. I didn’t really think about it too much, taking the photograph of a recently made necklace was just something I had to do. I sat at my desk, laid it out and took the photo with the flash on or off (depending how dark it was), I did no staging or put any real thought on how it would look.
I’m still no expert, but since then I hope I have progressed a bit as I’ve picked up some tips and I now understand that taking a decent photo is very important in the selling process.
I am not suggesting to anyone to dash out and buy an expensive camera or photo editing software, I haven’t, I’m still using the same camera and software I started with, I just put more thought into how I take my photographs and I understand now that I need to put as much effort into taking the photos and editing them as I do making my crafts if I want to be successful at selling them on-line.
I think if we all followed some basic guidelines I’m sure we could all take a good photograph, even with a mobile! Here are just a few tips I have picked up which have helped me to improve and they make sense to me:
- Use a tripod if possible to help steady your photo, even a slight wobble could make your photo go out of focus.
- Use natural light ~ take photos outside or on a window sill. (avoid harsh shadows)
- Use a white or black background, avoid backgrounds that are too fussy/patterned.
- Frame the item properly, don’t try taking the photo from an odd angle, it won’t work unless you are a professional!
- Step back, you don’t have to get up really close, you can use photo editing software to edit/crop!
- Keep accessories to a minimum or in keeping with the item you are selling, too many items will distract the buyer from what you are selling. If in doubt, leave it out!
- After taking the photo, editing is equally important and can help improve the look of your photo. Most photo editing software has a crop function, which you can use to take out things you don’t want to see and bring the image up close, you can boost the colour and create white balance, you can even improve focus.
Here are some photos I took of the same item, experimenting on different backgrounds and different positions, mostly to show you how bad some photos can look!
So what are your thoughts on photographing your crafts and have you discovered the secret to taking a good photograph? (Without it costing the earth!) Have you picked up some useful tips, you would like to share with us, I would love to hear from you?
EDIT: I’ve since discovered this book, which may give you some great tips and ideas, Crafter’s Guide to taking Great Photos. Author: Heidi Adnum