Discussion Topic ~ Photographing Your Crafts

22 Mar

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!

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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

Linda x


Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Discussions


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4 responses to “Discussion Topic ~ Photographing Your Crafts

  1. Quirky Quartz

    March 23, 2012 at 9:23 am

    This is something I’ve been dealing with recently as I wanted to submit my work to NOTHS and GWAG. All my products were on a black background (whick I personally prefer), however the industry background is white, especially if you want to have a chance to get you work published in the press. Also instead of just putting my camara setting on auto, I got to grips with the exposure, macro/micro settings etc. It really is worth spending an hour of so reading the instructions on your camara and getting familiar with what will do. It’s made a massive difference to my photos, although I would still secretly like to have them on black 🙂 Happy clicking!

  2. Diane

    April 2, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I’m still practising with how I take photographs. It does make such a big difference to how items look to the public. It’s still quite alot of knowledge to absorb though to make it ‘work’.

  3. MegansBeadedDesigns

    April 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Photographing can so so HARD. I find it easiest just photograph on a very simple, clean, white background. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I feel it makes me jewlery stand out on it’s own, and the items are all treasury-friendly because they don’t have “edges.” White backgrounds are also easier to clean up in Photoshop as opposed to colored or darker backgrounds.

    I am envious of some jewelry sells who have manage to work with great textured backgrounds or soft colors… *sigh*

    • The Crafty Network

      April 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Hi, me too! I tend to keep it simple and on a white background, I use a piece of white canvas photocard and keep it on my windowsill, where I seem to get the best light. Linda x


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