Tips for Improving Your Photographs
Today’s Success on Zibbet article is provided by guest contributor Kay Tarapolsi, owner of A Crafty Arab and Under Your Breath on Zibbet. Kay creates unique Arabic greeting cards. A native of Libya, Kay has lived in the US since she was seven years old. Kay currently resides in Redmond, Washington with her husband, three young daughters and a cat named Shems (Arabic for sunshine). Kay has provided us with some great tips for taking better photographs of our Zibbet items.
Use all four photos slots, and show all the parts of your product-back, front and sides. If the item is wearable, show how it looks when worn. This way, when your customer gets your product, there are no surprises and they know exactly what to expect when they open the box. If you need help resizing and cropping your photos to fit, try using a free website such as WebResizer.
Try to use as much natural light as possible. Inside next to a windowsill is the best location for taking photos. Avoid taking your photos in direct sunshine to prevent shadows from showing up behind your product. You can also make a very simple light box tent using a box, fabric, some tape and glue.
For smaller pieces, it’s best to use a solid background. This insures that your product can be easily seen and that your customers aren’t distracted by a plant, cat or anything else behind your piece. This is not to say that you can’t use background elements, just make sure that you select a background that will compliment your product. Put your focus on the item even if your background is blurred.
For larger pieces it’s very helpful to show scale and how the item will be used by the customer. If you feel a bit adventurous, you can even try including a contrasting texture by having your model stand in front of an interesting background. Remember that you are selling a product, not the background. You will want all focus on your product. The goal is to have your product be the focal point of the photo (not to be confused with having it be in the center of the picture itself).
If you are trying to decide on a color for your background, look at a color wheel and choose a color scheme that works for your product. There are various options to consider: monochromatic, analogous, complementary and so on. For a full listing of options, check out Wikipedia.
If you make the same products, but in different colors or sizes, try grouping your products in one photo. Some products look best when they are not alone in a single shot. If you make cupcakes, for example, put a whole tray together and take the photo from above. Or angle the camera and take a side shot of the tray. This gives customers an idea of the range for the product.
You don’t need a fancy, expensive camera to take good photos. Even if you have a simple digital camera, now is the time to pull out that manual and get to know it better. Find out how to get close up (macro) shots or turn off your flash. Can’t find your manual? Check out the various symbols common to most cameras or look up your camera manufacturer and ask for another copy of the manual.
Consider taking a basic photography class. Sometimes you need to invest a little time to learn how to take an amazing photo from someone who knows how to work a camera and has an eye for this sort of thing. And you can write off this class as a business expense for tax purposes. It’s a win-win situation.
Try playing around with photo editing software. Photoshop is a powerful program used by both professional and novice photographers. However, if you prefer something simpler and more cost effective, try an online photo editing resource such as Picnik. This super simple program allows you to upload up to five photos for free and simply click “auto-fix” to get the results you need.
If you simply don’t have the time or energy right now to invest in your photos, consider hiring a professional photograher or a friend with photography skills. Remember that photographers are artists also and that you can lend support to someone getting started. Help out a fellow artist and the karma will be returned to you tenfold. If you give them permission to use your photos in their portfolio, that becomes free advertising for you. Maybe in the future, they’ll be applying for a job and someone might see that photo of your earrings and want to know how to contact the artist who created them.
Best wishes for much success on Zibbet!
Vicki is committed to assisting her fellow Zibbeters improve their shops for successful online selling. She is the owner of three Zibbet shops: LOC Design Studio, Denim and Pearls and A Stitch and a Prayer. You can follow Vicki on Twitter and through her LOC Design Studio blog.