I remember the old days of photographing one’s work. You’d shoot a whole roll of film, rush it to the developer, pray for at least one good shot, and end up having to start all over when you overexposed, underexposed, or forgot to take the lens cap off. Today we have digital photography and photographing your work has never been easier! You know on the spot if you have the shot you want. My point and shoot camera does all the work for me; I just need to make sure I’ve got some light and the right props if needed.
One trick I have learned is to step back a little. Much of my work is small, so I felt I had to get right up there and take the shot as close as I could. I’d end up with blurry images, so I stepped back and now let my photo software do my close ups. I just crop close and the image shows the details. If you are going to print out images, you’ll want to go for the most dpi, but so much of our work is shown on a computer screen, that your goal should be to tell your product story within a 5″ x 4″ saved as a medium to small resolution.
Preview before you post
Before you place any images on your website, blog, or online store, you should preview the image. Can you make out what your product is? Can your friend or child? Would a different angle make it easier to see? Do you need to step back or step forward? Is the image crisp? Are the colors true? A bad photo is often worse than no photo at all, as it leaves a negative impression with your potential buyer. Go back and take new photos and don’t quit until you are happy with the results.
I found this image on an auction site and I wasn’t sure where the item ended and the background started. Nor was I sure what it actually was and the softness or fuzziness of the photo and the shadows don’t help. If the seller had just taken this photo outside for some natural light, I think we’d all have a better view of this cat doll. Would you buy this item with only this photograph to help you make your decision?
So keep shooting until you have photos that you (and your family, friends, or coworkers) feel truly represent the work you’re selling.
From the experts: Choosing the right props for a photo
The experts say when using props within a display, keep it simple. Your product should be what the eye lands on and stays with within a
display. Simple one color bowls, natural solid shelves, or woven baskets are great props that also serve to hold your products too.
Props can also tell a story. For example, a child’s sewing machine would be a fun prop for sewn or quilted items. Seasonal props for outdoor markets serve as a reminder of gift-giving possibilities!
In a photo like this, cropping can make the difference as well. What you cut out of the picture directs the focus where you want it, minimizing the present (wrapped in simple craft paper with a simple low-contrast ribbon) and the candle (off-white) and driving the attention to the ornaments.