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How To Photograph Crafts For Online Selling and Blogging

How to get great photos for Etsy, Ebay, and Your Blog

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In order to share all of your wonderful crafts with others (and hopefully sell a few) you need to know how to photograph crafts for online posting. A good craft photograph can make all the difference in whether or not your craft sells or is ignored. I've broken down how to photograph crafts into a few basics steps that will help you take great craft photos that show your crafts or the masterful creations they really are.

1. Location, Location, Location

The very first step in photographing your crafts is picking the location to photograph them.  There are a couple of places you should never take craft photographs.

  1. Never photograph your crafts on your bed (unless of course you are photographing a quilt)
  2. Never photograph your crafts with a cluttered background (no curious cats, random yarn, or dinner plates please)
  3. Never photograph your crafts in the dark

Now, on to where you should photograph your crafts.

  1. Photograph your crafts in a well-lit area
  2. Photograph your crafts with a plain contrasting background (white for dark crafts, black or brown for light crafts)

2. Banish Shadows

A light tent is a great way to control both lighting and background.  A light tent (or light box) is simply a cube with translucent material sides, one open side, and a solid material on the floor and the back of the cube.  This allows very bright light to be focused on the item inside without shadows as the translucent material diffuses (or breaks up) the light.  Our Desktop Publishing Guide, Jacci Howard Bear, has a good tutorial on how to create a light tent from an ordinary cardboard box.

A light tent is an especially big help if you do not have any type of studio lighting.  With a light box you can take the box outside in the bright midday sun and get a clean photograph without shadows.

3. Have a Solid Foundation

If your camera needs a slow shutter speed (slower than 1/60) to to take the photo make sure you have a solid foundation for the camera.  Use a tripod or other sturdy foundation for your camera in order to avoid camera shake and a blurry photo.

4. Don't Date Your Photo

Turn off the date stamp function on your camera. Date stamps are great for occasional use with family photos but they add nothing to how a photograph looks. In the case of craft photos they will make your photos look amateurish and serve only to tell how "out of date" your craft is later on.

5. Cut Things Down to Size

Before you upload that photo to Etsy, Ebay, or your blog please stop a moment to resize the photo. Photo quality and sizing for print is totally different than for online use. Online images can be much smaller and at a lower resolution online than they would for printed photos. A properly sized photo will help your viewers load your page more quickly, keep Google from marking your page as "slow to load", and cut down on upload times.

  1. Images should be resized to 72dpi for online use
  2. Images should be no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side
  3. Always use "save as" and a new name when saving resized files so you do not damage or erase the original file

Instructions for resizing in PhotoShop Elements

Instructions for resizing in ACDSee

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