Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Artfire Winner Tells All/Thoughts on Photography

Great photo, Paula!

Another lucky winner of our Artfire Studio-For-Life Design Challenge has blogged about her new Artfire studio and how she won it.  Oh, and she says we're great.  No, Paula, you're great!  

We loved Paula's photography, by the way. Probably the best photograph that we received. Photography is so important for selling online, as we have learned by experience.  If you are doing online sales, you either need to learn to take decent photographs yourself, or you need to hire someone. 
Doing it yourself is going to be monetarily cheaper.  There are lots of seminars for crafters, lots of books, lots of YouTube videos to get you going.  But can you afford the time you will spend on your learning curve, and then on the constant photography, digital retouching and posting?

When we started out, I would put beads on an inexpensive scanner, and post them on eBay.  Back then, a cheap scanner took pretty bad photos. And I had absolutely no idea how to re-touch them to make them look better.  But everyone on eBay was an amateur back then, and people bought the beads, over and over, even though I forgot to put the measurements in the description, and the photo was blurry.

But we knew we had to get better, and as we grew, I no longer had the time to take the pictures.  Eventually we purchased a bottom-of-the-line 35mm digital camera, and asked a photographer friend to help us out part-time.  To save us money, he used our camera, and took pictures in our backyard, using sunlight, a folding table, and some white foam-core.  Then he took the photo files home and did Photoshop work on them. 

What I never expected was that I would have to explain some basic things to this very nice man, like why you couldn't show 10 heart-shaped beads upside-down.  And which side of an earring hook was up.  And what an earring hook actually was.  While he knew lighting and lenses, he knew nothing about our product, and it was up to me to explain to him what I wanted.  He, too, had a learning curve. 

Over a period of years, our photographer friend coaxed us into buying a macro lens, then a better camera, then some (gasp) lighting equipment.   A couple of years ago, we hired a full-time photographer-computer graphics expert, who, out of the closet-size studio we gave him, has gently pushed us even further into the digital age, doing animations, wallpapers, icons, even magazine layouts.

What's my point?  Um, I guess...learn to do it well, or hire someone to do it well. Figure out which will cost you less in the long run.  

Pro photos are especially worth it if you are making & selling multiples of items--you'll only need one photo for multiple sales.  A pro will also be helpful if your product is expensive.  The right photo really can make your product look like a million bucks! If you do hire someone, always check their work--just yesterday, I sent another photo of upside-down heart beads back to our whiz-bang photographer-graphics guy. 

If you are selling lots of unique items at low-to-middling prices, a pro photographer will be too costly.  Make your initial time investment in learning how to take nice pictures of your stuff, and how to edit them in simple photo software.  Remember, sunlight is the best light!  And if you are selling small items, make sure you get a camera that can take close-up (macro) photographs (focal distance 8 to 11 inches).   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Andrew Thornton/Beadaholique Giveaway Winner!

The winner for this past week's Thursday Giveaway on Andrew Thornton's blog is Connie Eyberg. Connie will enjoy a wonderful selection of autumn-themed beads, pendants, charms, chain and ribbon, courtesy of us, Beadaholique. Yay! 

See our previous blog for all of the wonderful stuff she won.   Jealous?  Check out our website, where you can obtain any of these lovely items for a reasonable fee! ;0>
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Current Sale at beadaholique

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