More and more individuals with a knack for everything from quilting to painting to woodworking and more are finding a niche online where they can sell their crafts. Handmade goods are starting to take over the market, too, as more people look for unique clothing, gifts, household items, and artwork rather than just buying what the box stores have to offer. Etsy, one popular handmade website where thousands of sellers have their own shops, reported that $69.8 million worth of handmade items were sold in December of 2011, and Etsy saw about 1.2 billion page views in December.
Clearly, it could be a good time to go into the craft business. But there’s a ton of competition out there! On Etsy alone, almost two million items were listed in December, many of which were probably in a crafting niche similar to yours. One of the best ways you can set your craft website and your business apart is by taking gorgeous pictures of the crafts you have to offer. Here are just six tips to help you do it:
1. Invest in a good camera. This is one of those times when it might be a good idea to pull out your business credit cards. You don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on a good digital camera, but you shouldn’t be taking photos for your website with your iPhone, either. Try using a high-resolution camera with at least 8 megapixels, and make sure you can change your white balance.
2. Understand your camera. Reading your camera’s manual is probably not on the top of your priority list, but a quick read-through will give you an idea of the different things you can do with your camera. Manufacturer’s websites and even YouTube might also have helpful advice on how to get the best shots with your particular model of camera.
3. Get the color right first. One of the absolute most important keys to good craft product photography is to get the color right. The best way to get good color is to shoot in natural light whenever possible. If you have small products, you might even consider making a light box for natural-like lighting even when you can’t get outside to shoot your photos. Also, learn to adjust the white balance on your camera. Essentially, the color should be balanced so that a white sheet of paper actually looks white – rather than yellowish or bluish – in your photos.
4. Play the angles. Try taking photographs from different angles. You want to be able to present what your craft product really is, but you also want to get an interesting, eye-catching shot. Photographing up close is an especially great way to add visual interest to your craft photos.
5. Show the details. You might feel like you always need to get the whole product in a photo, but this is definitely not true. Take some photos for your craft website that are up close and personal with your products. Show a single bead or two of a handmade bracelet or the stitching on one square of a quilt. The details can make interesting photos, for one thing, but they’ll also go to show your potential buyers that you have paid attention to everything.
6. Use props and models. One of the best ways to generate more interest in your craft items is to photograph them with props and models. Props can be helpful for giving potential customers an idea of scale, and models can really bring your photos to life. If you sell clothing or accessories and don’t want to use live models, even mannequins can be quite helpful here!
One way to figure out what’s working best is to take a variety of shots of one or two items and take a poll – from your friends, your family members, your website visitors, whoever. Ask several people which photos they like best and why, and you’re sure to get an idea of where you need to go with your craft photography for your website.
Daniela Baker is a craft mom of two, and a social media advocate at CreditDonkey. She helps entrepreneurs compare credit offers on her blog. She hopes these six tips will help you create photos that are more eye-catching and gorgeous for your craft website.