Adventures in Advertising (and Marketing) - Part Three - TAKING PHOTOS!

>> Saturday, March 1, 2008

You might have the most awesome handmade items in your shop, but unless people can SEE how gorgeous they are, you won't sell them. Photos are the key to selling items over the internet, whether that be on Etsy, ebay, or any of the other amazing sites out there.

You only need three things to take great photos of your products. Seriously.

1. A relatively okay digital camera - I use a Kodak EasyShare C653

2. Basic photo editing software - where you can crop, adjust the size of your image, brightness and contrast

3. A source of bright light, preferably sunlight

Having a basic knowledge of composition also helps a little, but if you are an avid reader of fashion magazines, you'll have it too.

Make sure your item is clean, pristine and ready for it's 15 minutes of fame! There is nothing worse than a good picture of a dirty item! I've taken photos of items and then realized once I had edited it that there is wire sticking out, or dust on a gemstone.

Take your item and set it up in a location that is brightly lit, but not necessarily in direct sunlight. I usually use a window sill. I set the item up on a pillow or a book or a piece of paper that has some texture on it and take several shots, from different angles. The light is the most important thing, next to your item!

Then upload your photos onto your hard drive and open up your photo editing software. I'm a Photoshop girl myself, but all you really need in an editing program is the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, and size. Open up your photos.

Create a "new" document, and make sure it is about 20% of your original photo. Go back to the photo of your item, and select a square selection of that photo, including your item. Drag the selection to your new document - it should be much closer and detailed than your original. Adjust the contrast and brightness and save this new photo! I find that saving photos with a description of the item helps me to find them for easier uploading, especially if I'm taking a whole batch of pictures. (i.e. beach glass pendant1.jpg)

Etsy requires that photos be less than 1000 pixels x 1000 pixels. I usually make my photos 400 x 400, it takes less time to upload to Etsy or other sites, and the quality is still great.

Photos are your tools to generate traffic to your site and to generate sales! Experiment a little, and it will pay off in the long run!!!

xoxoox muffin


500 Hearts and Counting...

>> Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Etsy has a lovely system by which its members can show their love to their favourite shops and/or items by "hearting"! Today, I reached 500! Thanks so much for the love, etsy!
(I know it's a silly, superficial, high school thing... but every girl wants to be loved!)


Adventures in Advertising (and Marketing) - Part Two - YOUR SHOP!

>> Monday, February 25, 2008

Okay, so you already know what you want to sell, and you've decided on a shop name and a logo... you might even have some great promo materials and a kickass business card! Now, how do you set up your etsy shop?

Think seriously about the ambiance that you will like your shop to have. Think about your target buyer group and look at other shops (on etsy and in real life) that have the "feeling" that you would like your shop to have. Then create a banner that reflects that. Your banner is the first thing that your buyers see, and first impressions can mean a lot! I know that I'm really turned off by a banner that is juvenile (unless it is for a kids' shop, in which case, juvenile is GREAT!) or poorly done. There are lots of people on etsy who do banner and avatar design, but it really isn't hard to do it yourself if you have a good graphics program.

The etsy labs have a great tutorial on bannermaking here:

They use Adobe Photoshop as their editing software, but any other good basic graphics program will work. Here is a list of freeware ones - I can't vouch for any of them though because I'm a Photoshop girl too!

I actually fiddled around with several banners when I first started. The first one had my MuffinTop muffin logo on it, with pink and brown stripes. I liked it, but as time went on, I felt that it wasn't reflective of my style anymore. So, it evolved into the current one I have now. I quite love it (for now) and feel that it gives buyers some insight into what I offer. (It's also lovely that it is my favourite colour!) I have kept my avatar, because it is what people in the forums identify me with - plus it ties together all of my promo materials as well. I also try to take photos that complement both my banner and my avatar - keeping it all coordinated!!!!

It's tricky, creating an identity for your shop! It's hard to change it once you start promoting and getting traffic into your store!

Here are some etsy sellers who I think have done a really good job at creating an identity for themselves: - her banner and avatar are similarly coloured, and it's clear what she is offering! (it doesn't hurt that her bags are so awesome!) - her banner is a complete reflection of her art and her avatar is her pretty face! A lovely photo of yourself is a great avatar - she does it in a really artistic way, which suits her shop. - Lisa uses a wonderfully sharp graphic as her banner, and a picture of one of her bestselling items as her avatar. The colour of the banner also reflects colours in her avatar - and it's sharp, crisp quality speaks to the jewelry that she sells. - Sigh! one of the lovliest shops on etsy... Sandra's banner is reminiscent of the colours in her awesome forged items... and her avatar has her sweet little face. Like Tiffany's, the shot is artsy and captures her personality. It's great that her banner also declares that she has flat rate shipping - a great draw for buyers.

NEXT TIME: Taking great photos! (not that I'm any mastermind, but I've been told I take a nice picture!)

xoxoox muffin


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