Sunday, November 4, 2007

a much needed makeover - though I wish this involved my face and wardrobe

So.  I'm recuperating from Bronchitis.  And I've barely done anything that I needed or wanted to be doing all week.  I did finally finish On the Road (still conflicted on my feelings about the Beats) and started  Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell of which I have read 126 pages.

Other than that...

Well, I was lucky to randomly become subject of an etsy online shop critique.  That occurred because someone else was absent and I raised my virtual hand. 
I had recently redone quite a lot of my shop photos as I knew for a while I needed to, and finally had a new camera that I could work with.

What follows displays an example of the three part (and to be continued) makeover.  There are more than these, and also more to be worked on.

(hosting courtesy of flickr.) larger version here.

The first column is the way the photos appeared originally, when I was painstakingly clipping out the crummy backgrounds and putting in a gradient backdrop.  I didn't really like them, but the camera situation was making it very tricky to get good shots.  And a lot of these were actually object scans done with my old scanner.  It was time-consuming, with unsatisfying results, but it was either that or not list new products until I had better photos.

The second column shows my self-imposed makeover, when I finally got out the new camera, experimented with natural light by the window, and messed with some funky backgrounds (most were handmade or other strange papers I had).

The third column shows the result of the suggestions during the etsy labs critique.  I either totally redid photos with new backgrounds (they were too "busy" or did not provide enough contrast), or I used a different shot I had already taken that might be more dynamic or eye-catching than the first thumbnail I had chosen.  I also tried adjusting the white balance as suggested by etsy staff.  It worked... though I need to reread the camera book to figure out exactly how to use the function.

In addition to photo alterations, I also changed my avatar from the Frog Prince embroidery (which I was hesitant to do because I had had it up so long), but I agree it's better changed into something more relevant/eye-catching (plus, cat-related). I also edited down some of my superfluous text in item listings.

So, the main lessons learned are:

1. Yes, use natural light.  And in my case, the most successful photos came from a move from the original window I had been using.  That was causing shadow problems all along, and I had been too lazy to move.  Once I moved, it was a lot better.

2. Learn to use the camera (White balance, focus, etc).  Still need work on this.

3. Work in batches.  Saves time in the long run because of set up, etc.  Better for consistent light and coordination of backgrounds.

4.  If you question something... just change it.  I knew this all along, but it's really easy to just settle, or take what you "can get."  I knew I needed/wanted better photos, but I just couldn't find the time/resources/motivation to get it together.  This idea applies to a lot of stuff.  I'm trying to remember to keep this in mind.  It's really easy to ignore out of habit or convenience... but when you know it needs to be changed... just make time to do it.

5.  I need more time/patience to do this stuff. 

1 comment:

maiaoming said...

Is it annoying of me to say I actually prefer the gradient backgrounds??? Cuz I do. Still, it's interesting to see the change in technique - looks good!