Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tips for Improving Your Product Photos Part 2 of 3!!


Now that you know how to use your camera to get accurate pictures, you need to learn how to play with lighting to create dramatic photo’s.

Many people prefer natural lighting and will wait for the perfect, sunny day to go outside and take pictures. For me that just doesn’t work with my schedule, and I don’t want to go out in the heat or the cold. So I invested in a light box. A light box helps distribute the lighting evenly so it reduces harsh shadows. You can make your own lightbox easily or buy one fairly cheap on sites like ebay. They come as kits with the lights, and several backdrop options.

Here is a great article on how to make your own box if you would prefer that:

I have my lightbox on my kitchen island and two table top lights setup on each side of the box. The bulbs are daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs. The table top lights can hold 5 bulbs total, and each bulb is 5000k. This type of bulb is low heat and creates a nice natural light. Most setups are 3 main light sources, with 500 watts on the top and then 250 watt bulbs on each side.

Another important note is that other light sources can interfere with the colors in your photos. So it is important to only use the lights for your setup and no others. For instance, my light tent and light sources are on the kitchen island but I never turn on the overhead light in the kitchen while doing the photographs. I learned that tip in the forums a long time ago and I think it is one many don’t know about, but if your light sources are mixed it will affect the colors of your photograph.

You should experiment with where you place your lighting in relation to your product. For instance, when shooting pearls if you place your light on top it will actually help create more dimension. The pearls will appear more round and full with that type of lighting and only one light for pearls.

Did you know you generally shouldn’t you flash with your product photos? The flash tends to create harsh shadows, and reflections that are distracting. Especially when shooting close ups.

The key to getting a photo you love is to have fun and play around with the setup. Take 10 or more photo’s of each item. You will want to use 5 of those for your etsy listing so having a lot to choose from will help. Look at the shadows and reflections. Maybe you want a soft reflection of your piece in the shot, so experiment with that.

Here is a great tip, once you learn the best set up for yourself get a log book out and take notes on all of the details. If you have certain angles for rings, and other angles for necklaces write it all down. This will save you time since you won’t have to experiment every time in the future. Write down where you set the lights, how many lights you were using, where you positioned the camera etc.

The next blog post is going to be longer. It has a TON of information on how to position your items, ideas on props, backgrounds, how to play with angles and create movement. Should be a lot of fun. Please comment on your ideas, and experiences so far with the tips.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tips on How to Improve Your Product Photos Part 1 of 3

Part 1: Things to do to Improve Your Product Photo’s

I am not a photography expert, but I have done an incredible amount of research in order to improve the photos of my jewelry. I strive for clear, crisp, professional looking photo’s where a person can accurately see what they are buying. Although most of my knowledge is in perfecting photographs of jewelry this could be applied to your own craft.

First, you have to learn about your camera and understand the features. Since each camera is different these ideas are just to help give you a direction. Look up your camera manual and look for these specific features and experiment. I am going to try to break down info and not use a lot of fancy terminology so please understand this is not meant to be technical, and again I am not a professional photographer.

Here is an example of one of my FIRST pics:

Here is a picture now of a product after I experiemented with these things:

1. Aperature: This is simply the opening of your lens. It controls how much light will get in for your images. Generally the smaller the number is the larger the opening is. The aperature is expressed as an F (don’t ask me why LOL) so you should see something along the lines of F2.8 or F/2.9 etc. If you are shopping for cameras a good range to look for is F1.8 - F16.  Basically you need to find where these settings are on your camera and experiment with which setting will give you the truest light.  (reference: )

2. White Balance: Have you ever had a picture come out yellow or with blue hues or other shades you don’t want and didn’t see in person? Then white balance is the issue. White balance allows you to tell the camera which object in the room is white and supposed to come out white in the picture, then the camera can tell the difference between the current color of that object and the correct color of a white object. And then shift all colors by that difference.

3. Macro Setting: Most cameras have a little flower icon on them. This is your macro settting. It helps your camera focus in on small objects. When trying to capture a close up this is the mode you should have your camera in. One note, it takes a little while for the camera to adjust when switched to this mode. You can help by putting your hand in front of the lens to get it to focus.

4. No flash! Most of the time flash will create a harsh lighting, or reflections, and shadows that aren’t very appealing. This is especially true for jewelry, sparkly items. If you use flash when taking a picture of a watch face you will see the glare in the watch face instead of the actually numbers and hands.

One last tip for this post is to use a Tripod. If your photo’s are fuzzy it could be from movement of the camera. Keeping the camera still will help a lot. Next week I am going to go into detail about lighting. Where to have your lights, what type of lights, how many lights!! Lights lights lights! I will talk about lightboxes, how to make them yourself or where you could buy them. For now, find your manual and experiment with these features. I would really love to hear what you find on your camera, and if these make a difference in your photo’s.

THANKS! This is Part 1 of 3. (Part 2 is lighting, Part 3 is staging/props)


Friday, July 23, 2010

10 Ways To Boost Your Etsy Shop Traffic and Sales!

I recently re-committed to my Etsy shop after a lot of turmoil in my life.  Through a lot of reading of Etsy Storque articles and the Etsy forums I gathered a lot of valuable information and started to work every day on my shop.  I thought I would share some of the basics you should strive for to help your shop grow.  I would say the one thing to keep in mind is there won't be a magic bullet solution that will work for everyone or bring instant traffic.  Build upon these ideas and tweak them to work for you and your shop.  And be patient.  These changes takes time to truly take full effect and build momentum.

1. Photos: Try to get functional pictures. If you are selling an eyeglass leash, show the leash on a pair of glasses. Help the buyer picture the use of your item. For my rings, I have been adding in angles of the ring on a finger. Use ALL 5 slots to show every angle you can.  Strive for clean, professional, uncluttered photos.

2. SEO – I read and re-read the articles on how to optimize my shop. If you google czech glass button rings or just czech glass rings my shop pops up usually in the very 1st slot of the 1st page. I changed all of my section names to keywords for my jewelry. I utitilzed my shop title to have keywords, and my shop announcement has keywords too. NO “welcome to my shop”. Plus I do the same thing with the title and descriptions. Did you know if you have a lot of similar items and you title them pretty much the same google won’t index the same/duplicate listing? So each listing you should strive to make them unique and separate to help.

This is a great article in the Etsy Storque on how you can improve your SEO in your shop:

3. TAGS: I guess this could fall under SEO too, but I did it separate for this post. I still struggle with tags. Use all 14 tags is my basic rule, and to use a variety. But a really good Storque article gives a great base of what you should cover in your tags:

4. Policies: Please fill in ALL policies. Be detailed about it. Return policies, if you can stand behind your work and be willing to refund/exchange, replace. Explain when you will ship, which carrier you use to ship…. The more info you have the more confident your buyer will be. This is controversial and have had many threads started on it but do not put you are not responsible for lost packages! You ARE! Again if you want people to buy you need to give them the confidence that they will get what they pay for, stand behind your work to be truly successful.

5. Profile: Really the bottom line, when you start on etsy you should click on every single button/option under “my etsy”. And fill in everything you possibly can. This include a bio about yourself, people feel more comfortable to purchase if they feel like they know you. And it should include your location. Etsy has a great feature for people to shop local so this will help you find more buyers to fill in your location, PLUS if I am looking for something I need quickly then the location will affect who I buy from. Don’t just put your city, or even just state… I don’t know every single city in the world so I still may not really know where you are if that is all you provide. Make it clear where you are.

6. Create a Theme/Feel for your business.  Create a brand. Use your banner and avatar to portray your image. Let people know what you sell, and what type of feel you want to create with your shop. Maybe you want a whimsical feel, or maybe more sophisticated.  Don’t use your dog, or your own face in your avatar. The avatar is visible in the forums, and I never feel this huge urge to click on a face of someone to see what they are about, but I will click on an avatar that is a beautiful product that intrigues me… so that I see what else they sell.  An interesting detail that many may not think about is the color scheme you use.  Think long and hard on the colors you use for your brand. Different colors evoke a variety of feelings in people. What type of feeling do you want to try to evoke? Check out this fun article on more details:

7. Marketing/Promoting: This is really key. This can include a lot so this will be a little involved.  This is another amazing thread with a list of websites you can use to put links of your shop on, or chat and promote… or place ads. Very useful list of ideas, use this as a starting point:

Consider a blog if you don’t do it already. This keeps fresh content near the top of google that will link back to your shop.  I have had a lot of success with social networking sites, like Facebook and twitter. But many hate social networking. Find what works for you. I would say if you choose this route the key is building relationships. And don’t look at every option as a way to make money, it is a way to network. To find new sources, to gain valuable feedback, to test new products. Obviously the bottomline is important (money) but there is a lot of things to be gained from social network sites.

8.  Use visual adds, such as business cards, brochures, and such. Be creative, get different shapes, sizes, use colors to your advantage and get them out there. I try to do several craft shows a month and hand out a ton of cards. Make your business cards useful so that people will hopefully reference them and keep them. Otherwise they will end up in the trash  LOL

9.  Stock and inventory of your store!  Strive to find a niche.   A unique product that is also desirable should be your goal.  I have found the more I list the more views/traffic/sales I receive.  Each item you list in your shop adds 10 more tags into your shop to be found on etsy searches.  If you use keywords in your titles and descriptions, each keyword in each listing is more exposure on Etsy and through search engines.  If you can't list everyday then you can try renewing.  I generally don't renew but many have had huge success with it. 
This is a nice blog on an experiment on renewing, many people have huge success with renewing:

10.  Pricing:  If you are doing this as a business and want to make a profit then you have to master pricing. This is another topic that could be a book on its on. I won’t get into all the things you should include and count etc. But here is a great article on some basics. I have found having a broad price range in my shop helps attract more customers and sales.  Even though I have 300 sales in my etsy shop I have actually sold 5 times that offline. So don’t forget to price for wholesale and consignment options. Your etsy shop can’t undercut those accounts so you have to plan ahead with your prices to give yourself the option to sell offline/in person.

In the last 2 months my google analytics show a steady increase in my views to my shop.  I had 48 sales last month!!  And for July I have had 22 items sell in 23 days!  But go back to May and I only had 9 sales for the entire month.  These tweaks have definitely helped.

I will close this out by saying… SET GOALS!! Set high goals and strive to achieve them. Always want to improve. I want to improve my packaging, I still want to work on photo’s, I want a broader product line, I want to sell 500 items on etsy now… Set small goals (daily/weekly/monthly), and set long term goals yearly goals… these will keep you focused and keep you on track for success!!

Good luck everyone! Thank you to all of you that have helped me with the craziest questions, and those that have supported me!!!! On to another 300 sales!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swarovski Crystal Elements Button Ring GIVEAWAY!

So I have decided to promote a giveaway in my etsy shop.

I have created very unique rings, from Swarovski elements buttons.  They have huge sparkle.  I have a variety of colors and shapes.  If you win you get to pick which Swarovski ring you want from my shop.

I have a red magma color this is just stunning.

There are black onyx colors, light pink, topaz, even Peridot for an upcoming August Birthday!

Honestly I carry big, bling rings, to small, delicate rings to fit anyone's needs.  Beautiful Mocca, silver, copper, aquamarine and more.
Please check out my shop to see the full choices.

So if you want a chance to win one of these this is what you need to do.


Just retweet this message through twitter. The 1000th RT will be the winner!

WIN a FREE Swarovski Ring 1000th RT wins, max 1 RT per hour

 Here is my twitter account:

Check back frequently to my blog to find out who the winner is!!! 
Thanks so much for your support.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christmas In July 15 - 24th on Etsy

Absolutely amazing deals are being offered on right now!!  Christmas in July sales and specials are not just holiday themed items.  You can find amazing items to spoil yourself, or gifts for others, OR just start shopping for holiday gifts now!  Once you go to Etsy's site, you can type in "CIJ" or "christmasinjuly" to find great deals!!  But don't forget to check out my shop for amazing Handcrafted jewelry! 

I am offering 2 specials!  BOGO - Buy 1 ring, get the 2nd ring 50% off (lower priced ring 50% off)

OR  20% off of your entire order  (if you aren't buying rings this is for you)
Here is a sneak peek of some of the items you can find in my shop

New Clay Button rings:

New Swarovski Crystal Elements Button Rings:

And beautiful New necklaces too!

Thanks so much for reading :) 
WIN a FREE Swarovski Ring 1000th RT wins, max 1 RT per hour

Just retweet that message through twitter.  Here is my twitter account: