Thursday, March 10, 2011

Photo Editing Tutorial

I believe that its important for your shops to have cohesive style throughout.

Same backgrounds with limited props.

I know we don't all have white walls in our houses and not all of us have that added luxury of natural daylight, but this doesn't need to hinder you in your pursuit to achieve the perfect photograph for your shop.

We are going to look and see how with just a few dollars and a little imagination, we can encourage more clicks on your products.

So before we start do you have the following in front of you, a cup of coffee and a notepad and pen.
You do ..... then lets begin.

The first three pictures you will see will show you I have no natural light in the room I take my photographs in.
What they will show you is what you are going to need to achieve better photographs

This is just good old fashioned brown wrapping paper taped to a wall. why brown? I will tell you in a moment.
So what you see here is a sheet of Bristol board.... nothing fancy just white Bristol board taped to the brown wrapping paper.

So the reason I use the brown wrapping. Its easier to edit a photo if I happen to catch some of the brown in the picture then editing the wall .... it also gives me a wider angle to work in., and the white board doesn't get dirty ripped yes but dirty no.
Lights ..... Walmart .... simple as that.

I sometimes keep the shades on I sometimes take them off. I have two sets which can be used either side of the object Im taking a photography of . This way Im not fighting to work in the day time only, I can take photographs any time I chose.

So now we have the basics of what we need to take a photograph.

Remember, anyone can grab a camera, point and shoot.

As long as the photograph is in focus, what you do next is what will make it stand out in a crowd.

Ive done this tutorial all in Picnik.

Picnik is awesome if you have limited skills and no real money to spend on a editing program.

You can upload up to 5 photos at a time if you use it free or 100 photos if you pay $25 a year.

(Please note on the free program you are limited to what you can do on picnik but its enough to upgrade all your photographs. This tutorial was all done on the free program)

So here is my photo.
which I uploaded from my computer on to Picnik.

I chose to photograph a bowl as someone had expressed a concern about taking photos of larger objects.
The principle is going to be the same with a smaller object like a ring or earrings.
Note the circle in the left hand corner. this is showing you a portion of the brown wrapping paper.

 Next you go to editing and look for auto fix in the left hand corner of your screen. Auto fix just makes life so much easier for you when it comes to editing later on.

Next re-size the photo.
You have two options Use percentages and Keep proportions click both and it will take the photo down to 100x100.
Your photo wont look any different but Picnik will be able to work with it easier and it wont slow the program down at all.

The next step is Exposure.
This is where it can look a bit scary ... you will need to click on advanced, and a graphic bar will appear.

This area is what I call POP.

We are now going to make your picture POP ... stand out ... 

Sometimes when we take a photograph it can look flat and lifeless. 

And without confusing you and giving you loads of technical terms ... what all this really means is its the difference between getting no views and getting a potential sale.

So who knows how to do this? Well you don't have to know, all you have to do is click the advanced button and move the bars a little to the right. 

Drag the "Highlights" slider until the graph bars on the right side of the graph get close to the right edge of the graph.
Now drag the "Shadows" slider until the graph bars on the left get close to the left side.
And there you go you just popped your photo
Next if you feel it needs it you can play with the brightness toggle.

What you are doing here is removing the shades that your object has created when you took your photo. 
You don't have to remove it all but you can take away the looming shadow.

Did the color go a bit off? Maybe, but don't worry that's easy fixed.

Go to color and first click on the picker. The picker helps you pick out the color you want to put right, in my case it was the bowl its self. I needed to remove the cream/yellow from it when I had played with the exposure.
I clicked on the picker then I clicked on the white background, then the bowl and it fixed it for me.
You can then play with the Saturation and temperature bars to finalize your color.

See how the bowl is back to being white and it still has that stand out quality.

Now we are going to crop the photograph.
Remember Etsy is a indie market, with a catalog feel to it.
When I look at a product, yes I want to know what I'm looking at but, I also want to be drawn to it in some sort of artistic way.
So click on crop and this is what you will see, a grid box .
Remember you need to keep in mind how you crop don't just slice and dice and think on poo I cut to much off.... Take your time and really look at the picture... your an artist, crop like one.

So here is the crop.
You can still tell its a bowl, the patten on the bowl is still very much visible, but its a bit more pleasing to the eye. Its crisp and clear. 
The eggs just peeking through the top gives you an idea of what the bowl can be used for also.

Now lets save it.
When saving its important to remember that Etsy had size requirements.

They (Etsy) say that if you save your photos to 1000 pixels (height) that you wont get cropped in the gallery view, but what you do need to look at is weather your photo is landscape or portrait.
There is a sizing box to the left of the screen when you come to save.
I recommend (after much playing around and loading photos on to Etsy to see what size would be best)
that you save your photo to 1000 height if portrait or 1000 width if landscape, the other number will generate  its self.
Picnik doesn't seem to work with pixels, and if it does it isn't specified.

Here is the photo loaded into Etsy.
this is what everyone is going to see when they find my product.
What photos you use next should match the artist view of the first but really it will not matter if its cropped slightly in the galley as your first picture will be so stunning no one will notice.

This photo is also Treasury worthy.
The background is plain it will match with most other photos you find on Etsy ...... and is more likely to be used.

I was looking at some shops the other day and I came across one shop that had totally revamped their photos.... and I sent her an email and just said how nice it was all looking, and here is what she said back.

Thanks so much, that means a lot. Especially from you, your stuff is great. I get featured in a couple treasuries a week now and it's a real honor. I love the Etsy community :)

The shop was Libunnyfoofoo 
Go check it out ....  

I really hope this has helped some of you ...... 
If anyone has any question regarding this post leave me a comment and I will be sure to get back to you.

 These here are the before and after..... and I know which one I would click on.

( Thanks to Paint The Moon... the template that I use to show the before and after  is a download from Paint The Moon)


  1. Wonderful tutorial! Thank you. I will pass this along :)

  2. Yes. Awesome job. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  3. I just read the tutorial. It was very helpful. Thank you so much!


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