Craft Venture: engaging the senses

By phydeaux • Updated on 10/22/2021

Welcome back to Craft Venture! I’m Brenda from Phydeaux Designs. Last week, we talked about the difference between “marketplaces” and “exhibitions.” This week, we’ll talk about how to improve your chances for acceptance into online exhibitions via your product photographs.

Because you’re selling your wares online, your potential buyers (and exhibit site owners) aren’t able to touch or smell your products. They aren’t able to see for themselves how long your scarf is or how heavy your vase. You have to engage your viewers’ senses and you do so using your photographs and descriptions! We’ll start with photographs this week.

cactus body mist by savor

I adore the photo Savor used for her Cactus body mist (above). Pretty, feminine and simplicity at its finest, this photo leads me to actually click on the product to find out more. You can almost feel a gentle cool breeze through the sheer curtain. I don’t know that I would purchase a body mist without finding out about how it smells and feels; however, the photo did a great job of pulling me in to read the description. My sense of “sight” has been successfully engaged!

Lighting is key for successful photos. When I started selling online, I was a fledgling photographer at best. I read everything I could get my hands on and asked my photographer friends for tips. The one hands down universal tips is this:  natural light. Savor has harnessed natural light in such a lovely way, filtering it through the sheer curtains. Sheer clean curtains – I have seen many a photo with less than clean curtains. Make sure your setting is clean!

blue curl pendant by tresijas

TresijasBlue Curl Pendant photo does a fabulous job of balancing texture and color. The pendant’s colors and texture is nearly mesmerizing:  glossy, smooth, lined, both sharp and rounded edges. The stunning cobalt blue really pops against the earthy terra cotta or brick. Natural light at its best, again!

If you want to figure out how to improve your photos, study and learn from great photos. Not necessarily your pal’s photos, but photos that really knock your socks off. National Geographic photos (they even have photo tips!). Photos from best selling artisans and from successful professional photographers. Flickr is a fantastic learning lab, with professional and amateur photographers posting their pictures online.

Tresijas used her camera’s “macro” feature to create a sharp, in focus foreground and slightly less focused background. Most digital cameras have a macro function, which allows you to take super close up photos, showing more detail than you can see with the naked eye. Spend some time browsing macro photos online and learning how to use this for your own photos! Here’s a flickr group that you can start with. (Note:  if you don’t know how to use your camera’s macro function and can’t find your camera’s guide, find the guide online via your camera’s manufacturer!)

winged messenger earrings from leavesofglass

I learned about macro photography after studying the product photos that I loved the best:  jewelry! My own photos improved hundredfold after learning tips and tricks from jewelry photos. Leaves of Glass’ incredible Winged Messenger earrings photo is a great example to learn from. Note that the background nearly melts away, allowing the earrings to really pop off the screen. She’s taken advantage of natural light, likely on her windowsill, but not glaring or harsh natural light. In fact, the best natural light photos use diffuse light, either early morning or late afternoon. Diffuse light reduces glare and harsh shadows.

This photo is another wonderful mix of texture and color:  the dark crimson glossy bead and shiny brass against the book’s linen and bits of thread, with a hint of window screen in the background. Strong colors against a neutral background – these earrings leap out at you!

Photos are the first step to engaging the senses – the window display for your online shop. You want to convert your casual window shoppers to engaged viewers and buyers. You want exhibition owners to want to see more. Your first photo should be your absolute best photo! You might be a little more “artsy” or daring with your first photo – you want to draw people in to your shop with that photo. Try to use all available photo slots! Can’t think of another way to take a photo? Show the back of your product!

You have a nearly infinite number of photography resources at your fingertips:  the world wide web! In fact, you can spend time studying the photos right here on Paper and Stitch.

I’d love to hear about your experiences and your own tips and tricks, as well as what you hope to learn more about. What is your number one tip for superb photographs? What do you want to improve in your own photographs?

Next week:  Product descriptions – writing and editing tips

Product photos: savor, tresijas, Leaves of Glass

Image credit:  1. Cactus Body Mist by savor, 2. Blue Curl Pendant by tresijas, 3. Winged Messenger Earrings by Leaves of Glass

4 comments | Click here to reply

[…] your chances for acceptance to juried exhibitions and marketplaces.  Last time, we talked about photographing your wares.  Now we’ll talk engaging the senses using words:  your descriptions, profiles and […]

paper n stitch - Craft Venture: writing to engage the senses (the mechanics)

Great tips, Katy – your photos are incredible!


Excellent, brilliant article, Phy! GReat job.


My tip for good photography, is get right on the piece with your macro setting and turn that flash off! Natural light is the best, shows off the piece in the natural setting the and color balance is the truest.
I love taking pictures, of flowers and bugs and especially my jewelry. practice makes perfect. Dont be afraid to experiment with different background too!
Katy at

South Paw Studios
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