Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part I

By phydeaux • Updated on 01/19/2011

Im Brenda from Phydelle and Phydeaux Designs, back for another Craft Venture! We talked last week about revisiting your pricing, all part of our January series on post-holiday shop clean up and makeovers. You can’t have a makeover without new photos, which is what we’ll talk about this week!

I’ll start this week with an immediate disclaimer:  I am by no means an expert in photography! But I can tell you without equivocation that when it comes to shopping online, we shop with our eyes first. The stronger and more appealing your photographs are, the more traffic you will have draw to your online shop.

Before you pick up your camera, spend some time working your way through a couple of crucial steps.

First step is to critically look at your photos! Are they a bit stale? Still have some Christmas, Halloween or even Fourth of July photos in your shop? Are you baffled about why your fantastic and beautiful widget just isn’t pulling in visitors? Or maybe you are rebranding your shop, building consistent styling across your photos? Ask someone for constructive criticism of your current photos (I recommend asking a successful online seller with fantastic photos for that kind of feedback, rather than your best customer or mom or spouse!).

Next step is to think about your brand, your customers, the story you want to tell with your photos and descriptions. You can tie all of this into how you style your photos!

That last step may be a little confusing if you’ve not previously thought about branding. A cohesive shop tells your visitors who you are and how they fit into your world. For instance, if you knit beautiful baby blankets and beanies, you have a defined group of people who will be interested in your goods. Your particular branding may be as simple as photographing your hand dyed yarn in a consistent fashion against a white background. You are only limited by your imagination and resources!

Also, think about your “back story” – the story you play in your head (not necessarily verbalized) as you style and photograph your widgets. How can you style your photos to fit your back story? Every photo I take for my own shops has my very own super secret back story, which drives my styling, lighting and even editing! Perhaps your back story is literally a story … a series of mini-stories told via product photos. Or perhaps it’s a theme that helps your create consistency and cohesion. Even a process or method for those with super photography skills! In all of these cases, your back story ends up being key to your overall branding.

You might be thinking this sounds like an awful lot of work, and it can be! Think of it as laying down the foundation for one of the most important aspects of your business and what is seen first by your potential customers:  your photos.

How are you doing overall with your photography? Are you consistent and cohesive? Do you have a back story? Are your product photos immediately recognizable as your own, in a sea of similar products?

Additionally, think about the product photographs that most impress you on your favorite blogs and shopping sites. What draws you to those photos? Is it the light, the styling, something else? Think about your own photos and identify what makes them so appealing.

Image c/o The summer berry stack pompom headband by Yokoo

8 comments | Click here to reply

[…] Develop your own style. This tip is an oldie but goodie from past pns contributor Brenda. Making your product shots uniquely yours is important, but it […]

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[…] I’m Brenda from Phydelle and Phydeaux Designs, with another Craft Venture post about product photography!  We started our series last week, talking about how to create your own branded photography style. […]

paper n stitch – Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part II - A daily dose of handmade, design, and style inspiration

That’s good to hear, as a complete photography novice! I really do think that the key to great product photos is finding, defining and then expressing your voice. And taking a lot, lot, lot of photos – such great advice!!! Thanks for your great insights!!


[…] paper n stitch – Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part I – A daily … […]

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I studied photo journalism, so photographing my own jewelry may not seem that big challenge. I know, I have a big adventage of knowing how to use an SLR camera, and I have a lot of experiance, but when it comes to styling my photos of my jewelry…I spent days and days trying to figure out what would work.

Basically, I like the plain white background I use usually, but after a while it can be boring. So I wanted to use something on my pictures, and started to look around what others do concerning photo styling. Of course I tried what they did, but it just did not work with my jewelry. After many trial and errors, step by step I found solutions that I call mine. But it was along way.

So my advice is, that be patient, excerise a lot and keep in mind that it finding your own photography style is a process with many experiments.


[…] paper n stitch – Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part I – A daily … […]

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I agree with you 100%, Brittni!!


Great tips Brenda. This is a subject that I feel very strongly about, so I thought I would add my two cents. 🙂 Making your product shots uniquely yours DOES NOT mean you should simply copy exactly what you see somewhere else in a successful shop. In my mind, this can be just as bad as ripping off someone else’s product designs, which happens all too often. Being inspired by the way someone else does things is wonderful, but do try to do something original, and as Brenda said, uniquely your own. Pull one thing you like from an inspiration photo, not the whole kit and kaboodle.

Natural light makes for the most beautiful photographs in my eyes. And while some people think of photos as an “after thought” to the products they create, I can speak from experience in saying, the photos you take can be MORE important than your products to people that might talk about them (i.e. bloggers, sites, magazines, etc). It may be hard to believe but, in many instances, it is absolutely true.


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