tips on photographing your crafts
In order to market yourself and your crafts good photographs are a
necessary part of your marketing plan. Not only to send out for inclusion
in marketing pieces or for jurying into high end shows, but for on line
display and putting in printed pieces. It is also a good idea to document
your items so you have a record after a sale.
At first, your may not be able to afford to hire a professional photographer.
Depending on the type of craft you are marketing, you can try and do
it yourself, but don’t expect them to be of the quality you need
for shows and glossy printed pieces. Books like Photographing Arts, Crafts & Collectibles: Take Great
Digital Photos for Portfolios, Documentation, or Selling on the Web can be quite helpful. Below are some hints for recording
and documenting the crafts you have already made.
1. OUTSIDE: Take your craft item outside and using
a decent digital camera (mounted on a tripod, set your craft
item up against a neutral background. Use a gray sheet and
make sure it is pressed) and frame the piece so that you only
see the item, not much background. On a bright day, don’t
shoot into the sun, keep the sun behind you. It is best not
to have your item in dark shadow or bright sunlight. There
are a lot of books on photographing your artwork that will
2. INSIDE: Setting up a photo booth is a commitment in time,
energy and materials. You may not get the quality you need for color
postcards, but you can get something good enough for black and white
reproduction and websites. Set aside a table or large box that will
be your shooting area. Line it with neutral fabric or paper (gray is
best). Add a riser or props (such as books, a wooden box, something
that can lift small items off the flat surface) and surround the sides
with light colored board (it reflects your light best). If you can,
use translucent fabric or paper and light your items from below and
the sides, but not enough to wash out the image. When you photograph
your craft item, be sure to measure the light from the item, not the
entire set so the photo is not over exposed.
3. JEWELRY AND VERY SMALL ITEMS: If you are lucky enough to
have a scanner and some photoshop or image manipulation training, then
a scanner work very well for jewelry and beads. Scan at the highest
resolution you can. Put a white box over the piece so there is a “light
box” effect. And make sure that the glass is clean, the piece
is straight and your background is as solid as you can get it. After
scanning, take you image into your image program and up the contrast,
add more saturation and try and make your background as neutral as you
Why should you document the items you create?
Lets say you are asked to make a sample item to be considered for a
bulk order. You make 3 or 4 and send them off to be reviewed. You will
be set to make edits and discuss any changes as you view that image.
What do you do with the rest? Others may have the same request…
so you can now sell all of those items (not just the one chosen) as
a custom order as well.
Let’s say you make something and 2 years later the buyer wants
more. How do you remember what materials you used?
And the list goes on.
When you photograph a completed project, put a copy of the photo along
with your supply list and any instructions you may not remember into
Make a portfolio, with a separate item on each page. Include descriptive
details as well as pricing, time it takes to complete, and approximate
lead time for supplies to be ordered and the project completed. This
is your reference.