Wednesday, December 8, 2010

warming up cold light in winter photos

I have been struggling to take item photos lately, as the cold winter light robs my items of their true colours. I listed six new items, only to have those photos look terrible in comparison to item photos I took in the summer and autumn light! I was really disappointed, especially as most of the items were made of cozy wool felt and really suffered from the grey light.

However, I found a quick fix for the problem, and I thought I'd share it for other Etsy sellers who might struggle with the same issues. I am using Photoshop Elements 7, but this works in regular Photoshop, too.  It can be accomplished in GIMP, as well, doing it step by step.

This is the original photo, I have already corrected the darkness of the photo buy bringing up the brightness and contrast.  Slightly over-exposed  photos with lots of contrast look really good on Etsy, I find. However, you can see how the cold winter light leaves a grey cast on the photo, the creamy bainin wool looks grey and dingy.
The solution I found is to use one of the actions created for photoshop by The Pioneer Woman, the food and lifestyle blogger who also has a photography section.  These actions are amazing!  A lot of the arty actions change the colours too much to be suitable for Etsy, but many of the subtle light and sharpness actions are perfect for the job. I used the 'warmer' action on this photo, and the change was amazing!  Perfectly rendered warm, creamy wool, just as the item appears in real life.
I was so happy with the result!  Looking at my Etsy shop, the new items blended in with the rest of the shop so much better, and I was able to correct all of the photos from six listings in a quarter of an hour.  As I mentioned, I use Photoshop Elements, and there are versions for Elements on her blog as well.  If you use GIMP or similar, the same effect can be effected by creating a new layer and filling it with a medium caramel colour, and then setting that layer to 'soft light'.  You can adjust the transparency of the fill layer to get just the right amount of warmth to your photo.

Here's another example of using the 'warmer' action, side by side so you can see how much of a difference it is subtle, but really effective:
If you need any help installing the actions, this page is really's tricky to install them, so set up a shorcut on your desktop to drop them into once you found the right file.  Actions are a lot of fun to use, you can get a lot of the same effects that professional photographers use, and there are many free ones online, and even some for sale that are well worth it.

I hope this was helpful to someone!  If anyone has advice for how to overcome this problem in other programs and editors, please leave a comment.  I think that good photos on Etsy make us all look more professional, it's the most important part of selling, I work hard at it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

vote for me! on the Etsy Ireland blog poll


Handmade Spark is putting together a christmas gift guide, and the Crafty Ireland Team is having a poll to decide who will be featured!  We each submitted an item in different colour categories and the two top items will be used.

Of course, I entered the most hotly contested colour category, red!  Eight items were submitted.  I entered my Black Cherry Crazy Quilt Pillow. I have installed the poll in the sidebar to the left, to make it easy for you! Just choose and vote <--------here!  Click the radio button next to my item, and scroll down and click 'vote'.  Or follow this link to vote at the Polldaddy site.

If you're reading, I hope you will take a minute to vote!  There are other colour categories, too, you can see the entries and vote on the Etsy Ireland blog.  Support Irish and support handmade this christmas!

Monday, October 18, 2010

jumping through hoops

I have been absolutely useless at blogging for the past month.  Not just here!  Any blog I have, a deserted wasteland.  Tumbleweeds blowing through.  I don't know why, lets just pretend I was on an exotic holiday.

I have gotten my creative juices flowing again.  I think halloween is a bit of a disruption for me, because although it's an Irish holiday, it's not really much use to me creatively.  It doesn't lend itself to the Homespun treatment, it's so difficult to nail down in  my style.  But christmas!  Let's begin!  I am really going to try to pack my shop this year, I already have dozens of items in the wings.

I listed a few crazy quilt collages, put them in embroidery hoops as wall hangings, I really like how they turned out.  I enjoy making framed collages, but they are risky to ship with the glass.  These will be risky too, at least the delicate wooden hoops.  But I like them very much.  I feel like you'd need a few hoops to create a nice display, there are dozens of lovely ones on Etsy.  Perhaps I will post them next, now that I'm back from my holiday.

These are in my Etsy shop, you can use the little widget on your right to have a look!