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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Read My Interview for The Art Colony

This week some of my work has been featured as Portfolio of the Week on The Art Colony.  I was also interviewed so if you were interested in finding out a little more about me, you might find it of interest.

It includes mostly very early work including pieces I did when I was 13! There are quite a few of my not so good works in there too - I always like to look to remind myself how far I've developed when I'm having a bad day!  You can read the full interview here.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Shop of the Week - Erika Price Jewellery

It's that time again & this week it's Erika Price's jewellery.  Erika is a multi-talented silversmith & jewellery maker. Erika makes one of a kind lampwork glass beads and silver jewellery pieces.

You can read an interview with Erika here and you can have a look through all the items she currently has for sale here.

Friday, 20 July 2012

How-To: Product Photography

I've been promising to start my how-to series for a while but have been so busy, it's taken me a while to get around to it.  I've been thinking about what might be the best subject to start with and funnily enough, photography seems to be the single most talked-about topic in terms of improving your Etsy (or any other) online shop.  

It makes sense really because your photos are the single best tool you have to sell your products to your customer.  Whilst it would be silly to make things look better than they actually are (bigger, glossier, brighter etc), it's just as silly to not to them justice.  You've put all this hard work into making a beautiful handmade item or piece of art so it's only fair on yourself if you put some work into photography that will do it justice.  

I'm not an expert by any means but I have learned an awful lot over the last year or so.  You only have to look at the terrible photos of the first few items I sold compared to now!

Here are some tips I compiled for the Etsy CB team, they're the ones that have helped me best.  Feel free to add any of your own in the comments below.

1. CONSISTENCY IS KING: Once you’ve settled on a style of photo, stick to it. People like to see consistency in your shop, it can really enhance your brand. Whilst people like buying handmade, they don't like things to look amateur.  This is an important difference to remember.  People love handmade but they still prefer to see a level professionalism when they buy and this includes product photography.

2. SAY NO TO FLASH! Avoid using flash – it will make items look washed out.

3. GO OUTSIDE: It's worth trying to shoot outdoors on a cloudy day, the clouds act as your very own softbox.

4. NEUTRAL BACKGROUNDS: I know there is debate about this but unless you're a particularly good photographer I say, if you can, shoot against a plain or white background. Whilst nature and home decor can look nice, it detracts from the item you want to sell. You want all the attention on your gorgeous product! You can buy a white blackout blind from Argos for a few pounds, they can be a great cost-effective alternative to buying a professional backdrop. When you've taken a photo, check if the white background looks white or if it has a blue/yellow tint to it. If it has a tint, try to move somewhere that has better lighting.

5. IT'S OK TO EDIT (a little!): Use some software to adjust the saturation levels and temperature of your finished photos so they really ‘pop’ on the screen and grab attention. There are plenty of free programmes on the market if you're on a budget - I know lots of people use Google Picasa.

6. STEADY NOW! If you’ve got one, use a tripod. A still camera can take longer exposures without blur which means more colour and more rich details for customers to see.

Camera Settings:

Depending on how many bells & whistles your camera has, here are some bits you might like to play about with to get the best from your photos. At the end of the day, the more suitable your camera settings, the less editing you need to do at the end of the process.

- FLASH - Say no to flash – flash is really bad for product photography and should be avoided, I can’t say this enough!
- ISO - Set your ISO as low as possible – lower ISO means less fuzzy ‘noise’ in the photo. If you find you can't shoot with the ISO low, it means you need to shoot in better light.
- SHUTTER SPEED: Slower shutter speed (much easier with a tripod or the camera resting on a steady surface) - Your camera may not have this option, don't worry if it doesn't.
- TIMER: Consider using the timer if your camera has one – that way you won’t cause any shake when you press & release the shutter
- APERTURE: Not all cameras will allow you to control this but if yours does, generally f8-f11 seems to be good for bringing products nicely into focus
- WHITE BALANCE: On my own camera I find it's best to set this to auto but you might find it worth trying the different presets on your camera to get the right one.

That's it for now, if I think of anything else I'll add it.  In the meantime, happy snapping! 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Christmas in July

Crazy or what?  Yes, Etsy is running Christmas in July for the most organied of you who want to start stocking up on gifts & goodies for December.  Or perhaps you're not that organised and you're just looking for a bargain - it doesn't matter the reason really.  What's great is that 1000s of Etsy shops are offering special discounts.

To get into the spirit of things I'm offering a lovely 20% off everything from today until the end of July. Simply use CIJ20 at the checkout.

You can visit my Etsy shop here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Shop of the Week 19 & 20

Dear me, I've been so busy this last month I keep falling behind on the Craft Britannia Shop of the Week.  Well here are two from this week and last for you.

First up is Muntjac Vintage run by the super lovely Nadine Britton.  As the name suggests, Nadine's shop sells lovely vintage items such as these cute Russian dollies!  You can view an interview with Nadine on the CB blog here.

Second up is Phoenvix, a jewellery shop run by Carrie.  Carrie makes mostly one of a kind pieces due to the way she sources her beads.  You can read an interview with Carrie here

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I'm doing a very special offer for the 4th of July celebrations - 25% off everything in my Etsy store.  Simply use the coupon code JULY4 at the checkout.

The discount includes all paintings - those in stock and custom orders, and all prints as well.  If you've had your eye on something then now is the time to buy.  The offer will be running until midnight Sunday 8th July 2012.

Craft Britannia Treasure-thon

Last night the Craft Britannia Etsy team had a treasure-thon.  For those of you who don't use Etsy or treasuries, you may be wondering what on earth that is!  Well, in a nuthsell treasuries are a place on Etsy where members curate galleries of items they've found on Etsy.  If Etsy likes them, they may be selected for the front page meaning extra visitors for the people featured and the person creating the treasury.

MissBelle UK had the idea for us to have a treasure-thon where we spent 3 hours making as many treasuries as we could, featuring at least 6 team members in each one.  Between us we created over 120 treasuries in 3 hours and we got the tag for the treasure-thon trending.  We were only expecting to do around 50 so it went pretty well!  Hopefully at least one will make the front page for Etsy Europe.  It was great fun anyway and we're talking about making it a regular thing.  Perhaps I'll let you know in advance of the next one.  You can view all the treasuries we made here if you'd like to see them.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


I've learned a great deal since I began selling my art online, particularly Etsy, and I now find myself giving advice and sharing tips with new artists and makers on various aspects of photograping, promoting, and selling online.

I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination - I feel I still have a lot to learn - however I thought it would be good to share some of the info I've learned both as an Etsian and also from running websites over the years.

Topics I'm going to be covering include:

  • Product photography
  • SEO
  • Building and running a website
  • Getting start on selling on Etsy
  • Promoting yourself
  • Pricing
These are the main things that come to mind but I may add more as I go.  Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know and if I can help, I'll do my best to share some info.