Tag: advice

Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues and Conflicts for WordPress Sites: from your friends at GypsySpoonful.com

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and … read more

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues

 Support : Troubleshooting

GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and cookies.

Supported Browsers

Some browser issues may be caused by the browser itself. For optimal viewing and security we recommend that you keep your browser up to date. You’ll find a list of the latest browsers at Browse Happy.

We, at GypsySpoonful.com,  recommend that you use any of the latest versions of browsers on Browse Happywith the exception of Google Chrome -for optimal performance with WordPress.com sites such as ours. For whatever reason (and it may be a theme compatibility issue here on our site) Chrome does NOT play nice with GypsySpoonful.com. Chrome causes it to drag and load very slowly.

A note about Internet Explorer: Due to browser incompatibility, some themes are not fully functional in Internet Explorer 10 or earlier. If you are using Internet Explorer 10 or below we recommend upgrading your browser for an optimal experience.

Support : Browser Issues

Force Refresh

A force refresh or reload will cause the browser to re-check with the web server to make sure it has the latest copy of the web page you are viewing. Here are keyboard shortcuts for force refreshing your browser:

  • Windows: Ctrl + F5
  • Mac/Apple: Apple + R or Cmd + R
  • Linux: F5

Clearing Your Browser Cache

If you are experiencing problems displaying WordPress.com pages, clearing the browser cache is a good first step to try to resolve the issue.

Each time you access a web page, your web browser stores a temporary copy of the files needed to display the web page to you. Those temporary files are called the browser cache. If your cache is not updating properly or if it’s stuck, you could be viewing an older version of some of the supporting files that run WordPress.com. If you clear the cache, this will force your browser to fetch all of the files for a website again, so you will see the most recent version of the page.

Instructions for clearing your browser cache will be different for each browser and version.

Note: It is also possible for your Internet Service Provider to create a cache at the network level. This means that instead of viewing the WordPress.com web servers for some files, the ISP has created a cache to store files on their network to try to reduce bandwidth costs and also to make loading some web pages faster. If a network-side cache is causing you trouble, you most likely just need to wait for it to clear out on its own. And in a situation where you can’t reach your WordPress.com website via browser, you can confirm it’s caused by your ISP by checking whether your website is up for the rest of the world.

Clearing WordPress.com Cookies

WordPress.com requires the use of browser cookies in order for our site to work properly. If you have trouble with some sections of your site, you may wish to check to make sure you have cookies enabled.

If you can’t clear out your username/password from showing up in the browser when you try to log in, you may need to clear your WordPress.com-specific cookies. Generally, unless you have privacy concerns, we would not recommend that you clear all browser cookies, as that will affect your experience using other websites.

Check that JavaScript is enabled

The My Sites pages on WordPress.com, including stats, the post and page editors, customizer, checkout, and account setting pages, use a type of code called JavaScript to work. If you have JavaScript disabled, most of what makes WordPress.com work won’t be able to load in your browser. Some theme features, like post sliders and slide-out menus, also use JavaScript.

For the best experience on WordPress.com you need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. This page will tell you whether you have JavaScript enabled or not, and has instructions how to enable it in the most popular browsers.

Note that some ad-blockers and anti-virus browser extensions can sometimes block JavaScript. Try disabling those extensions and check if the My Site pages work correctly. If so, add an exception for WordPress.com to the browser extension/add-on, and it shouldn’t block our code any more.

Logging out/Preview issues

If you find yourself getting logged out from WordPress.com frequently and are having trouble posting to your blog, or if you’re having difficulty using the Preview option, it’s possible you don’t have third-party cookies enabled in your browser.

More Troubleshooting

If you are still having trouble, here are a few more things you can try:

  • Upgrade your browser and Flash Player to the latest version available.
  • Make sure wordpress.com, wp.com and their subdomains (*.wordpress.com / *.wp.com) are not blocked by your browser. This also applies to your firewall or anti-virus software settings if you have any.
  • Try an alternate browser. If it works, then the issue is with the browser settings. Look for troubleshooting tips on your browser’s support documentation.
  • Try an alternate computer in the same location. If another computer works, then the issue is computer settings on the first one.
  • Try an alternate location that has a different Internet Service Provider. If it works, the issue is with your local network.
  • Try disabling IPv6. If this works, the issue is with your local network, but you don’t need IPv6 so you’re all set!
Theordore Roosevelt The Man In The Arena quote

Motivation Monday Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated: You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the … read more

Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship: A Lesson From Theodore Roosevelt

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated:

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.

Boxing is a good analogy for developing bossbabes because it’s all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, they have to prepare and train to become successful.

One of this country’s greatest leaders was a fan of boxing: President Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, one of his most famous quotes uses  a boxing analogy

Theodore Roosevelt

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
download PDF of complete speech

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

*TR (Teddy Roosevelt’s nickname) was known for regular boxing and judo sessions, challenging horseback rides, and long, strenuous hikes. A French ambassador who visited Roosevelt used to tell about the time that he accompanied the president on a walk through the woods. When the two men came to the banks of a stream that was too deep to cross by foot. TR stripped off his clothes and expected the dignitary to do the same so taht they could swim to the other side. Nothing was an obstacle to Roosevelt.

Of all the leaders this nation has ever had, Roosevelt was one of the toughest-both physically and mentally. But he didn’t start that way. America’s cowboy president was born in Manhattan to a prominent wealthy family. As a child he was puny and very sickly. He had debilitating asthma, possessed very poor eyesight, and was painfully thin. His parents weren’t sure he would survive. When he was twelve, young Roosevelt’s father told him, “You have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must MAKE the body.” and make it , he most certainly did. TR began training every single day physically, building his body as well as his mind, and he did that for the rest of his life.

Roosevelt didn’t become a great leader overnight either. His road to the presidency was one of slow, continual growth. He improved himself and in time, he became a strong leader. Roosevelt’s list of accomplishments is remarkable. Under his leadership, the United States emerged as a world power. He helped the country develop a first-class navy. He was that the Panama Canal was built. He negotiated peace between Russia and China, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.  On January 6, 1919 he died in his sleep. Then vice president Marshall said,

“Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight”

When they removed him from his bed, they found a book under his pillow. Up to the very last, TR was still striving to learn and improve himself.

*Source: Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell

Slow and Steady Wins the Race Quote

What are the takeaways we can learn from Roosevelt that may apply to our lives as Entrepreneurs?

1. Be FIERCE : obstacles will come, it’s how you approach those obstacles. Are you going to say , “It’s too hard, we can’t cross this stream, it’s too deep” and turn back? Or will you strip naked and lead the way? Nothing in life is easy. Entrepreneurship isn’t for sissies. You have to get in there, roll up your sleeves and be FIERCE. Are you stronger than the obstacles in your path?

2. Even a great leader like TR started off small. He wasn’t expected to survive from his own parents! If that’s not a kick in the teeth, then I don’t know what is! Of all people in the world, you want those who love you and you share your life with to believe in you and your dreams, it’s hard when you don’t get the support you’d like. But what did TR do? He set out to prove them wrong. He was CONSISTENT, he worked towards his goal of strengthening his body every.single.day. Consistency wins the prize in owning and operating a small business. Many times it can be isolating, people in our family would rather share a celebrity’s status or meme on social media. Your loved ones may shop at a big box store rather than supporting your small shop.. you can’t control other people, you can only change how you react to them. Seek out OTHER support from friends, or like-minded individuals and other small business owners. The community at Gypsy Spoonful is a great source of strentgh, knowledge and inspiration for me everyday. I am so thankful to have people that cheer me on and totally GET what I am trying to do with my life. Everyone starts off small, it’s up to YOU to seek out ways to grow and learn new things to embolden your entrepreneurial spirit.

” slow, continual growth.”

3. The mind and body combination is important, It was once said by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can or can not, you’re right” . Your mental attitude determines your outcome most of all. TR blazed a trail where no one dared to go before. He traveled all over the world pursuing adventures. Each trip, each adventure prepared him for the next one. He built knowledge upon his experiences. We all fail and fall short, just like the man in the arena~ but do we get up again after we get knocked down? or do we stay down? A product might not sell, a promotion may flop… KEEP LEARNING, learn from your mistakes and build on that. Go forward with the ideas of what went wrong and how to overcome that in your future small shop “adventures”.

If you are looking for a creative community where you can find limitless support from like minded creative folks, and you feel you’ve got a great product to offer the world, Gypsy Spoonful is seeking new shop owners, please go to this page and read what we believe about handmade and how we do things. If you vibe with what we’re doing, please fill out an application. We will be screening and vetting applicants for 2019.  Go HERE

 

 

Models Vs Mannequins, the great debate rages on

Guest Blog Post: Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best … read more

Guest Blog Post:
Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years

While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best alternative options are amateur models and mannequins.

When deciding between amateur models and mannequins, you’re largely factoring a risk/reward scenario, ongoing costs, and how much you’re willing to manage people.

Models, even amateurs, are more desirable because a live body helps a customer relate to your product and adds a higher degree of professionalism, but it can also make for an unpredictable process. Mannequins are great because they’re affordable, consistent, and easy to work with.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can create quality DIY product photography with amateur models and then we’ll go over the advantages provided by mannequins.

DIY Product Photography with Amateur Models

If you want to take a professional-looking product photos with amateur models, follow these seven steps:

1. Cast a Model

If you’re going to use an amateur, there are three primary factors to consider: Your comfort level with the model, their long-term availability, and your apparel’s fit. It doesn’t matter how attractive your model is if your dress is dragging on the floor because the model is six inches too short to properly fit it.

models vs mannequins

Image credit: Pixelz

Comfort level: Communication is important and the easier time you have communicating your vision, the more efficient you will be when shooting. Also, the mood in the studio comes through in images: If you and the model are frustrated and unhappy, you’re not going to get good photographs.

Availability: Plan long-term. If you want a consistent look, especially since amateurs introduce more body type variation than professional models, it’s beneficial to use just one or two models throughout your photography. You will also find that later shoots become more efficient as you and the model increase your comfort level and understanding of each other.

Fit: How does your product look when worn by your model? Focus on the product’s appearance and make sure it’s flattering and requires as little adjustment as possible—you don’t want to create wrinkles because you’re pinning excessively to compensate for a poor fit. Sizing is key. Pick one size and use that same size throughout your photography for a consistent appearance and a more intuitive understanding of sizing by customers shopping your site later.

2. Setup Your Studio Space

Select a space that allows your model to move freely when following your instructions, but don’t choose an area so large that your model might wander out of frame. Designate specific backdrop boundaries to help herd the model and aim your camera.

Your exact equipment will vary depending on your needs and budget, but as a starting point a white backdrop like a roll of seamless white paper or a sheet is always a good idea. White backdrops are required by many ecommerce marketplaces, simplify post-production, and are easy to light in session. If you’ve never set up a studio before, here’s a guide to how to build your own photo studio on a bootstrapped budget.

Be sure to use a tripod. Camera stabilization allows for longer exposure times, improves consistency, and saves you time between shots because you don’t have to readjust your camera’s aim. The result is usually a sharper image and more of them.

3. Shape Your Light

Renting or buying lighting equipment is a big decision and a critical step when capturing product images. Lighting equipment is expensive, so take your time and invest wisely. It may not be necessary to buy equipment: If you’re not going to use a piece regularly, consider renting.

The most common product photography setups use 1-3 continuous softbox lights or 1-3 external speedlights and umbrellas. If you’re in the market, here’s a shopping guide for product photography lighting equipment.

When positioning your lights, try to mimic the softness of natural window light. Continuous softboxes do so automatically, but speedlights may be too harsh and direct even with umbrellas. If that’s a problem, angle your speedlights to either side of the model and bounce the light off nearby walls, like in the image above.

Test out your lighting setup and experiment with different options—but do it before the model arrives so you don’t waste valuable photoshoot time.

4. Position Your Model

When your model arrives on set, it’s time to communicate your vision and position them in frame. The simplest way to position them is with a classic “X marks the spot” approach. Tape an X on the floor either directly beneath their feet, or closer to the camera but in line with where they should stand (so they’re not constantly looking down). The X creates a target for the model so you don’t have to constantly ask them to move.

5. Shoot with Wide Framing

Leave space on all sides of your model when capturing the image. If you’re going to be selling your product in multiple marketplaces and channels, they may have different requirements for cropping and sizing. It’s much easier to crop down to someone’s standards than it is to try and scale up.

Even if you intend to crop out faces, arms, and legs, always keep them in frame. Again, it’s much easier to edit something out then to add it back in—if that’s even possible. You don’t want to have to reshoot.

6. Give Direction

Stay positive and build up your model’s confidence. Remember that they’re an amateur and that you want to shoot with them long-term, so help them realize their potential.

Give the model the instruction they need to help you fulfill your vision. Be clear and precise: For example, if you want the model to look in a particular direction, tell them to look at a specific object instead of pointing. Keep poses simple, so that you don’t distract from the product or lead your amateur out of their comfort zone.

7. Post-Production

After you’ve captured your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. You can edit the images yourself with this post-production guide, or you can outsource the labor to free yourself to focus on the creative aspects of your business. At Pixelz, for example, we offer a feature-rich and easy to use interface for creating specifications, uploading images, comparing before-and-after images, and rejecting images that don’t meet your standards.

The goal of image editing is to help you create high quality and consistent imagery. Steps like removing the background will create a professional impression by cutting away your DIY studio and also minimizing file size, speeding up your page loading time. Consider using post-production to make lighting adjustments, touch up skin, remove wrinkles, straighten your product, and perform cropping and resizing.

So that’s how to stage a photoshoot with an amateur model. Now, let’s take a look at mannequins.

The Case for Mannequins

stylecampaign burberry mannequins

Image credit: StyleCampaign

Even for high end fashion brands, mannequins are a budget conscious product photographer’s best friend. You can buy them for anywhere from $60-$600, depending on your needs, and that’s it. There’s no overtime, no rate hikes, and they’re always available for reshoots.

Those are the most obvious differences, but there’s more.

Mannequins Make Product Fit Easy

Whether you’re dealing with a professional or an amateur, you need to spend time when casting a model, have them try on your clothes and see if you like the way it looks. You can improve fit with styling, using pins and clips and other techniques, but you need a good foundation to build on.

Alternatively, with a mannequin, you may only need a few moments of browsing online to find the perfect one. Finding the right fit is simplified when you can click around and see exact measurements. This is especially true if all your samples are the same size and you only need one mannequin.

You’ll have less flexibility with posing, but your mannequin won’t complain about being poked or prodded while you’re styling it.

There are many types of materials mannequins are made from, but none is necessarily superior to another. It’s about a different kind of “fit” here; make sure your mannequin style matches your brand.

Branding Possibilities

Mannequins don’t communicate branding as completely as a fully styled model, but they’re not a blank slate either. We can use Anthropologie as an example; until about two years ago, they used mannequins for most of their ecommerce images. Here’s how they used to look:

anthropologie mannequin

Image credit: Anthropologie

It’s clean, vintage, and subtly decorated by a knob at the top. You don’t want your mannequin to be distracting, but anything that’s being seen by a customer should reinforce your brand positioning. If you’re bohemian, use vintage mannequins. If you’re modern, get something more sleek.

There’s also a 3D technique that’s growing in popularity: the invisible mannequin.

If you want to remove all distractions while still demonstrating fit, you can use the invisible mannequin effect. With a little planning and Photoshop know-how, you can create the effect in post-production yourself. If you don’t have the time or the desire to do it yourself, you can offload post-production to a company like Pixelz.

invisible ghost mannequin

Image credit: Pixelz

An “invisible” or “ghost” mannequin image is basically a combination of two or more images. Your product should be photographed as normal, and then repositioned in such a way that any portion that was originally covered by the mannequin can be photographed. Later, the photos are combined into a single image. For more detail, read this invisible mannequin guide that will walk you from basic principles all the way through post-production.

Which Should You Choose?

Models are essential for projecting a professional standard, while mannequins are cost-effective and consistent.

Many boutiques and brands with limited budgets combine the two with great success. You may want to consider shooting a lookbook with professional models, and using those images throughout your store for branding. You can then use amateur models or mannequins for product images.

A mixed approach will give you the best of both worlds without forcing you to choose between branding and your budget.

What have your experiences been like with models and mannequins? Do you have any tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below!


shopify-author Thomas Kragelund

About The Author

Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years.

Social Listening

8 Social Media Tools to Protect Your Reputation and Influence Conversations

Social Listening The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you. It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them? Social listening is … read more

Social Listening

Social Listening

The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you.

It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them?

Social listening is a technique for monitoring social media conversations to uncover new opportunities for your business.

With social listening, your business can identify these key moments to engage with users directly and sway their conversations in your favor.

To help you monitor conversations about your brand and transform them into new opportunities for your business, we’ve put together a collection of the top tactics and tools for social listening and media monitoring.

What Is Social Listening?

Social media is a sea of information. Content often dominates feeds, but human interaction is at its heart.

With social listening, you can track existing conversations to find opportunities for your brand to jump in and engage with prospects and existing customers. These organic relationships are the backbone of sustainable, ongoing social media growth and building a dedicated fanbase for your business.

Discovering the opportunities to build these relationships with your customers goes beyond the messages that show up in your business’ Twitter notifications. Social listening is a way for your business to monitor digital conversations at scale, saving you the massive amounts of time and effort that would be required to sort through the noise manually.

Social listening tools track posts based on keywords and phrases relevant to your business to help you find conversations that you aren’t a part of, but should be.

Why Is Social Listening Important?

Social listening is a key tactic for creating a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. It gives you an up-close-and-personal look at your customers and reveals new ways for you to connect with them and build content that reflects their values.

These raw and unfiltered conversations can provide you with a wide variety of insights about your audience. Here are the primary benefits of using social listening for your online store:

Address Indirect Complaints

In the heat of the moment, when customers are most frustrated, it’s understandable that they might not tag your brand while typing up a passionate complaint, especially since only 30% of tweets about brands actually tag their official usernames.

Unfortunately, without using a social listening tools to monitor social media feeds, these complaints would normally go unnoticed—unnoticed by you, that is.

The risk here is twofold: First, your customers will not get their issues resolved. If you can’t see their complaints, you can’t address them and help them have a successful, positive experience with your products.

Second, an unchecked complaint can spiral out of control online, fostering negative sentiment towards your brand. Not monitoring social conversations can leave your business in a vulnerable position and without the appropriate tools to protect itself. Whereas a proactive, social listening-powered approach will help you transform complaints into lifelong customers.

The key to delivering a stellar customer service experience with social listening is to go above and beyond in your response. Your customers don’t necessarily expect a resolution to their complaint since they haven’t tagged your business or product, so you need to go the extra mile to surprise, delight, and win them back

Uncover Unique Opportunities

On the other hand, social listening can also present new opportunities for your brand to create custom social media content and build relationships with your audience. By tracking keywords that are relevant to your brand, you can reach out to new customers in their moments of highest intent.

Here are the different kinds of keywords that your business should be paying attention to:

  • Brand Keywords: Words that are specifically associated with your business, including your company name and any common variations or misspellings. For instance, if your company is called Waterfall Skincare, you’ll want to track “Waterfall Skincare”, “Waterfall Skin Care”, “Water Fall Cosmetics”, etc.
  • Industry Keywords: Words that describe the kind of products or services that your store sells. For instance, a t-shirt store would track words like “clothing”, “t-shirts”, and “apparel”.
  • Location-Specific Keywords: If your business has a physical store or targets specific locations, be sure to track hashtags and keywords that are popular within the city, state, or country that you’re focusing on. For instance, a company selling Chicago souvenirs would want to track the most popular keywords within the Chicagoland area.
  • Negative Keywords: These keywords are ones that you don’t want included in your tracking. If your industry or brand name is commonly associated with non-relevant conversation topics, you’ll want to filter those out. For instance, if you sell dog toys, you’ll want to add “children”, “kids”, “babies”, etc. as negative keywords, so that you aren’t tracking conversations about children’s toys as well.

With social listening, seemingly unrelated conversations can suddenly become chances to impress new customers and engage with your current fans.

spotify twitter social listening

Image credit: Spotify on Twitter

Spotify, for example, was able to jump on this tweet despite the fact that it didn’t actually tag their Twitter account. Their response was simple and witty, humanizing their brand and making a personal connection with a loyal customer.

hilton suggests social listening

Image credit: HiltonSuggests on Twitter

Hilton has dedicated an entire Twitter account to social listening with Hilton Suggests. The account monitors keywords around the names of cities with Hilton hotels to respond to questions about dining and entertainment recommendations with suggestions for local hot spots.

Finding these moments is a three-step process, involving the collection and monitoring of conversations, followed by the analysis of these conversations to determine the intention of the speakers, and then, finally, outreach.

Intention is determined by context and context shapes the way that you should engage with the speakers.

  • What is the emotional sentiment of the conversation?
  • Will the speakers be receptive to your interaction?
  • Is this a relevant opportunity for your brand?

These questions will help you narrow down the context of the conversation and determine how your business should engage, whether that means joining in on a joke or suggesting your product as a solution to a problem.

Get Unfiltered Feedback

Want to know how your customers really feel about your products? From their biggest pain points to their favorite features, social listening gives you direct access to real, honest feedback.

The information that you pull from these interactions is highly valuable for designing better products in the future and improving your current catalogue. Pay attention to what your customers like and don’t like about your products. Try to understand their frustrations and the challenges that they run into.

Remember that negative reviews and comments aren’t personal attacks, they’re opportunities for your business to get better.

If you’ve just launched a new product, you can discover any shortcomings early on by monitoring social conversations. This can get you in front of negative reviews before they start rolling in and help you improve your current products for future customers.  Source Kevin Donnelly, Shopify Blog

If you’re looking for a place to sell your handmade products, check out this page, and to see our community in action, and how we suppport each other in our handmade community, join our Facebook Group.

Taking Better Product Photos : Guest Blogger Heidi from Stuff N’ Junk By Heidi

Taking Better Product Photos</font color> Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi! I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing … read more

Taking Better Product Photos</font color>

Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi!
I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing the photos into memory albums, but with the invention of digital cameras (and camera phones) and thanks to a busy life in general, I stopped taking as many photos. I never really learned all of the ins and outs when it came to lighting and camera functions, so when it came time to open my first online shop, my photos were dark, fuzzy and down right horrible! Over the years I have picked up some tips and tricks when it comes to product photos, so today I wanted to share some of the tools and tricks I use and how my photos have “developed” over the years.
Taking Better Product Photos

one of my first “product photos”

Before I had an online shop, I made diaper bags and baby blankets for family and friends. After many years of encouragement, I opened my first shop and my photos were far from appealing. I knew that I needed them to be “light and bright” but I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I didn’t have the extra funds to purchase high-end photography gear and I didn’t know enough about photography to know what a good value would be. My photos were dark, rough and many times blurry.
After very little research, I began mimicking what I thought looked good in other online shops. I started seeing this trend of photos on wood backgrounds. With no understanding of how it all worked, I purchased some scrapbook paper and started taking product photos. Still dark, still out of focus, I was getting frustrated.
Taking Better Product Photos

A first attempt at indirect light. The background is white cotton fabric.

Taking better product photos

Another “early days” photo, background is scrapbook paper.
There are lots of classes and free videos to coach you through photography and editing, but I got lucky and had a little one-on-one help from someone I met on Facebook. With her help, I ordered some vinyl backdrops and got a light kit, I upgraded my cell phone and my photos started getting better.
Taking Better Product Photos

Lights, Camera, Backdrops!

Taking Better Product Photos

Getting ready to take photos with my phone (Galaxy 8 plus)

When it comes to the actual photos, I found that you don’t need an expensive, high-end camera! Most new cell phones today have cameras that are more than capable of getting a good product photo. A few tips I learned along the way:
  1. Take the case off of your phone when taking photos. Many times the case will cause a shadow around your camera lens, causing the photos to be darker than they should
  2.  Clean the lens before and during your photo shoot. The smallest smudge may not be visible when looking at the phone display, but when you go to edit your photos, they will be blurry.
  3. Take lots of photos! The great thing about digital photos is that you can take a lot of photos of the same thing and simply delete the ones that don’t cut it!
Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my camera (Canon, Rebel T6)

Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my phone

Let’s talk photo backgrounds…

There are a lot of opinions about photo backgrounds. Some people will always recommend a solid white background. Some will tell you to use mockups. Lifestyle photos versus flatlays are also something to think about.
So here’s my two cents:
  1. Your photo background should compliment your business aesthetic. Is your logo blue and green? Don’t use a black backdrop… Do you sell wall/home decor? Photographing your products outside on the grass is probably not going to help your customer imagine that piece in their home. No matter how much you sew, a cutting board is not a good backdrop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on photo backdrops! Vinyl backdrops are a number one choice as they are specifically designed for taking photos. There are many shops now that offer a variety of sizes and styles to give you plenty of options. I have also used contact paper (dollar tree) and scrapbook paper. The downside to the contact paper is that some are glossy and will give a lot of shine behind your product, with scrapbook paper you are a bit limited with regards to size. If you are looking to use a plain white background, poster board can be a great budget-friendly option!
Taking Better Product Photos

My chevron background is 2’x2′ and matches my branding. Vinyl backdrops can come in so many patterns and sizes! The roll is contact paper I picked up from the dollar store.

2) Mock-ups and props. You always want your product to be the main focus of the photo. If you are using props, be sure they complement your product but they really should be a back seat item, never the focus. If you do mockups, be sure that you are clear in your description of what is included with purchase. If I go to a shop filled with digital mockups and no finished products, I generally don’t make the purchase.
3) Lifestyle photos. These can be great to help sell your online items. Since your customer can’t touch or try on your product while shopping, seeing your product in use helps customers imagine that item in their home. I myself and still working on getting lifestyle photos, so be sure to check back for more on this topic!

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting…

I struggle with lighting. I have always struggled with lighting. I feel like no matter what I do, my lighting is just never “right”. How in the world do we get “indirect light”? Although I am still working on getting that perfect lighting down, I do have tools that help!
1) Lightbox! These can be purchased or you can make one yourself. We’ll be doing a lightbox tutorial soon, so be sure to subscribe to the email list! Although I own a lightbox, I don’t use mine much as my backgrounds and products tend to be too large. Whether you are using indirect light or electric lighting, a lightbox helps filter and soften the lighting when taking your photos.
2) Stand lights. I have the light set listed below and I just can’t live without them! My lights have covers, as shown, which helps filter the light coming through so I’m not getting a bright glare on my product and background.
3) Sunlight. I struggled with good old Mother Nature for quite some time. I tried early morning, different afternoon hours, in the shade, outside, inside, nothing seemed to be working! After doing a little research I finally figured out that I needed to be at my living room window between 10 am and noon (your time and place will vary) to get the best indirect lighting for my photos. Even with that, I still use my stand lights to help with angled lighting.
Taking better product photos

I use a combination of indirect sunlight and two light stands.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to product photography is that you want it to represent your business and give your customer the impression they would get if they were standing in your brick and mortar shop.
Thanks so much for visiting the Gypsy Spoonful Blog : “Gypsy Blogful: A Journey In American Handmade”  and feel free to drop a comment or question!

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color> Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered … read more

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color>

Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered her an expert in her field for a long time now, she’s shown that she knows the proven ways to succeed in this rough market. Just the other day in our member’s only group, we were discussing this very topic! Great timing huh? Don’t waste any time wondering how to succeed at this like a champ!


Sarah Asks,

Are you afraid to call boutique buyers? I was too when I was first starting out.

Sarah has prepared this special guide to share her time-tested formula so you can get your products into the stores of your dreams.

  • You are going to get:
  • 6 ways to find the perfect buyers who already want your product!
  • The “My friend saw your store” copy and paste email script
  • Her “Perfect Follow Up” phone script so you can close the deal
  • And more…..

I know you’re absolutely going to LOVE what she’s sharing with you. There’s no time to waste, so shake a leg sister!

To get started right away and access her free PDF guide, click this link to access your guide

 

Zuckerberg Announces BIG Changes for Business Pages on Facebook. Coming Soon in 2018. Small Business Apocalypse.

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!! straight from the horse’s mouth: Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this … read more

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!!

straight from the horse’s mouth:

Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this will make for a more enjoyable social experience on Facebook, one of the drawbacks of this change is that many of the businesses, brands or media that users want to follow will not be visible as often. For instance, if you follow a business page and enjoy seeing their posts, this new change will hide most of their updates.

Zuckerberg Announces Big Changes for Facebook Pages in 2018

As if the algorithms and the pay to play post “boosting” didn’t do enough damage to our small businesses, now he’s coming right out and saying that businesses and brands will be buried and hidden even more!!

Those of us who managed to dodge paying to boost posts just to reach a 1/10 of the people who actually follow our pages, will suffer even more. Small businesses who don’t have an advertising budget will all but be obliterated in the new Zuckerberg Facebook 2018 plan…

For those of you that have trusted my advice and suggestions in the past as far as social media go, I want you to know I am working on an ebook to explain these changes and I’m brainstorming workarounds for this “new era” for businesses coming SOON on facebook. I”ve been quoted in several publications (blogs, newspapers, magazines etc) as well as being quoted in two books as a small business and social media expert. If there’s a will there’s a way, and Goosie is on the case…

Please comment and let me know if you’d be interested in my ebook, and what you think of these new changes Zuckerberg thinks will be so awesome


Turn Around Bright Eyes…. Eclipse 2017 Info, Viewing Tips, Fun Activities and Viewing Schedules

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy … read more

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy Spoonful outshines the competition when it comes to supporting small handmade makers! Don’t be left in the dark and accidentally buy mass produced items masquerading as handmade, shop Gypsy Spoonful and there’s never a chance of that happening.The biggest celestial event of 2017 will take place on TODAY!!  Monday, Aug. 21, but you may miss it if you do not know precisely when to look.

Moon and Sun Cuffed Etched Bracelet click HERE to see it LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

The moon’s shadow will travel from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States with only a narrow zone, called the path of totality, experiencing a total solar eclipse.

In this path, the moon will block out the sun completely for less than three minutes, so being in the path at the correct time is extremely important.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Western US

The first people in the country to see the eclipse will be along the coast of Oregon where the moon will start to block out the sun around 9:04 a.m. PDT and will completely cover the sun by 10:17 a.m. PDT.

Portland and Eugene, Oregon, sit just outside of the path of totality, so people looking to the sky in these cities will experience a partial solar eclipse with the sun blocking out 99 percent of the sun.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Rocky Mountains

The shadow of the moon will make its way eastward as the day progresses.

The eclipse will begin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, at 10:16 a.m. MDT, with the moon blocking out the sun completely by 11:36 a.m. MDT.

The neighboring Yellowstone National Park will not experience a total solar eclipse. During the height of the eclipse, spectators in Yellowstone will still see a small sliver of the sun as the moon blocks out 98 percent of the sun’s light.

Casper, Wyoming, is one of the bigger cities in this part of the country that will experience a total solar eclipse around 11:43 a.m. MDT.

Central US

As the moon’s shadow tracks across the heartland of the U.S., it will pass over several cities, including Lincoln, Nebraska, Kansas City and St. Louis.

People in these cities will need to plan accordingly as each city is right on the edge of the path of totality. This means that part of the cities will experience a total solar eclipse, while other portions will not.

Carbondale, Illinois, is also situated in this part of the country and will be a popular location on Aug. 21, as it will experience totality for a little over 2 minutes and 40 seconds, longer than anywhere else in the country.

Eastern US

The southeastern U.S. will be one of the most popular areas in the country for viewing the eclipse on Aug. 21. It is the closest place for the millions of people along the East Coast to experience the total solar eclipse.

The eclipse will occur early in the afternoon across this region, but spectators should arrive at their viewing location in the morning due to the volume of people traveling to see the celestial event.

Traffic is expected to be more congested than usual, including along portions of Interstates 20, 26, 40, 59, 85 and 95.

AAA is reminding drivers not to stop along the highway to watch the event and not to wear eclipse glasses while driving.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Coastal areas of South Carolina will be the final place in the United States to experience the total solar eclipse, with the peak eclipse occurring around 2:47 p.m. EDT and the shadow of the moon moving offshore shortly after 4 p.m. EDT.

This will not be the end of the eclipse, as the shadow of the moon continues over the Atlantic Ocean.

A select few aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise will be some of the final people in the world to view the eclipse as the ship sails through the path of totality. For the exact times that the eclipse will be visible across the world, check out NASA’s interactive eclipse map.

Isn’t this love you to the moon and back bracelet fantastic? what a wonderful way to remember this day by…

Click here to see it LIVE

Love you to the moon and back bracelet

 

Got Pets?

The big total solar eclipse is set to hit North America today (August 21st), and if you’re like me, you’ve been scrambling to find a pair of viewing glasses for the big event. In all the hurry to see the eclipse, it’s easy to forget about the little guys in your family: your pets. Animals, even tame ones, have behavior that’s heavily tied to the sun and night cycle.

The big issue is, there’s not a lot of awareness of how eclipses affect animals. Some Cleveland pet owners interviewed by TV News thought their pets might want to hide, others were concerned about their dogs and cats staring into the sun and hurting their eyes. It’s a valid concern, of course, but the danger isn’t as clear and present as it might seem.

Dr. Evan Morse of Warrensville Animal Hospital thinks most animals will simply act like they do when the sun goes down normally. It’s likely they furry friends will believe that it’s nighttime and will go about their routine. Morse says dogs and cats don’t tend to look at the sun anyway, so they’re not going to be suddenly interested in it just because of the eclipse.

But if you’re outside walking around with your canine or feline friends you might want to make sure they don’t keep staring up at the sky or anything like that when they notice something changing around them. This shouldn’t be too big of a concern, but just in case you might want to shelter your pet until the eclipse has passed.If you notice your animal getting nervous or restless, chances are it’s because they’re picking up on your excitement about the eclipse. The best way to make sure that your pet makes it through the eclipse unscathed is to simply be aware and make sure they’re just as safe as they normally are.

Aren’t these sun hair bows from Bows and More By T Adorable? Here’s a link to see them LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

Make a viewer this morning while you still have time!!

 

If’ you’re a slacker and didn’t pick up any of the viewing glasses made specifically for the eclipse ,HURRY and make an eclipse viewing box!  Here’s some instructions on how to make one from a cereal box , directly from Nasa so you know it’s gotta be safe! Click here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/EclipseCerealBoxViewer.pdf

Take a peek at these adorable star bubble shorts on Gypsy Spoonful click here to see them today LIVE

Further Fun & Suggested Reading:

25 facts you should know about viewing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse from Astronomy Magazine

Click on the pic to get a cool craft for kids to do today!

Eclipse Craft For Kids