Tag: photography

Willow and Sage Magazine: Your source for DIY bath and body product inspiration

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I … read more

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I glanced through it and instantly was drawn to it. This magazine is called Willow & Sage. As stated on their website-

Willow and Sage Magazine

Willow and Sage magazine is filled with more than 70 unique recipes, uses, and beautiful packaging ideas for homemade bath and body products, paired alongside stunning, Somerset-style photography. In addition to showcasing natural bath salts and soaks, soaps, face masks, chemical-free make-up, lotions, sugar scrubs, how to use essential oils, and more, Willow and Sage features refreshing new layout designs that include hand-illustrated tips and educational information, such as eye-catching infographics and the benefits of specific ingredients. Also, if you’re looking for the perfect homemade gift idea, for any occasion, each issue provides DIY inspiration for creative packaging and the most unique gifts or spa bundle

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


The magazine is a quarterly magazine that starts in Feb. It’s an odd start date but when you look at lumping Jan into the winter issue, it makes sense. I totally understand doing the issues to follow the seasons, but it kills me to have to wait so long between publications! I usually go read it within the first two or three days, but definitely within the first week. It’s always interesting to see all the different ideas brought forth by other creators. I also enjoy the packaging ideas, bundle ideas, and ingredient spotlights. It’s a good way to learn about new benefits as well as help me with potential trend ideas. I have definitely used some of their ingredient spotlights to help focus on what ingredients to highlight to my customers.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful magazine with a lot of fun diy ideas I would definitely give Willow & Sage a look. A quick side note is, many of the submitted recipes do not have preservatives in them therefore will not last for more than a few days or so.

Written by GS shop Owner, Rebecca Reynolds of JMaeHandmade ,  Stop on by her shop and take a peek at her awesome handmade bath and body products, and Heart her shop while you’re there!

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

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

 

 

Meet the Makers: New Shop Chic En Laine

Hand knitting at it’s very best ~ We are pleased to announce one of our newest shops Chic En Laine . Sometimes at Gypsy Spoonful we have a new member join and I fall in love with each and every item they add to their shop, as the days go on and I see them … read more

Hand knitting at it’s very best ~ We are pleased to announce one of our newest shops Chic En Laine . Sometimes at Gypsy Spoonful we have a new member join and I fall in love with each and every item they add to their shop, as the days go on and I see them beginning to fill up the virtual aisles of their store, I say to myself “Oh now THIS is my favorite… ” and then I find myself saying the exact same thing with each subsequent new listing!  I am so thrilled Sophie has joined our creative community, and I am so much looking forward to her growing her business with us even more.  She has so much talent, and her items are absolutely the best knit quality I’ve seen.

Her classic fashions are impeccably made and made to order just for her customers from her home studio located in South Carolina. Whether it’s a sweet little set comprised of a cardigan style jacket with a darling little hat

Beautiful stitching and classic appeal (click the photo to go to this listing now)

or a classic pair of knitted pants with super sweet suspenders, they will not disappoint. Keepsake quality for sure!

Nostalgia Abounds When Viewing Her Timeless Designs (click the photo to go to this listing now)

Perhaps you need a baby shower gift, or a special outfit for a photo session for the holidays? Sophie’s attention to detail is quite obvious on each item she creates.

If you’re looking for an amazing baby shower gift, stop on by her shop and check our her designs. There are also women’s hats available for the mama too!

Boho Style Slouchy Hat is Warm and Soft (click the photo to visit this listing now)

Sophie’s attention to detail is quite obvious on each item she creates.  If you’re looking for an amazing baby shower gift, stop on by her shop and check our her designs. There are also women’s hats available for the mama too! (You deserve it, treat yourself!)

So that you don’t miss out on any of her new listings , events or sales, be sure to follow Chic En Laine on Facebook and Instagram too.

Don’t forget to Heart her shop as well! Click HERE to visit today.

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.