Tag: teach

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!

Hustle: Do you have it? What does Hustling Mean To You?

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means. We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses. #1- … read more

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means.

We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses.

#1- Powering through the hard parts

Thanks to Jake Jorgovan, Lead Cookie!It’s not about working nights and weekends forever, that just leads to burnout. Instead hustle is about working those nights and weekends when it’s necessary to get over that next hump. Too many people confuse hustle with being a workaholic. You simply can’t stay in hustle mode for your entire life. There are seasons for hustle, and there are seasons to focus on your personal life. It’s important to understand that balance.

 #2- GSD’ing

Thanks to Spencer Chambers Hustle to me is summed up in what I like to call GSD’ing. What is GSD’ing you may ask? In appropriate language, this means Get “Stuff” Done. Work hard, never take no for an answer, make things happen, etc. It’s a really simple concept, but it takes hustle to truly execute and get stuff done on a daily basis.

#3- Simple

Thanks to Taran Ghatrora, Ellebox!Hustle to me is having a clear vision and an unbeatable work ethic to get there. You can’t get stuck in the planning phase or in overthinking.

#4- Executing things

Hustle is the ability to execute steps forward on ideas using discipline to motivate you, instead of inspiration or whim. Your idea is pretty much shit, unless you actually execute on it and do the thing.

Thanks to Ben Woods, Weathered Coalition!

#5- A number of things

Hustling is pursuing your passion when others aren’t. Hustling is saying no to happy hour to work on your business. Hustling is waking up every day at 5 a.m. to write a new company blog post, answer emails or listen to motivational videos. Hustling is spending most of your days alone because you are fervently working to grow your business.

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#6-Having grit

Hustle means having grit. Sticking to it and getting things done while thinking strategically and being engaged. Hustling is about being effective and following through. It’s about the process — start to finish. Be strategic, savvy, and execute. It’s a go-go-go, get it done mentality.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#7- Performance and productivity

For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, hustle in its most literal sense means that you have to perform and be productive at a high level each and every day. If not, your competitors are likely to get a leg up on you. In a more subjective sense, hustle is a term used regarding a side hustle, which is how many of us get started. If you can find something to do in your spare time which generates income for you, there’s nothing to say that it can’t eventually turn into a full-time position and career for you.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#8- Motivation and persistence

Thanks to Tom Szaky, TerraCycle!To me, hustle is motivation and persistence. It is being motivated by the word “no,” or the desire to do something others think is not possible. It is thinking big and not settling for anything less than great. Mediocre will not suffice. When TerraCycle first started about 15 years ago, we sold organic worm poop fertilizer. Selling to mom n’ pop stores would’ve been easy, but I wanted more. I wanted to see it on shelves in big box stores so I called relentlessly, no matter how many times they didn’t respond. Finally, we got a meeting and a short time later our fertilizer was on store shelves. Today, we no longer make the fertilizer and TerraCycle is known for recycling difficult to recycle materials. We operate in 21 countries and were just qualified by the SEC for a Regulation A offering which enables any level investor to purchase shares of the company. The capital raise will be used to acquire businesses, allowing us to continue to innovate ways to solve some of the world’s biggest waste problems. Thinking big and persevering despite the no’s in life is my definition of hustle.

#9- Making things happen

It takes drive, creativity, energy, passion, chutzpah, and resilience. As the founder and CEO I know there are going to be times when doors close or I have to pivot to turn my vision into reality. If it were easy someone would have thought of it and done it before. If you are committed to making your dream come true you have to hustle. No one else wakes up every day thinking about your business. It is on you to hustle. If you want it more then you just have to work harder and hustle to make it happen.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

 #10- Solving problems

Hustle is a term that gets thrown around a lot by entrepreneurs, we say with pride that we worked 14 hours a day for the last week. I’m working on being more conscious of framing my relationship to the word hustle, I now relate it to resourcefulness. When you’re running your own business, a lot of different things come down the pipe, and you’ve got to be able to dig deep and have a high capacity for problem-solving.

Thanks to Justin Shaw, One & Zero!

#11- Hard work

Hustle is working day in and day out even when the results aren’t showing. It’s doing all of the work when you don’t feel like it or you’re stressed. Hustle means not complaining and putting in the hours no matter what because you’re dedicated. In business, it takes a long time for the fruits of your labor to show their effects. I believe you have to be willing to work very hard now for rewards later. That’s what hustle means to me.

Thanks to Carmine M, Pierro Shoes!

#12- It’s everything

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!Business and hustle go hand in hand when being an entrepreneur and it can be fantastic, but also really challenging at the same time. What is “hustle”, you may ask? It’s everything. To me it is breathing, living and feeling the pulse of the business. It’s about making constant growth sustainable. Hustle is about a constant state of peak performance and ability to find the positive in every situation. It is also used to remind one that good things don’t come to those who wait – it comes to those who work hard, sleep and breathe work, and deliver. No matter what type of problem is thrown at you, you have to keep hustling!

#13- To keep moving

Hustle to me means rolling with the punches and never giving up. When your business or your professional career there are going to be low times, failures and even lull’s. You need to make sure to keep working through these times. This is where most people give up and try something new. Have faith and believe in yourself. Hustle your way through these hard times.

Thanks to Garrett Smith, Pitch + Pivot!

#14- Several things

Being the Executive Director of a very small nonprofit, hustle means something very different to me than how the average CEO probably sees it. For me, making as many connections as possible and going to as many networking events as possible are critical. I also need to be fearless when it comes to asking people, companies, and organizations for support and resources for our organization whenever we need it. Hustle also means having my elevator pitch down to a science, so I can easily and efficiently sell our organization to potential new supporters and partners on the spot. For me, hustling also means keeping in touch with connections even if you can’t work with them right away, because you never know if they might be able to help you later on, or who else they might know who might be able to help you, too. Additionally, being ready with a list of things you need assistance with – and being ready to vocalize that list of needs when opportunities arise – is definitely critical to hustling, as is working all channels available to you (like using social media for instance) to crowd-source resources and connections that can benefit us as well.

Thanks to Melissa Norden, Bottomless Closet!

#15- When you say, enough talking – it’s time to do something

Your business began with a dream, that dream morphed into a vision which then becomes a goal. The world is full of dreamers. You have to do more than dream and believe; you have to have a shared goal and hustle to reach it! We teach our team in our EntreLeadership classes to clearly define dreams, visions and goals, share them and share them with their teams. Hustle happens when the team fights and claws together to get there.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#16- Making it work

“Detroit Hustle” is a known state of mind in the Motor City, where my outdoor advertising agency is headquartered. To me, hustle means always making it work and never giving up. I’ve worked essentially 24/7 since starting Brooklyn Outdoor 5 years ago and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My days are jam-packed with meetings, conference calls, and tight deadlines. I think the most important part of the hustle is being invigorated by hard work instead of feeling drained.

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

What does hustle mean to you? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join

(courtesty of CEO Blog Nation)