Branding Your Biz DIY Style - Five Easy Tips to Make Your Photos Stellar!

Planner, Photos, Paperclips, DIY, Branding, Photo tips, Phone Photography, Styled Photography
I hang with a lot of creatives and it's pretty flippin' cool!  We are all in the same boat when it comes to what our viewers expect of us on our websites and shops.  They expect us to be professional and to be the expert on whatever we are trying to get them to buy or read or even just look at.  Right?  Of course.  We are that very same audience when we visit a blog or workshop or any online venue.
I took a simple poll the other day and posted it on my sosh and several of the online groups that I belong to and it was unanimous.  QUALITY photos MATTER!  It seems nothing turns someone away more quickly than some crap photos.  I think people forgive grammar and spellings errors much more readily than they do a blurry, out of focus image!  (Please spellcheck, regardless!!)
So why, oh why then, do I still see the Etsy shop with images of someone's adorable handmade knitted booties on a wrinkled sheet tossed onto their nasty stained carpet, that needs a major vacuuming!  WHY,  for the love of everything crafty, do they think someone, like say hmmmm . . .a PAYING CUSTOMER, would want to purchase anything from their shop to put on their precious baby's tootsies?
I'm telling you guys, there is simply NO reason for this situation to occur, EVER!.  Not in this day and age of the smartphone!  (My camera of choice)  If you don't have a smartphone, then you have some type of traditional camera.  A simple point and shoot to a relatively inexpensive DSLR or something with a lot of bells and whistles.
You may think you have to invest in a lot of lighting equipment and tripods and macro this and micro that, to get good photographs for your website, blog, shop and social media platforms.
Nope!  I totally disagree!  And you know what, there are people that would disagree with me and that's cool.  But I don't think it's as much the camera anymore as it is the photographer.  Let me explain.
My Samsung Galaxy S5 is an amazing camera.  I personally think it's kind of magic.  It takes flippin' AWESOME images and it is never far from my fingertips, should a photographic opportunity  arise,  which is all the time, that's why most of my wardrobe has pockets!
I said I would give you Five, yes that's 5 EASY tips to make your photos stellar, so here we go.
1.  Get to know your camera.  Spend some quality one on one time with it.  Go on lots and lots of dates and adventures with it!  Devote yourself to it. Eat, breathe and sleep with it.  If you want, read the whole instruction manual that comes with it, although I admit I skipped that part.  The most important thing is that you guys fall in love and want to spend every moment together!
2.  Now you guys are ready to get married and go on your honeymoon.  Things are about to get real juicy!  It's playtime!  Time to break out the props and toys and look at photography in a whole new light!   If you are really in love, this honeymoon period never has to end either!  SCORE!!
So here's what you do and it's kinda like looking at bridal magazines before the wedding or Better Homes and Gardens Magazines when you are decorating your first place together.
Go to Pinterest and skim through all of the photos that you have pinned.  If you don't have Pinterest, girl, we need to talk!!  Do you see a pattern, a style, a color palette even?  This will happen if you've pinned photos that you absolutely love.  That make you swoon.  Now make a new board and call it something like My Phantasy Photo Playground!  Eeeek, don't really call it that!  Ewwww!
Pin about 50 to 100 photos of ANYTHING that makes your heart go pitter-pat.  Photos that inspire and motivate you to try and do something similar.  Photos that you admire and say . . . "if only I could do that", 'cause you totally CAN!
3.  Now you get to go shopping.  Prop and toy shopping!  But wait, hold on a minute girlfriend!  FIRST you are going to go shopping right in your own home.  Walk through every room in your house and look at things with a completely different eye.  Think how it would look in a photoshoot.  I'm famous for this in my family.  Is everything a potential photoshoot object or scene or idea?  Could be, yeah.
You'll have more of a clue of what your style is now from your Pinterest Board and I'm going to guess that your home is a reflection of that style or on it's way.  Grab a couple of things that catch your fancy and head over to your photo table/dresser/floor/chair . . . what ever it may be.
 4.  Go towards the light!  Lighting will make or break your photo quicker than anything.  (except for the scenario I mentioned earlier in this post, good lighting would NOT help that photo! hehe!)  Now you might have heard me mention that I live in a dungeon and as far as the natural lighting goes, it's the truth!  It's a small apartment, rather subterranean with only 3 windows that you can see out of.  I also have 3 bottle-glass type windows that are purely for decorative purposes and they are cute, but do nothing for my lighting needs.  And the windows that "work" I basically see out of at the bottom of everything . . . people, trees, dirt.  You get the picture, right?

So, I cannot rely on Mr. Sunshine helping me much inside and I have to rely on artificial lighting. Sounds harsh and it totally could be, if I used regular light bulbs.  Does that mean I have some expensive lighting setup?  Nope.  I use CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) bulbs.  Specifically, DAYLIGHT.  This has made ALL the difference in my photos.  I am working on getting them in every fixture in my home, but until then I turn off any that are not daylight, so they don't compete and mess up my shoot!
My go to photoshoot lighting apparatus is simply a standing floor lamp.  I found it at a thrift shop and it has three separate lamps on it that I can turn however I need them.  For the most part, I keep only 2 of them on and have them pointed up at the ceiling.  I have a white ceiling and it is quite low, so it probably helps in bouncing the light back on my shoot subject.  That's what I tell myself, anyway! ;)   

My photo table is also directly by one of the windows, because I'll still take all the natural light I can get.  My table is also on bed risers, which afford me some interesting angles and shots.  I love it!  It's easier on the back too, when it's a long shoot.
5. Now it's time for the proverbial quote . . . "Lights, Camera and ACTION!  Now by action, I mean, get busy girl!  It's digital!  You can take 80 gazillion photos if you want.  Practice, practice, practice!  Get into positions you never thought you would!  Pretend someone was paying you to take awesome and creatively inspired photographs!  Wait a minute!  That's exactly what they will be doing!
You are not in a brick and mortar boutique where they can see and touch and feel your product!  Even smell it if they desired.  That's what your photos are up against!  That is what you are competing with.  Your photos need to make them feel all the good "feels" that you can possible can.  They need to be so good that, if you didn't have any written descriptions whatsoever, they would still fall head over heels with your product!  The copy would just seal the deal. 
BONUS TIP!  Have FUN!  Enjoy yourself!  Let yourself be silly and adventuresome!  Give yourself permission to goof up and to be goofy!  See the photo above?  It's pretty goofy, huh?  And I LOVE it!!  Pull out all the creative stops.  And if you still really hate taking photos, give me a holler!
As you can see I was rather long winded here . . . as usual!  The DIY biz card feature has been moved to Wednesday's blog post.  Dana said she would share!  I hope you guys enjoyed all the paperclips Dana and I made, a good time was had by all! 
So, are you going to give any of these tips a try?  Do you have some tips of your own?  We are always looking for good ideas.  We know there is always something to learn.  Bring it on, ladies . . . we'd love to hear from you!
The Yourdori Girls
Nancy and Dana


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the love, as always, Shaunna! How's the twins? I know they are keeping you busy! Are you finding any time to craft or work on your shop? Thinking about you! xoxoxo

  2. Nancy, thanks for the tips, and especially the reminder to be goofy. I love those mini party hats!

    My father taught me photography, I remember many happy days in his darkroom. He taught me all that f-stop stuff and aperture and what not... then I'd forget it again. Then I'd remember it again when I had to take pictures of my artwork. Remember those days when we had to send the film off to be developed?

    Now we can see the results immediately. Isn't that amazing? So I take about 20 pictures of the same item. Now my problem is.... deciding which one I like best.

    1. Thanks, Lucy, my pleasure! Yeah, your photos always look good! I would sure love to see more shots of your amazing studio and your horse and dog and outside stuff! Please! xoxoxo

  3. Thanks for the tips, I love taking pictures I am a big memory keeper. ...I will not say I am good at it but love taking them....your lighting situation sounds like mine if I did not know better I would say we live in the same house. I am going to give the tips a try thanks again

    1. Hi, Samantha! Oooooo, I can't wait to see how my tips work for you! You live in a cave too, huh? ;) It sure makes me appreciate the great outdoors more and windows . . . lots and lots of windows! ♡


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