Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day Four: How-To-Do Daily Listings, Batch Photography

     Alright, I'm posting more of Dunne's fly fishing keychains today while I work on getting ready for Maker-Faire next week. I am so excited about this year at the Fair Grounds. You always get to bring a little weird and a little fun to the local show.

     Today's post comes to you thanks to one of my team members and friends on How-To-Do daily listings. Many people get overwhelmed on Etsy trying to figure out how to work through actually doing listings in a timely fashion. The answer for most people is that they split listings between what is hard to do and what can be done anywhere. They will batch taking photos in good lighting and spread out the writing. Here's the process:

1. Make your craft: This part is self-explanatory, but build up several items to take photos of at once. I normally do 10-30 at a time once a week, but some people will do as many as 300 or as few as 5. When I was working full-time and doing this on Saturdays, I would have a larger number as I only took photographs once a month.

2. Take photos in the afternoon between 3-5 pm : While a fancy SLR camera is awesome, many people forget the basics that natural lighting, outdoors, and on a pretty day does a lot of the heavy lifting you for in terms of getting good photographs because you have less editing on the back end. You want to take 6-10 photos of each item in quick succession. Don't worry about getting the perfect shot, you are trying to get a feel for it. And you can edit later. Photos improve over time and time is something that comes through experience. If you would like to REALLY improve your photos, almost all the local arts and crafts centers in our area offer a 1-2 day course on photography 101. They range from $40-$4,000. The best in the area in my opinion are run by Chris Florio and they generally sell out months in advance. An undervalued photographer as he works most of the local shows and has a good eye, but doesn't charge the $1,000 a shoot many of the larger studios do. He also takes a limited number of product shoots for $150/hr. and is well worth the money. He is fiercely adored at almost cult status by the local models so you're much more likely to get a two-for-one special of awesome photographs and amazing models.

Time Estimate: 2-3 hrs.

3. Edit Your Photos: There's a lot of photo editing software on the market. The gold standard is Photoshop. However, if you don't that, then the next market standard is GIMP. It's free, easy to download, and installs in a few minutes. In GIMP you can crop your photos, add watermarks, and do any color balancing. Pisca photo service is also know for having great filters on their uploads. I'm super lazy so all I ever do is crop my photos, but I hate to tell people this because I'm probably going to photographer hell for this. You can do this over lunch, or in a sitting from your laptop fairly quickly. I will generally finish editing 200-300 photos in an hour, but many people like to take twice that time to add watermarks, etc. This has a high learning curve so you will get better at this and much faster REALLY quickly. Don't despair if the first photo takes you 30 min or an hour to do. The 20th will probably only take 2-3 minutes.

Time Estimate: 1-3 hrs.

4. Do Your Listings: Like making your craft, listings can be done anywhere, anytime, anyplace you have a smart phone, iPad, or laptop. Etsy can be accessed from your smart phone. Many people do the photography stuff one Saturday a month and then list 1-2 items a day which should take you 10-15 minutes each. In your description, you will need to simply fill in the tabs, write a description of at least 140 letters what tells you what the item is, what it's made of, who made it, size, and any care instructions. Doing 1-2 listings at a time also allows your mind to think about what you're doing instead of forcing it into a rut. I find that a little extra type writing helps my copy quality a lot.

Time Estimate: 5-15 minutes per listing.

5. Publish: Press the last button and you're done.

Now you know how most people around the area do daily listings. In general this will save you 2-3 hours per item in your shop and allow you to get more done in a week if you follow this method. Best of luck on your week and I hope this post has been helpful.

PS- All this advice comes to you thanks to Melanie from Melsie Glass.

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