Creating a Simple “Studio” for Photographing Your Crafts

So, my big announcement…I am finally going to open an Etsy store!

It’s been on my to-do list for a long time, and I think I’m ready to make the plunge! I think my small crafts and many un-used craft supplies have potential to sell better in a venue like Etsy, whereas I will continue to sell my antiques and larger pieces at the co-op. I have been doing some preparation in getting this baby up and running, the first being a small “studio” area to properly photograph my items!

While my photographic skills excel in photographing retinas, they are not quite as proficient in studio work. I have never had any interest in portraits or studio photography that require traditional lighting methods, studio lights and back drops, lighting ratios, etc, etc. One thing I do know is that natural light is ideal in photographing almost anything. I wanted to be able to use natural light to photograph my products, but also not have to wait until the sun comes out and the weather is bearable to be able to shoot. I do live in Western New York after all! My solution: artificial natural light.

These 7.5 watt bulbs from Lowes emanate “natural light”, or an artificial full spectrum of light. They measure at 5000K, which is comparable to noon daylight. I bought two bulbs and two of these clamping work lights:

…and set up a small area on a table in my basement. I have some white foam core boards to use as reflectors as needed. I am using a large crate bottom as my background, because you know I love that rustic look. Here is my basic set up:

And a picture snapped with hardly any adjusting of the lights. I think this is going to work just fine!

Not too shabby for a studio that took 10 minutes to set up and cost about $35.

Here it is with the lights on so you can see. I am using the slatted crates on either side, as they work well with the lights’ clamps. Also, I’d like to mention that I used my digital SLR camera for my photography; my trusty Nikon D80. It’s slightly outdated but works very well for the work I want/need to do. I would recommend an SLR over a point-and-shoot camera if you are able.

I’ll keep you posted on how it works and what tweaks I might make as I start in on this new adventure! In the mean time I have been working on lots of marble magnets of varying themes to sell on Etsy. I can’t wait to start photographing them.

Phew…I don’t know why I keep myself so damn busy these days. I figure it’s going to take at least a month or so to get the store “live” and running. I have lots of items to photograph and some other prepping to do. Anyone out there with their own Etsy store…do you have any advice for this rookie? Any tips/advice you have to offer would be appreciated!

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Briggs Ward
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 19:55:32

    I think your crate background is a perfect choice-enhances the crafts without overpowering. Etsy is a smart move for you Margaret.


  2. thebeadden
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 21:03:45

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing such a great tip! All the best!


  3. cathys niggli
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 21:57:41



  4. Junkin' June
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 07:20:41

    You are AMAZING – Creative, Talented and an INSPIRATION with just your enthusiasm… wish you nothing but SUCCESS… go get ’em!!!


  5. Lisa Copher
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 10:42:28

    cant wait to see all ur goodies in ur shop!


  6. Cheryl
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 11:43:56

    List,list, list! and then make treasuries of the items other people are selling. Download Shmetsy to do this. I think that is spell correctly. With this program, you make treasuries very quickly, and you send send convos to those whose work you posted in your treasury. This ususally gets those people to come see your shop and thank you for showcasing their products. Many of them will feature one of your items in their next treasury:)
    Good Luck with your new venture.

    I love your light set up. My friend and I tried that with the two lights and cardboard boxes. We didn’t have the right bulbs and the boxes caused glare. So we may try this. I love the old wood look! TFS


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 02, 2012 @ 15:41:36

      Thanks SO much for the info Cheryl – I will most definitely look into the treasuries. I have so much to learn. It’s been fun so far…can’t wait to get it up and running. Let me know how the lighting set-up works for you! ~Maggie


  7. Gloria
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 12:21:08

    I’m going to try your setup. I am never in the right place or time to capture my photos with natural light. Thanks for the information.


  8. LavenderHartBoutique (@LavenderHart)
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 12:46:35

    Congratulations and Welcome to Etsy. I opened my shop in January. Mostly, I have to say, due to your inspiration.

    Last year I was diagnosed with Lupus. While I was stuck in bed, during one of my really bad flares, a friend told me about Pinterest. That’s where I found you. I read your blog and have been following it ever since. You are very talented and you sparked something in me. I was inspired to get out of my funk and do something.

    Since then I have started a blog, opened an Etsy and an Ebay shop, and now I’m searching for a co-op or antiques mall to rent a space. I do have the help of my loving and patient husband of 21 years. Without him none of this would happen. But the inspiration started with you.
    Thank you so much and good luck with Etsy. I know you’ll be a big hit.


    P.S. your etsy banner looks fantastic.


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Jul 02, 2012 @ 15:13:16

      Wow, thank you so much Cathy. What you said really means a lot to me, and is exactly the reason I started my blog in the first place. I hoped to inspire someone out there to do some little projects and hopefully find the same joy in crafting that I do, and it sounds like that was the case with you. πŸ™‚ Congrats on expanding to Etsy and Ebay…you move quick!! LOL. I am finding setting up my Etsy store is both fun but a heck of a lot of work. I can’t wait to get it up and running. Thanks again for your kind words and I will be sure to visit your blog and shops. I always love to support fellow crafters! Have a great 4th of July! ~Maggie


  9. Eva Halloween
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 13:36:29

    Your stuff is always so fabulous. Good luck with your etsy store – I’m sure it will be popular!


  10. Jeanette
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 14:23:05

    That’s neat… and makes me think I need a better camera… I’ve been using my point and shoot and I get really frustrated with it as it doesn’t really give me the results I would love to have.


  11. Alaska Locker Hooking Etc.
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 04:50:58

    Great idea! Thank you. I’m on Etsy too and I found the Etsy Groups very helpful and a place where you can learn & ask questions. There are lots of groups!


  12. Trackback: Improve Your Craft Photography With a Few Simple Steps | The Blueprint Social
  13. Theresa
    Dec 24, 2012 @ 12:38:06

    Great tips. I am just now learning how to improve my photography, and this will definitely help! I usually just make a few items to show people what they could make with the yarns and fabrics for sale in my shop, but the lighting is terrible and I needed an inexpensive solution. Found it πŸ™‚


  14. Naomi Hagen
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 21:09:34

    Maggie ~ Thank you SO much for posting this tutorial! I was struggling with trying to catch the weather and sunshine at just the right moment to get my “by the window” pictures to turn out. This is brilliant, and my first few pictures have turned out fabulously! I’m so excited to be able to be able to take pictures on my schedule, instead of on the sun’s. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks again!


    • Eyeballs By Day, Crafts By Night
      Sep 24, 2014 @ 09:06:24

      You’re welcome Naomi! I struggled with the same thing and thats why I wanted to try making the little studio. I do a lot of my work at night, and couldn’t always photograph when I wanted to and it ticked me off. hehe. Glad it worked out for you and thanks for visiting my blog! πŸ™‚


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