{guest blogger :: Allora Handmade}

Jessica of Allora Handmade is blogging here today and I can’t wait to have you read her words.

Not only is her blog darling but she makes those ULTRA DARLING fabric flower earrings. I now proudly own two pairs {mustard and baby blue}. I wear them constantly. Anyways, this is supposed to be a preview of HER and not ME!

Have you ever head of the Queen Bee Market? Yeah, Jess does that.

Be sure to follow her on Twitter!

Photographing Your Handmade Items

When Gussy asked me to guest post on how to photograph your handmade items, I first had to check and make sure she had the right girl. I mean, afterall… there are days when my pictures all turn out like this:

(mostly when I make the mistake of trying to play photographer with a 2 and a half year old and a 1 year old hanging off my legs.) But some days things turn out a little better.

Here are my best tips:

    1. Let your product do the talking. Make sure your customer has the chance to really get to know your product from your photos. After all, you are trying to convince them to spend their hard earned money to buy something that they’ve never seen in real life! Make sure your product has center stage and has a voice. If your product is bold, your photo should read bold. If it is frilly and girly, your picture should have the same mood and tone.

    2. Light it up. Light is THE MOST IMPORTANT element of photography. Product photography is no different. Natural light will make a huge difference in how your photos turn out. Pinky swear me right now that you will not take your pictures late at night with all the lights on and your flash aglow because you just have.to.get.it.listed.right.now. (Been there.) Your products will look one million times better (statistical fact) if you go to bed and try again in the morning by a natural light source. Become good friends with your windows. Set up a table nearby and let your handmade lovelies really glow in that sweet pure light.

    3. Style it pretty. Your customers are buying more than just an item. They are buying your brand, your style, your vibe. I love to incorporate some of my favorite things in my photos. Lately you can find my vintage yellow rose table cloth in the background. I figure if people like my product, most likely they’ll dig my personal style as well. This may set you apart from someone else who is selling something similar, so give your goodies a little extra oomph with styling.

    4. Get up close and personal. I think close-ups are essential in product photography. Again, there should be no surprises when your customer receives their package in the mail. Show them your attention to detail. Let them see the intricacies of your handiwork. Don’t be afraid to use different angles so the customer gets to interact with the product and decide they must.have.it.now!

    5. Put it to work. Wherever possible, get pictures of your items in use. Sometimes it means finding a friend willing to have their face all over your shop if you bake her favorite peanut butter brownies. Or it can be requesting pictures from past customers who love your product. When customers see your goodies in use it is easier for them to picture your product as a part of their life.

A few things to invest in/make sure you have on hand for a photo shoot:

I do things on the cheap, so other than the camera itself, these are all free or things you already

    1. A camera. Duh. You don’t have to have a fancy camera, but something quick and handy that doesn’t make you want to poke your eyes out is good. I use a starter DSLR just for the speed and option to shoot in manual, but a simple point-and-shoot will do the trick as well.

    2. A basic organizing/editing program like Picassa by Google. I don’t have the time to photoshop my pictures, but a simple program can really make a big difference. Make your life easier by being able to brighten things up, crop, sharpen, etc. Definitely not rocket science, but it will help improve the quality of your images. Picassa is really easy and free to download.

    3. Natural light. I know we already pinky swore on this one. No substitute for natural light. If you don’t have it, don’t shoot. Period.

    4. A background. Your background could be something as simple as a white table or a window sill. It could be the page of a book or your favorite dish. It should reflect your style, be complimentary to your product, and still allow the product to be the leading lady.

    5. Time! Sometimes I forget how long this part of the process takes. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get the shots you want and edit them the way you want them. This is the last and final step in your creative process, so give it the attention that you have given all of the other steps. It ain’t over till you’ve made it pop off the page!

    Now go have fun!

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  1. 1


    I enjoyed your post! I really like the idea of adding your own style to the pictures! I am a fan of vintage tablecloths too and your looks lovely under your beautiful items!

  2. 3

    karen says

    Great post idea and well done! I agree with you on the natural light and Picasa. I use Picasa, but there are many people who are unaware of this free and easy program, so I’m glad that you mentioned it. Lovely pictures! Thanks!

  3. 4

    alison says

    Loved the pictures. Now I want every. single. one. of those items! I do have a set of bobbies on their way to me (my first Allora purchase), and I can not wait to receive them!

  4. 5

    Stacey says

    This is something I am still trying to get just right… this post is perfect. I totally agree about the natural lighting. That has proven to give me the best pictures time and time again. Thanks a lot for this excellent post!

    And PS, I love love love your products. They are just right. I can’t wait until I can afford to get ahold of some for me and my daughter <3

  5. 6


    So glad to know that I am not the only one that relies on Picasa! I always kind of feel like I’m cheating because it is so easy to use and makes such a huge difference with my photos! I thought I needed to be fancier so I even went out and bought Photoshop Elements… and I have never used it. Picasa does the trick every time. And I couldn’t agree more about the natural lighting… always worth the wait. All great tips… it kills me when I see a shop that clearly has a great product, but lacks appeal due to lackluster photography! Great posting!

  6. 7


    all too often i take photos at night b/c that’s the only time i have!!! but she is soo right, natural light pictures are soo much better! guess that means i should sleep earlier and wake up earlier so i can take photos before work!!

  7. 9


    Thanks for all of your tips!! I find photography the hardest part about listing my products!! I’ll definitely take all your tips.

    BTW, your shop is amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I’d love for you to take a look at my store if you get the chance too. Thanks!!

  8. 10


    Thanks for this post. So many people say that you need so many expensive supplies to take great photos. I have moved my photo shoots to the great outdoors for my natural light source.

  9. 13


    what a helpful and well-written post! your photos are fantastic, jessica! will definitely keep your tips in mind next time i photograph a new item. loooove your products by the way!

  10. 19


    Thanks so much! I didn’t know how important the right photos were to selling when I got started and know I can’t wait to retake all my photos. I took so many photos in the dark because I wanted to get it listed before my kids woke up! I have a bunch of items that I wanted to list but I am waiting until I have the time to really take the photos right. Thanks!

  11. 23

    Julie in Edmonds says

    (bonking myself on the forehead) You’re right. You’re right! I have taken so many pictures at night with the lights blazing and no matter how I try to tweak them the color doesn’t come out right. Thank you for your great tips. Pinkies up. :)

  12. 26


    Thank you for this, I really have to stick to ” no light, don’t shoot”. Sometimes I just want to take a quick shot, but taking pics is not to be taken lightly!
    “5. Put it to work. Wherever possible, get pictures of your items in use.” I have to think about this one, because an other sound is (in case of jewellery) that a model can be distracting. Maybe it depends on the item, because this hairband (example) looks better with the model than on itself.
    Thanks again, I really need to invest more time and re-take some photos.


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