Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Product Photography

I see it all the time, people posting bad photos of their awesome products!

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Whether it's for your blog, your shop, or you just want to share your latest product on social media, you should have good photos. You spent a lot of time on your projects and you're proud of them, nothing wrong with that! Make sure your photos are the best representation of your work that they can be.

I'm not a professional photographer. 
You and I might not be professionals, but we know if something looks bad in a photo, we probably won't buy it. Same goes for the people looking at our products. I spend a lot of time on my crochet items and I want them to look the best they can and as close as possible to real life. When a person orders something from my Etsy shop, I want them to know exactly what they're getting. Photos are important. My photos aren't perfect, but over the last 4 years I've taken a LOT of pictures and I've found some things that work for me and they might help you if you find yourself stuck on where to start.

*I mostly shoots pics of my crochet projects, but these tips could be used for lots of different products. Here's a peek at my photos, supplies and some behind the scenes shots.

You can read 1,000 articles on how to improve your photos but they won't get better until you PRACTICE and try different things to see what works for you. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wintry Hooded Scarf



Check out this cozy winter scarf! This pattern has so many great elements that make it unique, beautiful and functional.

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

I have an awesome library system where I live. I have access to lots of great pattern books and I spotted this Green Mountain Spinnery Hooded Scarf pattern in Marly Bird's book Cold Weather Crochet. Can't find the book? You can buy this pattern here.

Cold Weather Crochet: 21 Cozy Garments, Accessories, and Afghans to Keep You Warm by [Bird, Marlaina "Marly"]

I like to try new crochet projects and then I sell then in my Etsy shop. This scarf is available for purchase!

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple TreeWintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple TreeWintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple TreeWintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

Wintry Hooded Scarf, Over The Apple Tree

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I CAN Knit!

I get asked constantly if in addition to crochet, can I also knit?


My mom taught me to knit and crochet when I was a kid, around 8 or 9 years old. I guess I just felt more comfortable with crochet because I kept that up over the years but never pick knitting back up again. Soooo, technically I might be able to knit something, but really, I never learned how to cast on, I don't know what all the stitches are called or how to do them and forget about reading a pattern. 

Most people don't actually know the difference between knit and crochet. Short answer, knitting uses the two pointy needles and crochet uses a hook. When I tell people I crochet they always assume I'm talking about knitting. Even though I'm a pretty accomplished crocheter, It always makes me feel inadequate that I can't knit. Want to see my crochet projects? You can take a look at my crochet blog posts or stop by my Etsy shop

The other day I saw a pair of knit fingerless gloves that I had to have and that's what did it, I was going to make them! Not so fast. I need three double pointed needles...what?? Ok, maybe I need to start on something a little easier and preferably on YouTube because for real, I don't know what I'm doing.

After looking at a billion tutorials, I decided on this video from B.hooked Crochet. I was a little worried with some of the negative comments but I had no problems following along at all! I got the same Clover needles(found at Michael's) recommended in supply list and I used Bernat Softee Chunky, Grey Ragg yarn.


I was so excited with my new hat, I even made another one! I got a little daring with this one, I made some size adjustments because I used a lighter weight yarn AND I use three different colors.


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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Alternatives To PicMonkey- Change Is Hard!


It happened, I have to find a new photo editor...


I have faithfully used PicMonkey for years. I love it, it's fantastic. They have the basics to edit your photos, cool filters, lots of fonts, great overlays and special effects. If you don't mind paying $47.88 a year, go crazy on this site. PM used to be free with the option to get a premium membership and have access to additional features. I felt a change coming when I noticed more and more free features flipping over to premium access only. When I logged on there this weekend to add a watermark on my photo, I clicked export and got this pop up.

4 Free Alternatives to PicMonkey, Over The Apple Tree

Why!?!?!?!?! I'm still fixing the mess I was left with after Photobucket let me down, now this? Blogging and Etsy are my hobby, I'm not investing in a service to use once in awhile when I can get it for free somewhere else. Sorry PicMonkey, I'm breaking up with you.


**UPDATE(9/9): I just got on PM this morning and now it's allowing me to export my images again. I know someone who emailed them last week and supposedly they they confirmed they were moving to an all paid site. Even their Facebook page has people asking what's up. I don't know what exactly is happening, but it never hurts to have more options!

On the hunt for a replacement, I've discovered new photo editing sites that I never would have noticed. Even though change is hard and it will take time to get used to a new site, I'm excited to see what these new sites have to offer.

I use a photo editor for my blog and Etsy photos. I do basic edits to make it look as good as possible, resize photos, sometimes add graphics/title for blog posts and add watermarks. I played around with these online photo editing sites but have yet to really delve into every feature. Here are my thoughts so far...

1. iPiccy
Similar format to PM. You can do edits, collages and graphic design. This is a completely free site. I could not find any blocked features or offers to upgrade. I think this site is my favorite so far because all the options are available and it's easy to use. There are some things I had a hard time with though, like you can't go back and forth between layers to edit. If you can, I couldn't figure it out.

2. BeFunky
Similar format to PM. Offers edits, collages, design from blank canvas, templates for social media graphics, greeting cards. Option to upgrade to premium for $34.92. Looks to have what I'll need. One thing that bugs me is you have to click and open every sub-section to see your options for things like graphics and effects. So much clicking feels like time wasted. There are a few options listed for free and tons for premium members.

3. Ribbet
Built on the same platform as Picnik, so if you miss that site, you'll be happy here. Looks to have the features I'm going to need. You can do edits, collages, shape collages, design from blank canvas, and create cards. Something I find useful is that they save your recent uploads. There is an option to upgrade to premium for $29.95/year.

4. piZap
Offers two ways to use, HTML5 or Adobe Flash. You can edit, make a collage or design from blank. You can use the site for free and there is an option to upgrade to access all the features for $35.88. There are a variety of stickers available but I couldn't find basic shapes. That's no good for me since I often use a faded rectangle behind title letters on my blog pictures to make the letters stand out. This site does have a really cool cut out feature you should try.

All the sites I found have positives and negatives. None of them is going to work exactly like PM. Here are some more photo edit sites I checked out. They all offer great photo editing features but don't have some of the other tools I'm looking for.
LunaPic
Pixlr
Desygner

If you struggle with getting pure white backgrounds on your product photos, you HAVE to check out FotoFuze! For real, it's like magic and absolutely no skill required.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Etsy Packaging

Etsy packaging is an important part of your branding. Plus, isn't it nice to get a pretty package in the mail? 

Etsy Packaging Idea, Over The Apple Tree

I've been selling crochet items in my Etsy Shop for a few years now. I've always wrapped my things with kraft paper and tied string around them. I finished it off with a cute custom thank you sticker. I got to thinking I might want to try something different. I was looking into buying kraft paper bags instead. I ended up not getting any because the smallest batch I could find was a set of 50. That's way too many for me to try and I might want different sizes or end up not even liking it. What if I make my own bags? Yes, I realize that kraft bags are super cheap and some people may not consider it worth the time to make bags yourself. I had the time and the supplies already, so it was no big deal to sit down and make a handful of them.

Etsy Packaging Idea, Over The Apple Tree

It's brilliant really. This uses way less paper than I was when I was wrapping my items and I have custom bags for super cheap. I took my roll of Dollar Store brown paper and cut off a strip 8 inches wide. I fold the strip in half lengthwise and sewed with a zig zag stitch up the sides. With pinking shears I cut across the top opening of the bag for a decorative edge. The bag ends up looking way too long, but I did that on purpose so that I would have plenty extra paper to fold over. You can make any size you need this way.

Etsy Packaging Idea, Over The Apple Tree

Etsy Packaging Idea, Over The Apple Tree

Branding is easy with these simple bags, just add a custom stamp, tag or sticker. I designed my stickers myself and then sent them to Vistaprint for printing. You could print them at home yourself, but I'm usually able to get a great deal with a coupon code and I know they'll always come out great! Don't forget to drop in a business card and a thank you note!

Etsy Packaging Idea, Over The Apple Tree

I use this packaging for crochet items, but it could be used for all different types of items you may sell. Check out my Etsy shop HERE!

Over The Apple Tree Etsy Shop, Crochet Cabled Cowl


Been thinking about opening an Etsy shop? How 'bout some free listings? Click HERE and we both get 40 FREE listing! How awesome is that? 

Get free Etsy listing when you use this referral link!


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