Great news! I’ll be selling my wares at the first annual Renegade Holiday Craft Fair on November 17 and 18. I know it’s a little early for holiday shopping, but if you’re planning to make gifts this season, now’s the time to get on it!

It’s been a flurry of activity here in our Brooklyn apartment, with boxes of supplies and bolts of fabric exploding from every nook and cranny. Matt is being a really good sport about the mess and I’m super grateful to everyone who has pitched in with folding, cutting, and stamping to make it all happen.

If you’re in Brooklyn on November 17 or 18, I hope you can stop by. It’ll be in the East River Park in Williamsburg (heated tent!), with great music and hipster food. Hope to see you there!

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Last Friday I experimented with product photography for the first time. These are the materials I used:

  • big piece of white paper for background
  • two adjustable lamps
  • two “daylight” lightbulbs (highest wattage available)
  • thin fabric and binder clips
  • tripod
  • digital camera
This is what our bedroom looked like before I set anything up:

And this is what it looked like after:
 

I read a bunch of online how-tos before getting going, and here are the five tips that I found most helpful:

Daylight is best.  Though I had two lights and used them for various shots, everything just looked better in natural light and the colors were more accurate.

Light the object from more than one side.  I ended up using daylight from the window as my primary light source, but I used my other lamps to bounce light off the white paper and reduce shadows. I found one light positioned in front/above and another on the side worked best.

Cover your lighting sources with a thin piece of fabric or wax paper to diffuse the light and reduce harsh shadows.  I attached the fabric to the top of my lamps with binder clips and flipped the fabric up or down depending on what I needed.

Use the Aperture Priority setting on your digital camera to adjust the white balance and prevent underexposure.  You can tell that you have the correct white balance when the background paper looks bright white (not grey) in your viewfinder.  This made the single biggest difference for the quality of my photos.

Take lots of close ups.  The close ups ended up being my best, most interesting photos and really brought out the details.  I’ll definitely use at least one photo of the entire product, but I think it will be the other shots that actually sell them.

Oh, and before you go to all this trouble, make sure your camera is charged.

 

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I put the finishing touches on the first set of kits for Brooklyn Assembly yesterday.  Today I try my hand at product photography. So much to learn, so little time!

 

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Three cheers for code academy!

Last night I spent a very pleasant evening going through the HTML lessons on Code Academy.  Welcome to the website I built with my new skills (plus some serious help from a couple design sponge articles).

Code academy breaks down basic coding into bite sized chunks for those of us lay people who don’t know our forward slashes from our image tags.  I’ve had developer friends tell me that it’s not worth my time to delve into the world of programming–that I’d be better off learning how to use the widgets that sites design for non-developers.

I’m happy to rely on those tools, but I kind of agree with Douglas Rushkoff on this one.  Now I can build something I like and not rely on someone else’s vision.  And if I’m teaching myself how to make things, do things, and build things, shouldn’t that extend to digital things too?

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