Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Etsy "Studio"

(Note  4/7/16: For some inexplicable reason, a number of photographs used to illustrate this blog post disappeared. I have re-written the post, accordingly, as I'm loath to simply delete it. Hopefully you'll enjoy it anyway!)

One of my New Year's resolutions is to write a new blog post every week. Well, we'll see how that goes...

So today, being snowbound in New Hampshire (schools are closed for the second day in a row, probably just because it's so cold here right now with temps of about 3-5 degrees and a good wind chill going), 

I decided that this was a good time to write a little bit about my new Etsy "studio."

I say "studio" in quotes, because it really isn't a studio at all, but a stairwell with white walls and a skylight, which means a fairly good, light-filled space in which to photograph the finds for my Etsy shop.

We have a pretty decent-sized house here on the top of a ridge in southern New Hampshire overlooking Mt. Monadnock. But when I first opened my shop several years ago, I looked around for a suitable place to set up a real studio and never found anything except this stairwell, because most of our house is very rustic with pine walls and cathedral ceilings. Which I love, but not for photographing items to sell. What is needed is a white background (well, that's what I prefer anyway) and white backgrounds are pretty scarce in my house.

Except for the stairwell to our bedroom, which has white plasterboard walls. Since it's a small space, to say the least, the challenges of serving as a "studio" are, well, challenging. But it's all I've got, so I try to make the best of it.

Until now I've set up a small table on the landing--small enough so that my husband and I can go up and down without crashing into it. On top of the table I put a piece of white poster board on which to photograph my items, and with the aid of my old Lumix Panasonic camera (set to "auto," as I'm not an f-stop kind of photographer) and my favorite, free editing site Pic Monkey, I was able to do simple pictures like this of fairly small items:

Then one day I found a fantastic old blue-gray table at a yard sale for $4.00 which I set up and happily used because it gave another texture and color to my photographs.

Unfortunately, my husband kept forgetting that the table used up most of the stairwell, and when I was upstairs I'd hear him bumping against it, accompanied by certain epithets of unhappiness.

"You've got to get rid of that table!" he said finally, after bruising his leg yet again. Since I really do like him a lot and don't want him to be constantly upset, I took down the table and put up the small one I had before. But I just wasn't happy with the way it was working for me. There had to be a better way.

Eventually my husband was the one who came up with a plan: he re-painted the wall on the stairwell and made me another bench that worked better. He made a peg rail and attached that to the wall so I could hang up my vintage clothing to photograph.

In the winter I use 6500K Daylight GE energy smart compact fluorescent bulbs (26 watt--100 watt replacement or equivalent) in work light reflectors from the hardware store (credit for this idea goes to the Captain of the Etsy Pickers and Sellers TeamOhioPicker, who advised us about this in a discussion thread called "Photography Tips & Tricks "--thanks, Kevin!).

Okay, off now to take more photographs in my "new Studio"!

No comments:

Post a Comment