Explorer Beastie at the Etsy Offices - CrawCrafts Beasties

Ready for your Closeup?

Explorer Beastie at the Etsy Offices - CrawCrafts BeastiesExplorer Beastie and I have been quite the social butterflies recently – we started with the Irish Blogger Conference at the end of last month, and then last week found us hanging out at the Etsy offices in Dublin city centre! We were there for a one-night Product Photography Course, organised by the Etsy Ireland team. When I heard they were running this, I jumped at the chance to go – my own Etsy shop has a hard time competing with my market setup, so I was hoping to pick up some tips to make it a more fun place to visit!

That, and Etsy’s HQ is an excellent place for an adventurous Beastie to explore…
Explorer Beastie at Etsy - CrawCrafts BeastiesOnce everyone had arrived, and helped themselves to some cake…
Yumyumyum CAKE! CrawCrafts Beasties…We got started! We all had a chance to introduce ourselves, and talk about what we make, and then we tackled the tricky subject of lighting.

We’re always told that it’s best to take photos in natural light, but in Ireland this poses something of a problem. I’m certainly guilty of holding out for a sunny day to take my pictures, and it seems I’m not the only one! Even in the middle of summer, a rainy day here can mean really limited daylight… and correspondingly dark and unimpressive pictures! Some of the others also pointed out that it’s difficult to get consistency in a set of photos, because natural light changes so much from season to season – or sometimes from one minute to the next! Gaaaah! How do you fix this?

Why, you build a lightbox of course! So we did – well, two of the team members took on the task of transforming a simple cardboard box (free from your local supermarket) into a glamourous miniature photoshoot setting!
The Finished Lightbox! CrawCrafts BeastiesHere it is, being used as a backdrop for a couple of beautiful Brookwood Pottery mugs! If you’d like to have a go at making your own, YouTube is just brimming over with “how-to” videos… We watched this one before we started. And most of the things you’ll need are either free, cheap or something you’ll already have at home! We all had fun testing it out, too…
Testing the Lightbox - CrawCrafts Beasties…And here’s Cheerleader Beastie enjoying her moment in the spotlight, as Explorer Beastie watches admiringly from the sidelines!
Cheerleader Beastie's Photoshoot - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut of course, he couldn’t resist the lure of the limelight…
Explorer Beastie Strikes a Pose - CrawCrafts BeastiesThe light in this lightbox still has a bit of a pinkish hue, but this can be fixed by using daylight bulbs instead of standard lightbulbs. Javier from CartabanCards showed us another way to make a lightbox, this time using LED camping flashlight tubes and pieces of a simple slot-together storage unit. I think the lighting in this one works much better for showing off Beasties in their best light!
Explorer Beastie Portrait - CrawCrafts BeastiesDoesn’t Explorer Beastie look handsome? And look at how well this setup worked for this stunning vintage-style doll’s dress from DinahsDolls
Photographing the Dinah's Dolls Dress - CrawCrafts BeastiesDinahsDolls Dress in the Lightbox - CrawCrafts Beasties… And how it makes the colours pop in Maeve Croly‘s embroidery sample!
Embroidery Sample by Maeve Croly - CrawCrafts BeastiesAll in all, we had a great time and learned loads! It was super to make contact with some other local Etsyans as well, and swap tips and stories. I’m especially interested to try out Snapseed, which allows you to edit photos on your phone or tablet!

Thanks to the Etsy Ireland team for organising the course, and especially to Claire from mIrishDublin and Javier for teaching us! Claire also put together an Etsy treasury afterwards featuring some of the goodies from each of our shops… if you’re in need of a treat for someone (or for yourself), you could well find it there!

We’ll be back on Friday to check up on a Beastie abroad… in the meantime, if you have any top photography tips of your own please share them with us in the comments!

Have a great week!