Christmas order deadlines are now available these are:
For custom ceramic plaques - Friday 5th December
For custom Wooden items - Friday 12th December
Still lots of off the shelf goodies to be had as well for last minute shoppers!
Many Cute Christmas decorations available too...
Brand new and just finished my new collection of ceramic wall clocks are now on sale! So far I have created an Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Gothic Halloween Design. More designs will be on the way before Christmas so keep checking back...
New to my collection this year is family name signs with your own family members created into quirky characters! Hobbies and interests can be included with pets to accompany too in these one of a kind plaques. Whether it's to be used as home decoration or outside as an address sign I will develop your family into cartoon style versions in my very own unique design - No one will have a family portrait quite like these! Get yours here!
If you know a farm that needs an individual look then why not recommend their own farm sign! Beautifully hand made to look rustic and quirky these signs can be designed with any name or address, plus the option of silly cows, horses, tractor and foliage to make it personal to you! A stunning piece to have at the entrance to any farm...
So I've been squirrelling away in the new year as it's always a quieter time for me. I tend to give the website a little freshen up and I especially wanted to concentrate on my product photos.
If I look back at my original ones when I first started I tend to cringe! And don't get me wrong, I am nowhere near perfection, but things are looking better. I thought I'd share a few tips that helped me to improve from this:
Now please don't take anything I say as gospel, these are just my experiences and findings, everyone will find out different ways and what works best for them.
TIP 1 - RESEARCH
Reading, reading, reading - I can't stress enough how important it is to understand what your camera does and what you need it to do. I was in the market for a new camera so I researched the difference between DSLR and digital compact. Photographylife with tips for beginners was an excellent source and a huge learning curve.
From what I learnt the basis for my needs was lighting, exposure ISO and White balance. DSLR are superb cameras but out of my price range, with interchangeable lenses and high quality focusing. I don't need that for my products, I don't have anything moving, elaborate backgrounds or small enough items like jewellery for the needs of intense focus.
So I looked for a basic compact with good megapixel quality ISO and white balance function within my price range. I came up with the Nikon Coolpix S3500. I love it!
This camera does everything I need it to with macro focus for close ups, the white balance has different settings and an 'auto' (wonderful!) Plus the ease of decreasing or increasing the exposure as needed. It has 20 megapixels which is more than enough.
TIP 2 - LIGHTING
Natural Light. This is my biggest bugbear. I need natural light for my photos and this can be hard to come by living on a boat in the UK! I have tried making a lighting tent and using daylight bulbs etc.. but with the room I have it's just not practical to set it all up every time I need a new product photo, (maybe it's just laziness on my part) Still after much trial and error I found the ideal spot and time of the day when I get the best natural light through the windows which is when I aim to take my pics. There's no direct sunlight either so no harsh shadows to worry about. It's not perfect and many say if you have a decent space in the garden then setting up outside is ideal. And of course overcast raining days are a straight no for me, even with the settings on the camera it's worth waiting for a brighter day.
TIP 3 - BACKGROUND
Background. Such a huge issue and until I found my ideal background for sculptures I had no idea what a difference it would make to my products. As first started I liked the idea of sitting my sculptures on a tree stump to give them a rustic look. Then looked at a white background, as a lot recommend this is the way to go. It works for some of my products but seemed to wash out my sculptures (especially as some are white!) So I scrolled through a lot of sculptures on google images looking at the different backgrounds used. As a surprise to me so many people use grey, however it really makes the colours pop! It won't work for signs and plaques but the greyscale is beautiful for my characters. The one I use is a simply photographers gradient background sheet I found on Ebay and with no room or need for a huge backdrop this sheet works perfectly. I'm still experimenting with my other products and haven't settled yet on an idea for those.
So, my set up is basically clearing the TV stand which is under my best light window, at around 1 - 3pm with the gradient background curved from the wall onto the table (held up with masking tape on the wall and a lamp weighing down the front) and then clicking away with my Coolpix. It just shows that with little expense and bit of patience and research you don't need a huge studio or a great deal of of money to improve your photos!
It's a little late but happy 2014! And to welcome this year I have created some whimsical new small flower vases. Experimenting with new glazes and colours these remind me very much of the wonderful worlds of Dr Seuss and Tim Burton. Hope you like them, I do, and am planning on making quite a few more to add to the collection. Just these three for now so check them out quickly Here