Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Quick Ways to Improve Your Photos

Here is another installment of Melanie from Violet's Buds series on Photography!

Use these tips to easily make improvements to your product photography!

Turn off your flash!
This is one of the biggest mistakes in product photography. The camera-mounted flash will make your product look washed-out and contrasty.
flash vs natural light

Use natural light + a reflector
Natural light is the best way to take excellent product photos. Make the most of the natural light by usingreflectors, or making your own light box.
Light box with natural light
Clean your space
Nothing detracts from your product faster than clutter in the photo. Before taking pictures, clean your space-- move that can of soda, stray sock, or push the dog out of the way. You may not notice at first, but fans will be distracted by random pieces of candy lurking on the side of your table.

Choose the right backdrop
Consider experimenting with different backgrounds until you find what flatters your product. Use only backgrounds that fit with your product's theme or your brand. Start with a plain background then, try different combinations of colors, patterns, and textures, including staged shots.

Watch placement & cropping
Read about the Rule of Thirds and Negative Space to make your photos more dynamic, and grab your customer's attention.

watch negative space and cropping

Practice, Practice, Practice!
The more you photograph and experiment with these tips, the better your photographs can become!

Thank you Melanie of Violet's Buds for this week's post!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Few Crafts For Fall

For those of you that love fall and want to make unique pieces, these homemade decorations will delight anyone who loves this time of year.  All of these pieces can be made cheaply, and with items from nature and around the house.

Book Leaf Garland
Items needed:
Old book pages
Colorful pressed fall leaves

You can press the leaves in the book and as soon as they are pressed, cut out pennant shapes from the book pages, leaving extra at the top to roll over the twine and secure on the back with tape or glue. 
This is a really easy and cheap garland to make, and it still looks lovely!

Rustic Garland

Items needed:
Pressed fall leaves
Quilt blocks
Twine or long pieces of quilting
Berries or other natural accessories
Hot glue and hot glue gun or E600 glue

Are you a quilter and you have some extra supplies hanging around?
This garland is fairly easy to make. 
Cut out quilt blocks or use preformed ones and tie them to your twine or another long piece of quilting. 
Attach your pressed leaves or berries using hot glue and place quilt bows over the top of each piece. 
Very cute and can be reused year after year!

Leaf Print Bag
Items Needed:
Pressed leaves
Acrylic paint in fall colors (orange, red, yellow, etc.)
Fabric bag
Two paint rollers
Paper plates

Take your pressed leaves and place them on the paper plate.
Take acrylic paint and roll the paint over the leaves.
 You can then turn them, painted side over, onto the fabric bag and take your clean roller and press them onto the bag, leaving your imprint on the bag. 
If you want to get extra fancy, you could also embroider a fun fall saying onto the bag to add a decorative accent.

Painted Acorns
Items needed:
Acrylic paint

These acorns can be placed in various different areas of your home to add a colorful touch.
Place acorns on a cookie sheet at bake at 170 degrees for two hours.
This is to make sure that they are sanitary and that you don’t have any issues keeping them around your house.
Paint the acorns with your choice of acrylic paint, letting them dry while leaning back on their caps.
Place them in a container or bowl of your choice. 

A mason jar with a battery operate tea light in the center might just be adorable with these acorns in it!

Thank you Tania Rose Marg of Ivory Isis for this weeks post!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Craft Show Season in FULL SWING!

The holiday season brings a variety of opportunities to meet and support your Handmade in Kansas City members while getting a little shopping and socializing done.  We've listed a few dates and locations to help you in your planning.  Hope to see you soon!

 October 15-16

Experience the sights and sounds of days gone by during the two day Pioneer Heritage Days on Kaysinger Bluff at Harry S. Truman Visitor Center. 

29027 Visitor Center Road
Warsaw, MO 65355
Hours:  9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

October 15

 Iowa’s largest handmade craft show scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 and children under 10 are free. More than 450 craft booths are registered to fill the Page County Fairgrounds - Cow Palace and Wibholm Hall, the Clarinda Pavilion, Clarinda Lied Center and the Clarinda Academy Activities Center. Concession stands are available and free shuttle buses provide travel between building locations.
Clarinda, Iowa
Hours:  Saturday,  8:00 am - 4:00 pm

October 20-23

Holiday Mart is the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri’s largest fundraiser. This upscale shopping extravaganza has been a fall tradition for twenty-eight years and is an extra special destination event. With over 200 specialty retailers and over 20,000 shoppers, the proceeds from Holiday Mart support community projects sponsored by JLKCMO.

Bartle Hall
301 W 13th St, Kansas City, MO 64111
Hours:  Thursday 9 am - 9 pm (Preferential Shopping 9 am - noon)
Friday 9 am - 9 pm
Saturday 10 am - 6 pm
Sunday 10 am - 4 pm 

November 5

Crafts & Drafts is the premier indie-craft fair in Kansas City. This one-day indoor event celebrates the independent crafts and local arts community, accompanied by local and national beer brands for your refreshment. Attendees will also have the opportunity to sample KC's best food trucks!
Uptown Shopping Center
36th and Broadway, Kansas City, MO
Hours: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
November 5
Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen at 
Belton Chamber of Commerce Holiday Extravaganza

Belton High School
801 W North Ave, Belton, MO 64012
Hours:  Saturday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

November 19
Handmade by Lolo Z & Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen 
Pinterest Inspired Holiday Craft Show
Come shop through over 75 vendors selling a wide variety of unique handmade, repurposed and boutique style vendors! 
Adams Pointe Conference Center
1400 NE Coronado, Blue Springs, MO 64014
Hours:  10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Ivory Isis & Nuggets of Goodness
Belvoir Winery Sip and Shop
It's the Most Popular Holiday Shopping Event of the year. The winery is full of a huge variety of vendors, free wine tastings, over $800 in door prizes, a live radio host, chair massages, and a tasty lunch too! Door prize vouchers are distributed at 10:00 AM sharp, and afternoon door prizes as well
Belvoir Winery
1325 Odd Fellows Rd, Liberty, MO 64068
Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Editing Photos

Melanie from Violet's Buds has written a series of posts on photography.  This is the second in that series.  See the first, Three Keys to Great Photos.

No matter how practiced you at at taking photos, its safe to say that the majority of photos will need some editing. With a well-exposed photo, you can make it pop with a few adjustments.

Here is the image- straight from the camera. The subject is adequately lit, the background nice and smooth, but everything seems flat and dull.

Using your preferred editing software, go into the Curves menu.

Using this tool in RGB mode, you can adjust the brightness and the contrast by moving the shape of the line. Basically, the steeper the line, the higher the contrast. Moving the center curve of the line will change the brightness.

After adjusting in RGB mode, you can then adjust the individual Red, Green, or Blue channels. Starting at the center point, moving it up or down will add or subtract the color of that channel.
I find that its best to adjust in the Red and Blue channels only. 

It can take some getting used to, so give yourself time to experiment. If you mess up, you can always cancel and start over. One great way to see if you have edited too much, is to look away from your screen briefly then glance back. If your first reaction is "woah! that's too red!" then you know you need to make further adjustments.

When are happy with the brightness, contrast, and color of the photo, crop it to the size and shape that will work best for your product listings.

With a few adjustments in the Curves menu, and a square crop, this photo is ready for product listing and to share on social media!

Check out this post for a list of 3 free photo editing programs.