Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Low Cost Photo Studio for Selling Online on eBay, Bonanza, etc.

It is easy to make a low cost photo studio to take pictures for your online listings on Bonanza, eBay, or any other site you sell on.

If you do not have a mannequin to display your clothing items on, you will need to find a place in your home to display them.  Laying them out on the floor or a bed is not attractive and fails to give you a good perspective of the true shape of the garment.  Hanging the garments on hangers is good, but then you need a place to hang the hanger to get good photos.  Doors are not very practical, and if your house is like mine, there isn't another location that is any better.  That was the trouble I had, so I came up with a solution.  Even if you use a mannequin, you still need a nice background and this will solve that problem for you too.

First, I bought some PVC pipe and made a frame.  Actually, I had my husband make it for me.  I determined what size I wanted and then had him make 3 sections for me.  He spray painted them for me so they would look nice.  I used electrical ties to hold the three sections together and have them hinged in order to stand.  These first two photos show the frame from two different angles, in the location where I use it.

Next, you will need to have a solid color fabric to hang over the top of the frame.  Mine is in two pieces.  You can have a few colors on hand so that you can change them out as needed, depending on the color of the items you are photographing. 

As you can see, I have the fabric on the floor and have sufficient hanging over the top to hold it in place without using anything to attach it to the frame.

When taking photos without any extra lighting, it is very difficult to get them to come out with the correct coloring and there are dark shadows and it's hard to see details without using flash.  I have wasted many hours taking photos of the same item over and over and over in an attempt to get the perfect picture. 

There are studio lights that you can purchase to solve that problem and get the most professional results.  However, I live on a tight budget and cannot afford those lights at this time.

If you use the wrong lighting, you will have yellow-colored photos, like this one on the right.

As you can see, the 2 lights that I clamped to the top are not sufficient to light my items that I need to photograph.

Next, I added more lights and changed the light bulbs to the GE Reveal light bulbs.   You can also use the GE CFL Daylight bulbs, which might be even better than the Reveal bulbs. 

As you can see, there are still dark shadows and more lighting is needed to fill in the space with light.

Next I used a couple of TV tray tables to raise the height of the lights and added a couple of shorter lamps in an attempt to fill in the dark shadows.  These two photos show a garment hanging on the background with the lights illuminating it.

Now just setting up the lights and taking pictures isn't all there is to it.  I am not a professional photographer, so I try just about every setting on my camera there is in order to come up with something that works well. 

After trying many settings, and searching for information online, I came up with these settings, using a Sony CyberShot, for my pictures taken in my low cost photo studio.
  • Metering - Center
  • Focus - Center AF
  • WB - WB Auto
  • ISO - 100
  • EV - -1.0EV
  • RecMode - Normal
  • Image Size - 12m
  • Color Mode - Normal
  • D-R - D-R Off DRO Standard
  • No flash, or Flash Level -

When taking actual photos to use in a listing, I do not stand back to get the lights in the pictures.  I get up close enough to keep the lights out of the picture and then I crop the photos.  This is an actual photo used in one of my listings.

It isn't perfect, but with more practice, and experimenting with lighting and camera settings, my photos will get better.

You may view the listing here: Dream On Negligee Nightgown Nightie size Large

Monday, August 16, 2010

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Handmade Home Decor

I am a third generation seamstress and I love to sew.  My mom has sewn professionally for several years now, making children's clothes and baby bibs and such for various companies.  Her last job was sewing clothes for a company who sells their items at home parties, much like a Tupperware party.  My grandma sewed so well that she won grand champion ribbons at the county and state fairs in Indiana, year after year.  I take great pride in my work too, even though I have not entered anything in a fair, nor have I been hired by companies to sew.  I have been paid by several people to sew clothes and small items for them, so I guess you can call me a professional too.

I never buy curtains or drapes because I make my own.  When I moved into the house where I live now, I made all new curtains and lined them.

This is the valance that I made for my master bathroom tub.  I hung two spring-loaded shower curtain rods and hung the fabric shower curtain with regular shower curtain hooks.  I bought  the shower curtain instead of making it.  The conchos are attached with Velcro so that they can be taken off when the valance is washed.  Underneath the conchos are snaps so that the valance can be taken off the rod without taking the rod down and having to put it back up.

This is the window curtain in my master bathroom.  It is on the north side of the house, where not much daylight comes in, and the glass is privacy glass that you cannot see through.  There is a cabinet to the right of the window, so a curtain rod over the top would be in the way.  Therefore, I placed a spring-loaded curtain rod inside the window frame and the curtain covers just over half of the height of the window.  This is the only curtain that I didn't line because there was no need to.

I found this wonderful western fabric and had to have it for my master bedroom curtains.  I have two windows in my bedroom, and this is one of the windows.  I trimmed the valance with some luscious fringe to perfect the look.

I am going to make a quilt for my bed to match these curtains someday.  I have some of my fabric ready, but have not made my design yet.

These are the country curtains that I made for a double window that is on one side of my living room. These photos show two different angles of the same window. They were obviously not taken on the same day, as you can see by the chair not being the same one in front of the window.

I did not have enough of the striped fabric for the entire length of the curtains.  I had 2 pieces that needed to be pieced together, so I cut a strip of the fabric that was used in the valance to put a horizontal stripe in the curtains.  It looks really nice.

There are three layers on this window.  The shears, then the country curtains, and the scalloped valance with ruffle lace trim.  There are vinyl blinds in the window too for privacy.

On the other side of my living room is a sliding glass door.  The country curtain needs to pull open and shut on the curtain rod, so it needed the rings.  In order to wash the curtain, the rings need to be removed, so I attached each ring with a small piece of fabric that snaps to the curtain.  I wanted to have a valance, but could not figure a way to hang two rods and have the look that I wanted, so I attached the valance to the curtain.  This curtain was a lot of work, but well worth it.  I like it.

I have only one window in my kitchen, which is over my sink.  I have vinyl blinds in the window for privacy at night, but I did not want a curtain to keep daylight out during the day since it is on the north side of the house.  I chose to make a valance for my curtain, and I found this great country fabric at Hobby Lobby to make it with.  I love the windmills in the fabric!!  I made a pot holder, seat cushions, and a tablecloth to match.

My husband has a hobby room where he paints scenic pictures and plays his guitars.  He loves NASCAR and his favorite driver was Dale Earnhardt.  I put a racing themed wallpaper border around the top of the walls for him and then I made these curtains for the one window that is in that room. 

The valance is checkered flag fabric.  The curtain panels are made from white fabric with the red number 3 on it and Dale's car and the BF Goodwrench logo.  I trimmed them with black in the center and put more black and white check fabric on the bottom to give them a finished look.

The white vinyl shades look very nice in the window behind the curtains.

These are most certainly the most expensive curtains that I have ever made.  My daughter loves this designer curtain fabric and wanted me to make curtains for her room with it.  In order to have the valance not blend in with the curtain panels, I needed to trim them with something.  As you can see, lace and fringe was not an option, and my daughter would not have wanted either of those trims anyway. 

I found some bead fringe for the trim that goes very well with the fabric.  It is probably the hardest thing I have ever sewn.

The only room in my house that I did not make my own curtains, believe it or not, is my sewing room.  My mom made those curtains.  She had them from a house that my parents used to live in, and they didn't fit in the sewing room that she had at the time she gave them to me.  I love them, so I've not bothered to make anything else.  I did make the lace shears though. 

The fabric that you see on my sewing table is the windmill fabric I used in my kitchen.

In the winter, it costs far more to heat this house than it ever does to cool it in the hottest summer months.  In order to save electricity, I turn the thermostat down at night so that it is only about 60 degrees when we wake up.  To keep warm at night, we add extra blankets.  This past winter I decided to make a fleece blanket to place on top of the bedspread on our bed for those extra cold nights.  (there are 2 pillows on one side of the bed and only 1 on the other)

This project started with this great looking fleece picture panel of a team of farm horses.  Then I bought a fleece fabric to go with it and pieced the top layer together like a simple quilt.  The bottom layer only had to be pieced together to get the width that was necessary to match the top.  I found a serging yarn online to serge the top and bottom layers together.  I stitched in the ditch of the seams of the top layer to keep the two layers from shifting.  This blanket is very beautiful and warm and cozy!!

I haven't had much time for sewing ever since I discovered eBay and now Bonanzle, but I do plan to get back in my sewing room again.  I have plans for sewing items to sell in my booth on Bonanzle.  I have a few handmade items in my booth now.  Some that my mom made, and I think there are a couple of things that I have made in my booth as well.

Please come by and visit my booth at http://www.Bonanzle.com/Indizona.  You can leave a comment about my post in my booth chat window if you would like.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bonanzle Is An eBay Alternative That Allows You To Import Your Items From eBay

Bonanzle.com is a great place to list items for sale on the web.  It is a great eBay alternative if you are looking for a way of making money on the Internet.  Not only is it much simpler than eBay, it is friendlier too!  When you sell on Bonanzle, the fee schedule is straight-forward and easy to remember.  It can even be memorized.  When you sell on eBay, the fee schedule is complex and complicated and would be very difficult to try to memorize.  Besides that, it costs much more to sell on eBay.

Bonanzle is nick-named "The Ranch" and integrates live chat with the sellers and buyers into every booth.  Every seller gets a booth on Bonanzle, and they are set up much better than the seller's stores on eBay.  The support is like none I've seen on any other site.  When you contact support, they get right back to you with a real answer. 

You can import your listings from eBay to Bonanzle, but you can't just do that and walk away.  If you are importing your listings from the bay, you need to look at them for any language that doesn't belong in a Bonanzle listing.  These words need to be edited out of your listings:
  • store, pro-store
  • power-seller
  • eBay
  • sign up for PayPal
  • Turbo Lister
  • auction
  • bid
  • end of listing, listing end, etc.
  • non-paying bidder
  • 5 star seller ratings
  • detailed seller ratings
  • visit my other items (unless it's a link to your Bonanzle booth)
  • add me to your favorite sellers (if it's a link back to eBay)
  • any other reference to eBay or links back to eBay
When you make a listing for Bonanzle, you want it to be good enough to show up in a Google search.  You have about 60 spaces allowed for your title, which needs to be filled with as many keywords as possible that relate to the item that you are selling.  Don't fill it with things that you used on eBay like NEW, NWT, NWOT, etc.  Don't use words that nobody is going to use to search for your item.  Examples are beautiful, pretty, LOOK, etc.   When you write your description, the first 250 characters are sent to Google, so you need to fill that with descriptive keywords that will be picked up in web searches.  You need to write a description like there are no photos to look at.  Paint a picture with your words.  Then you need to take pictures that are good enough to show the item to your buyers like there are no words to describe it.  Bonanzle allows up to 6 photos for every listing, so if you take at least the front and the back, that is the least you should do.  Top and bottom photos are next, and then each side, when appropriate.  Not every item needs 6 photos, but when an item needs that many, take that many.

On eBay, they give you stock photos to use for many items.  This feature is not available on Bonanzle, but that is actually good because a lot of buyers (like myself) will not buy a used item when the only photo given is a stock photo.  I don't even like to see a stock photo for a new item, and will pay a little more sometimes for the same item from another seller who used a photo of the actual item instead of a stock photo.

If you have not experienced Bonanzle already, either as a buyer or a seller, I encourage you to go to Bonanzle.com and check it out for yourself.  You can start your tour in my booth at www.Bonanzle.com/Indizona

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Indizona's Booth on Bonanzle

I have a variety of items for sale on a great website called Bonanzle. It is free to list your items and the fees are very reasonable for selling them. It is a friendly community of sellers and buyers who engage in chat and forum posts. Chatting and posting is not necessary, but it is fun and informative.

I have several vintage matchbooks that I haven't found any place else. You can find books in my booth on various subjects, including sewing, crafts and home school educational books. There are some one-of-a-kind collectibles for you too. I have sewing patterns from various decades as well as some homemade items.
You never know what I may find to place in my booth, but it's Always A Variety!