Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom Series: What Camera Do I get?

Raspberry Necklace by inedible jewelry

In this series, we ask the SASsy Mentors for their "words of wisdom" about a specific topic.  This month, we asked Emma from benconservato, Jenny from thepaintedlily, Lauren of sugartreecreek, Ilze of ilzesmemories, Jessica of inediblejewelry and Becka of beckarahn this question:   
What camera do you have and what is the best/worst feature about it?

Our panel was in agreement on several recommendations:
  • New or old doesn't matter.  What is important is knowing your camera and learning how it works to get the results you want.
  • Manual settings including the ability to select ISO, adjust white balance, shutter speed and aperture give you lots more flexibility for different lighting situations.
  • Sometimes it is more about the light than the camera.  Making sure that you have bright, even illumination is going to help your photos look great.  Many recommend using natural light, but you can also get great results by using other light sources combined with the right camera settings.
Becka, Emma and Jenny are all fans of the Canon Powershot G Series, both older and newer models. (Becka has a G9 and G12, Emma has the G10.) The color/white balance is great.  The PowerShots have lots of settings you can adjust (ISO, white balance) and many features (that you usually only find in a DSLR) in a point-and-shoot style body.  Macro mode is excellent.  The G12 model has auto-detect for macro shots so you don't need to switch the modes back and forth.

Jenny's tip: It's nice to be able to have a smaller camera sometimes to shoot things when I only have one hand available. I model my own rings for the shop and it's great to have a nice, light camera to shoot those with.

Lauren recommends the Canon Rebel 3i and Canon 5D but has this to say about getting a DSLR:  I use a Canon 5D, because I am also a professional photographer. I set it on manual, meter the light and use the macro lens. But don't think you need an expensive camera for a good picture of your craft. These cameras have lots of settings which means lots of knowledge about your camera.

Panasonic DMC-TZ3 Lumix with the Leica lens.  Emma says:  It has good and bad points. Sometimes it adjusts the light in a way you don't want it to - it looks fine on the screen, and the shot is then dark or blue in tint or very yellow... annoying. I usually have to slightly adjust the photos in PhotoShop anyway. I am not the only person I have spoken to who has light issues with this camera.

Jenny says: I currently use a Nikon D80 that I've had for a few years. I love that it's easy to shoot with and that it works so well with natural light. I shoot on a tripod with side light from a window and I never use a flash. I shoot on my macro setting to be able to get great details and super close ups. 

Ilze says: I shoot with Nikon D300 for 3 years now, and I really love it. There have been few generations that already have followed with improved and added features, but my D300 has great shutter speed, minimal noise, and variety of lenses available. I use it in my photography business as well as my etsy business.

Jessica says: I use a 12 year old Olympus; I'm not sure of the model. It was a decent, mid to high end camera the late 90s. I am looking to upgrade, primarily because I've reached the technical limits of my camera and the photos need to be more high-res in the future.  My favorite aspect of the camera (and a feature I can't recommend strongly enough!) is that it's super easy to manually set the white balance. I just snap a photo of a piece of white card stock, then hit a button to let my camera know that's white in my current light condition. My camera then automatically corrects for my lighting, which means my colors come out very true to life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

More on thinking about your Customers

If that last post got you thinking about your potential customers, this one will definitely give you some more to think about, especially if you make patterns or kits.  Check out what stuffed toy artist and blogger Abby Glassenberg has to say about the idea that "Each new customer is looking at listings with something unique in mind."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest Post: How to Find More Paying Customers for Your Handmade Shop

I’m Lisa Jacobs of Marketing Creativity, where I help handmade sellers build their creative businesses into the career of their dreams. I’m so excited to be here today, and I’ve been a proud member of Team SASsy for some time now.

I appreciate your attitude and willingness to learn. Simply being readers of this blog and followers of this team shows your dedication to the creative businesses you’re trying to build. Your effort alone is something to be proud of, and I ask that you never forget:

Somebody is out there, right now, just waiting to pay you to do what you love to do.
As handmade artists, you offer a unique value: you provide your customers that special feeling only an item made from passion can produce. Artists and crafters love what they do so much that they often cringe at the idea of targeted marketing. In fact, the notion of cold-selling what’s been made with a warm heart makes many creatives downright uncomfortable.
However, targeted marketing simply means finding the customers who desire your work, and it's time to show the world what you've got to offer. So, how do you find your paying customers?
In the handmade community, we often count fans, sales, followers, and favorites, but the number that adds to your bottom line, the audience who will truly help you fund your passion is composed of paying customers. They will help your business grow, your talents expand, and your skills improve. This audience is composed of the people who “get you” and they want what you’ve got to offer. These are “your people.”
How to Find "Your People."
If your product is for everybody, it’s for nobody, because nothing is for everybody. Realize that your product isn’t for everyone; it’s for a select few who share your taste, and have an eye for your art and a love for quality handmade. If you could tell the whole world about your product right now, and then separate the interested buyers from the rest of the population, you could never keep up with the demand from that interested sea of paying customers … not by yourself, anyway.
In order to find “your people,” you have to identify them first. Do this by narrowing it down to one person: the ultimate fan of your art. Now, about that person:
  • Is she single or married?
  • Does she have children?
  • Does she exercise, and if so, what's her preferred method?
  • Is she conventional or quirky?
  • Which magazines does she subscribe to?
  • What are her favorite television shows?
  • Who are her role models?
  • What hobbies does she have? Is she a crafter or artist too?
  • What does she dream of doing/seeing/being one day?
  • How do (or will) your products make her feel?
There are many benefits to answering these types of questions about your target audience. Identifying this person will help you generate a whole list of ideas on where she might be hanging out (and how you can approach her). It will help you determine your niche market, because your niche market is the sea of people doing much of the same. 
Building Your Creative Business: Free Webinar
I’m doing a free webinar, exclusively for readers and members of Team SASsy on Building Your Creative Business. On Wednesday, September 5 at 7PM (EST), I’ll be discussing how to improve your shop, gain exposure, and find more paying customers for your creative business. 
It’s one jam-packed hour of brainstorming, networking, and live Q&A. Your seat is free, but spaces are limited. To reserve your spot, please click here and complete the sign-up form.
Thank you! 

I want to thank the members of Team SASsy for all that you do! Thank you, Becka, for writing and maintaining this fabulous blog. Please keep up the good work! I wish you continued success and all the best.
Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be ... you.