Tips for creating a home photo studio

When I started my Etsy shop two years ago, there were a lot of things I had to do that were totally outside of my comfort zone. One of those things (a huge and important thing) was to learn how to take good and clear photographs. When selling handmade items, one piece of advice that is repeated as gospel is to take clear images in great lighting; that tell a story about the product; and that show off as many details about texture and colour as can be in a high resolution format.

That is a geeky way of saying that you really gotta learn how to make someone buy your product all through sight! Of course there are other factors that help people decide to buy your handmade item, but that’s a topic in a blog post for another day 😉

First thing: employ the ownership of a 3 light lamp on a sturdy stand. 3 lights are best not because of aesthetic, but because they can be moved and aimed to point at your handmade object in a way that enough light hits it. Think: laser beams!

A three light lamp on a vertical stand- you can pick one of these up at Home Depot, Lowes, Home Hardware, or whatevs.

Below we see a photo stage set with a mannequin. In order to get a smooth and uniform backdrop, I hanged a white poly material from the wall. This backdrop is really best when either totally white (or as close as you can get) because the light shined from your lamp needs to be “bounced back” at the camera to ensure a well illuminated photo.

Easy trick to help remember: Optics= studying how light is captured and refracted to enhance/change images. I’m sure there is a more scholarly explanation that that of course; but that’s a basic grade 8 review 🙂

Notice the two lamps above and below – my camera is set up between the two: peeking through stand’s branches

Once the stage is set and the light hits all of the areas that you want to highlight, take a few test pictures to see whether you should use flash (or not); set a widescreen image; or fiddle around with any camera settings that you like to use.

Green Hemp apron with green frills- a feminine design by LillyBoChic

Final product: a cropped image with the brightness and contrast increased slightly.

Green Hemp apron with green frills- a feminine design by LillyBoChic

For a non-professional photograph, I think it captures all of the elements that I had hoped for. I really like how crisp and clear the photo is- you can see the blue chalk lines on the garment (a temporary marking of course) that I used to line up each pocket.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.


Reflections on Doors, Passageways, and Entrances

I had a desire to capture photos of a topic that has intrigued me…Entryways.

And really: why not? For the most part, we all use them at least twice a day.  I wondered if much thought is given to them- despite being the entrance to our homes and secret places.

Toronto Doors view from the sidewalk. A purple door with mauve wainscotting aside a brown bi-fold door with dark wood stain.
Toronto Doors view from the sidewalk. A purple door with mauve wainscoting aside a brown bi-fold door with dark wood stain.

This semi-detached home caught my eye because of the contrast between the front doors of the homes. Violet and mauve on one side, is contrasted with dark brown wood stain on the other. If you look at the detailing of the entryway, you can see that the design of the opening is pretty much the same on either door; however, the bi-fold door on the left is likely original to the construction.

A black and gold door with a large glass lite insert on a street in downtown Toronto Canada. The homes have only street parking, but large front yard and large tree-foliage patches.
A black and gold door with a large glass lite insert on a street in downtown Toronto Canada. The homes have only street parking, but large front yard and large tree-foliage patches.

I really enjoy the above door. To me, it is regal yet betrays a softness by allowing a large lite in the middle. A small gold door knocker adorns the door also further highlighting the gold on black scheme.

Toronto (2)

Not exactly sequitur, but the label on this door just screamed out “Vice magazine!”; like something you would see in the background of a photo shoot for some Toronto clothing boutique. I also love the presumption of the door on the left. I bet they thought “Screw it, let 8b have the number on the door. If they’re looking for 8a and they can’t figure it out, then we don’t want to have that visitor!”

I have a fleeting imagination..


Toronto (3)


Another tear down on its way to being built up. This one of the average-looking modern entrances one sees commonly these days in Toronto.  The doorway definitely gains points by being painted a dark color (and having not too many and not too few hardware pieces like a letter slot and door knocker); however the style of the home just so totally minimizes my ability to “love” this entrance as it is narrow and would leave me feeling claustrophobic.

That’s all for now- thanks for stopping by!


The creative process.

The creative process is one where sometimes you have to walk away from your work, do something else, and return later with fresh eyes. A friend recently told me this, and I agree with it- it’s just basic science. If you stare at the picture for too long your eyes will go crossed. Just like those 3D photos Scholastic used to sell at book fairs in elementary school. I never had one myself, but our teacher would usually buy one for our class.

I have been taking an opportunity to do that these last two days. I completed 3 aprons in one day during the weekend, and since then I have worked on painting my mural, taken photos of my products, and just found other things to do apart from sitting at my sewing machine. I know that I have a lot of things to work on, but I am trying not to immerse myself so deeply in my tasks that I resent them ad quit altogether- or take a long long break from it where time is wasted-which is sometimes just as bad. I can’t say enough how important it is to stay focused on what you want (if you are fortunate enough to know what that is). Knowing what you want takes a tonne of soul searching. But it feels like the same things that make us wake up the morning, like free-will and individuality, are the things that keep us constricted in fear and inevitable indecision.


A photo of what I have been working on.

Worn by creator S.
Worn by creator S.


New Machines with Old Dreams

My take on a classic half apron with blue frilly edging. This one was tough, because the seams have a border on the opposite side made from a bright multi-coloured print. It took a lot of patience to get everything lined up.

I’m getting better every day and learning new techniques- conversely, sewing helps me stay focused on my life. Each stitch that helps to form a straight line reassures me that the end product will be beautiful if I just keep the needle on the right path. I can sit quietly and put my mind to a task that will (hopefully) result in something good. Right now I’m working on a sheer dress that will be photographed as part of my portfolio. The colours are different (conservatively speaking) but it fits a style that similar to my own – (understated, but very sexy).
I am excited to use my new machine that makes folds in narrow fabric so that you can easily press straps in about 25 mm widths. It makes working so much easier when one has all of the right tools. I can now make straps for an apron in about 10 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes without the tool. I made four straps last night—and was able to complete two aprons that I began production on earlier in the day! (I realize how nerdy it sounds to write passionately about sewing)

But who cares how it sounds! Write, speak, and live what you love! What else would you rather do?


The Sun Who Loved the Girl

I read a story once- in a comic book- about a beautiful woman who lived on a planet that was on the verge of technology that would take its people to an entirely new plateau of existence. They would soon evolve to become advanced beings, and so, the lord of the dream world fell in love with this beautiful woman who lived on this planet. In this story, he took this woman as his lover- and in the beginnings of their courtship, took her to a gathering in another realm.

This gathering was attended by other magnificent beings-including the manifestation of her planet’s Sun. She did not know who he was at first, but felt as though she had known him her entire life. The story concludes with the Sun declaring that he had loved her, her entire life, and that he watched over her and kept her warm from afar. And, that if she would have him, he would love her forever more. Sadly for the king of dreams, she accepted, and the two left the gathering together to be as one.

I find this type of romance to be the most alluring. Longing, devotion, declarations. Not to mention the idea of someone loving you from afar. If these things happen in real life, they are hardly ever admitted to- and if they are, a restraining order usually follows. It seems as though few people open their heart. I know that there is so much hurt in the world- and that if you open your heart some of the bad things may enter just by chance. So we close ourselves off. We harden. We brick each other off with each breath so that we may protect our inner selves from the cold grasp of sadness and hurt.

I wonder if there is a way to keep an open heart, but still remain protected?