Monday, October 16, 2017

Cover Shot Techniques - The Flat Lay

One of my absolute favorite go-to techniques for cover shots is the flat lay. This is especially true with men's fashion. It is so fun to gather (steal) props (my son's items that happen to be out in plain site - stuffed in a shoe box tucked in the back of their closet covered by three or four blankets). Oh I just realized they were trying to hide these things from me.

However, before I explain this technique, make sure you have done your proper preparation. If you don't know where to start, read my Preparation post. If you miss this step, you will miss your sale. The proper preparation can take even a simple photo from ordinary to extra-ordinary. So if you have not read this post, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to jail (I mean straight to the previous post) and make sure you are ready to move forward to the next step.

Just what is the flat lay technique? It is probably the easiest cover shot technique other than the simple over the door on a hanger technique. You know what I'm talking about. You don't have time to take a great shot, so you grab a hanger, hang the item on the back of your bedroom door, snap the photo, post to Poshmark, and VOILA...Instant Cover Shot...kind of like instant coffee. Works in a pinch, when you are in a hurry to get something posted, but it just doesn't taste or smell like Starbucks. That smell that makes you want to stay and visit a while, or check out the post and hit the like button, or better yet the BUY NOW button!

But I digress...So to answer the question mentioned above, a flat lay is a technique in which you use some sort of flat surface to arrange items in an appealing manner that will draw the viewer, making them want to see more. For fashion items, think in terms of setting the stage for what we will wear on a first date. You grab two or three outfits, accessories, shoes, handbags, etc. and then start arranging them on your bed or bedroom floor.  You lay your outfits flat and start experimenting with different looks, using accessories and purses to create the perfect look for the perfect date. If you have ever done this, then you have may have already mastered the process. The trick now is to make sure your background (bed or floor) does not take away from your masterpiece.

I generally us a photography backdrop and lay it on the floor as my foundation. It looks like weathered distressed wooden flooring, but it is actually just a paper drop that I purchased from Amazon Prime for a total of $13.  However, a large table or any flat surface large enough for your arrangement will suffice. Make sure whatever you use is not distracting and will not detract from your photo. Use of white poster board or white foam core board is especially great for taking pictures when you don't have the best lighting. It is also makes for excellent contrasting. But keep in mind, when you use this technique, you need to make sure you will be able to adjust the position of your camera appropriately. You want the viewer to think they are looking at something "upright" and not looking across an item. This means that you or your camera need to be in a position where you can take the photo from above and not across the items. So unless you are Michael Jordan or The Shaq Attack, I suggest you grab a step stool or chair, or use a tripod that can reach above your subject and then remotely take the photo.

Now that we have the foundation, it's time to set the stage. There are two styles that I use. I refer to them as "The Shabby Chic" technique and "The Sleek & Chic" technique.  The first is has a more casual and messier look, while the other technique is much more symmetrical with clean lines and folds.



Often I find that a combination of the two styles  can be more eye-catching depending on the circumstance or vibe you would like to present (you can see that I slightly combined styles in the above Miss Me Cover Shot). The two main things to consider when deciding which technique to choose are 1) balance and 2) creating an attractive layout.  that will make buyers want to take a closer look.  Balance refers to the scale and position of your arrangement. It is usually best to use an odd rather than even number of items in your layout. For instance, if you have are featuring a pair of jeans and are pairing it with a shirt, throw a cap or even nice book in with the mix. If you have you ever visited someone's home and they have this massive beautiful artwork over their fireplace or sofa but it is hanging crooked on the wall, you understand what I mean by balance. You want to have a pleasant conversation and visit with your friend or colleague, but you can't relax, because all you see is the lop-sided picture on the wall. If your arrangement is not level or balanced, viewers that venture into your closet want to come in and view through your items, but then they come across that one lop-sided photo and they hear nails scraping a chalkboard, and they quickly move on to the next closet.
One thing I have recently been told is a faux pax is taking a photo with shoes on top of clothing items. Apparently this is ghastly and with the millennials who think that the clothing item is now completely ruined and contaminated because it now has shoe germs. Do these people ever sit on a public bench, or the floor or on a street curb? Well what's the difference?? But since my fashion conscience millennial son has since set me straight, I now no longer commit such horrendous style blunders. You may still see some in my closet, but that is only because I am lazy and do not wish to exert the effort it would take to dig these items out of their assigned bin to retake and edit more photos. I just tell him to cringe and move along...

Happy Poshing...If you are new to Poshmark and would like to join, please use code NUKKO when joining and make sure to visit me or @shabbychic45. Make sure to stop by and say hi to let me know you were there! See you soon!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poshmark Cover Shot Techniques - Preparation

Cover Shot Preparation

You know the old saying, you never get a second chance to make a first impression? This is true of almost anything. So think of your cover shot as the first impression. What does it say about you but more importantly what are you conveying about the item? Do you post cover shots of wrinkled clothing? How about taking photos in a dark room or in a cluttered room?  Unless I know what a particular item really looks like, how well it holds up and how it fits, I will generally pass over anything that is wrinkled, in a cluttered room, taken on top of an unmade bed or on dirty carpet. How a person presents an item to the public, is generally how a person takes care of that item. Wrinkled items, shoes that need to be wiped off and dirty floors are some of my biggest pet peeves. So, let's go through the basic preparation that will make or break you. It's like the primer that holds the paint on the wall, or the cement foundation that holds up your home. Without a strong primer, the paint peels. Without a strong foundation, the house falls. Without proper preparation, you would do better by having a garage sale.

The very first thing that needs to be done is the most important: Thoroughly inspect your item. Are there any snags, discoloration, tiny holes, hem unraveling, or stains? Has the item shrunk or faded from multiple washings? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it does not necessarily mean that you should trash it or put it in the charity pile, but it does mean, you need to understand the true value of the item. If it has stains, see if you can get the stains out. There are multiple sites on the internet that offer great stain removing solutions. I have removed multiple ink stains completely (it did take several treatments) from a otherwise great pair of jeans and then sold them on Poshmark for quite a bit more than I would have had it been stained. 

What about wrinkles? Don't own an iron or ironing board, no worries. Although spraying a little starch and passing an iron over an garment generally will lend the best results, some people loathe ironing. For those who would rather swim with piranhas than iron a t-shirt, Downey Wrinkle Release has come to save the day! Spray a small-moderate amount of this liquid gold over all wrinkled areas, then do one of two things (or both). 1) Take the garment and shake it out like you would a sheet or blanket, the spray helps loosen the wrinkles and the shaking or whipping action helps pull out the wrinkles or 2) Lay the garment flat after spraying and then use your hands and "iron" out the wrinkles. This stuff is a must have. I don't ever seem to be able to keep any on hand, because they seem to disappear with one of my children whether that be with one at college or the other while he is working his 4 days on a tug boat. (Why he would need to have wrinkle free clothing on a tug boat is beyond my pea-brain understanding.)  Not only does it take out wrinkles, it smells GREAT!! I like to spray a little on the items just before packaging to mail out. 

Now that your item is ready picture worthy, you need to make sure your area is picture worthy. If you don't have a clutter free room, then you need to clean out a spot before you take pictures. If your floor or carpet is stained, purchase a cheap shaggy rug or bath mat. These work great for small items like purses, belts, scarves, swimsuits, etc. Another option that I find works great for me is a photography drop cloth. I got mine for less than $15 on Amazon. It's a paper drop, so I have to be careful not to tear it, but it works like a charm. 
Depending on what you are photographing, gather your necessary props. Women's clothing: grab a pair of coordinating shoes, belt, matching top or bottom, statement necklace, etc.; Men's apparel: Sunglasses, cell phone, shoes, wallet, and even a ball cap or fedora; Children's outfits: pair with a stuffed animal, cute little shoes, cap or hair accessory. Harry Potter shirt, why not get a copy of a Harry Potter book or print out a smaller size of a movie poster. Disney princess? Get some cute wings and a fairy godmother wand and some confetti. Let your imagination go wild. Great places to get props are from your own closet or your child's closet, floor or hanging from the doorknob (no matter their age) OR Check out your local Good Will or Salvation Army and buy some cheap items to keep on hand as props. Not only are you helping out a local charity, you are building your business on the cheap.

Finally, make sure you have enough light. Most will suggest natural light, but if you work a full-time job, it may not be feasible to always use natural light. Amazon has some inexpensive photography lighting that can be easily set up and taken down with minimal effort. Another option is to install daylight bulbs in some lamps for indirect lighting. These work extremely well. Just don't stand in front of the light or you will get a blob sized shadow of yourself that does not edit out well. Use white foam core board to make a white board and place it strategically to bounce the light back on to your photo subject. Works great when you are trying to maximize your lighting.

Now that you have prepared, it's time to decide on a layout technique. I will be posting some of my favorite go-to techniques in my upcoming posts.  My next post I will be discussing my most favorite go-to technique, the flat lay. So stay tuned! BTW the picture in my post really has nothing do with the subject, but it was just so darn cute! 

Further, please come visit me on Poshmark. You can find my closet at, or downloading the app on your mobile device and searching under “People” for @shabbychic45. If you are not currently a member of Poshmark, use code NUKKO when registering for a $5.00 credit off your first purchase. Please make sure to say hi and let me know that you found me on my blog!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Poshmark Cover Shot Techniques

The next time you peruse Poshmark, whether that be on the mobile app or through the website, click on the first item that catches your eye. It doesn't have to be your size, be your color or even be what you were looking for. Now that you have clicked on the post, try to figure out why it caught your eye, what was it that drew you in? Was it the color, the design, the way the model looked in a particular outfit, or the way you felt the minute you saw it? These questions are important questions to ask before you start the process of staging and photographing your cover shots. The answers to these questions will become your starting point to staging your next cover shot. If you still aren't sure where to start, find a layout that you really like and then try to copy it. I recently did this with a men's shoe layout. More about that in the Flat Lay layout post.  You may not believe this, but there are substantially more ways to put together a great presentation than there are to do a bad one. Surprisingly, you don't need to be crafty or have an eye for design. You just need to be willing to put forth the effort to do your research, gather your props, and set aside time specifically to take your cover shots. Don't think you can...??? Well, you've taken the first step by reading this short post. Google cover shot ideas, or be more specific by searching for "men's flat lay ideas", "using dress forms/mannequins to take cover shots", or "using models for your cover shot".  Subscribe to blogs and search for articles focused on fashion and how to take photos that sell. Blogs are great, because you usually get a notification when a new post has been published. This really isn't rocket science, I promise. Do your homework and follow my blog, and soon you will be taking photos like a pro and creating your own great layouts in no time.

Finally, if you are not a current Poshmark member, simply download the mobile app on Google Play or the iTunes App Store. Use the code: NUKKO when registering for a $5.00 credit towards your first Poshmark purchase, and then come visit my closet. My closet name is @shabbychic45 or using the web, go to .  I look forward to seeing you soon!! Stay tuned for my next post regarding one cover shot technique, my favorite go-to, The Flat Lay! As always, I would love to hear back from my readers. Please post your comments and suggestions below about your favorite cover shot technique!