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 www.poshmark.com/closet/shabbychic45, 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!