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Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop Camera Attachment

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

Lightscoop Camera Attachment
If you are like many of my friends who sell their handmade jewelry on sites such as Etsy, Ebay, and etc., you may have experienced the frustration of properly photographing your pieces.  When I photograph any piece of jewelry that has polished surfaces, gemstones, or crystals, I often get weird refections like the ones in the picture below (of a mask made from a gourd) that are a pain to remove from the photo.
It can be frustrating to get a good picture.  The frustration can be even more significant if you are photographing jewelry pieces like the one below that I photographed for Norma Prickett of Stillwater Designs.  The surface of the gourd jewelry has a very polished finish that reflects flash and natural lighting.
Norma Prickett of Stillwater Designs
Most of you already know that you often need to use extra lights to photography various art pieces.  Thus, if you are working with a digital camera, it will capture all the reflections from the jewelry piece, and you may find an image that you did not want reflected within the photograph.  Taking photographs of a mirrored or highly-polished surfaces without these types of reflections is quite challenging. In the past I have had to use large light diffusers to diminish some of the reflection, and even then I was not always successful, as you can see in the photo below.  I managed to diffuse a little more of the light, but I still ended up with some light reflection in the final photograph.
Norma Prickett Stillwater Designs
A friend of mine told me about the Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop camera attachment, and I was excited to try it out for myself.  She was kind enough to lend me hers so that I could run a few tests on my own to see how this would work for photographing jewelry and other such objects.  The way this piece works is that you attach it to the camera by sliding the Lightscoop over the flash in its popped-up position over the camera’s hot shoe. Like so:
Lightscoop Light diffusing attachment
Side view of how the attachment looks once it is mounted on the camera.
Side view of Lightscoop mounted on Canon
As you can see, it fits snugly on the flash. Also, there is a film covering the glass, so be sure to remove it before you start shooting pictures and you will get better results.
Lightscoop Attachment
The point of the diffuser attachment is to distribute the light from the flash in a more balanced manner so it can help you get better results in shooting indoor photos.
I decided to photograph various pieces of jewelry to see how it worked and if there was enough of a difference to justify my spending $29.95 on one of these attachments.  My first picture is of a polymer clay cuff that was shot without the lightscoop attachment.  Look carefully and you can see how the flash emphasizes the artist’s fingerprints on the green stones.
polymer clay cuff

It brings out too much detail in this piece. The next is taken with the lightscoop attachment.  I can see more of the faux clay marbling effect that Diane Calderwood did to achieve the faux marbled look, instead of the tiny flaws in the piece.

Polymer Clay cuff by Diane Calderwood
The next photo of a polymer clay pill box is again taken without the lightscoop attachment.  You can see the flash has been reflected off the dragonfly box, leaving some harsh lines and odd colors. Not to mention that the flash lighting seems to add the color blue to the outlining areas of the dragonfly’s wings.
Polymer clay dragonfly pill box
The next one is taken with the Lightscoop attachment.  There is no harsh flash reflection and I do not see the extra colors on it that I did in the picture above. This is important because if I were to sell this piece on Etsy, then my customer might think there was some blue in the original piece when in fact there was not.
polymer clay dragonfly pill box
The last test was on a necklace I did using polymer clay and diamond glaze (from JudiKins) to create a pendant with a Tiffany-style glass window image within it. The first picture is taken without the attachment.  What truly bothers me about this picture is that the bounce of the flash onto this piece makes it appear that there is an air bubble in the right top corner of the pendant, when there is not.
Tiffany Glass Style Pendant
The second picture is of the same pendant.  This time I used the lightscoop attachment.  There is a noticeable difference between these two pictures.   The clay does not look all funky, and there is no light reflecting off of odd places on the pendant.
Tiffany Glass Style Polymer Clay Pendant. 
After reviewing my results, I decided that this is a good investment and will be ordering one for myself.  It is great for photographing the things I need it for, and the results are obvious.  The lightscoop is being advertised as great for photographing people, pets, etc. but I did not have time to do any testing for those types of pictures.
Pros:
  • Works great for photographing small items with a polished surface.
  • The manufacturer offers really good instructions, tutorials, and more on their website.
  • The price is reasonable.
  • Light weight and easy to use.
  • They company offers two types, as well letting you know which one will fit your DSLR.
Cons:
  • Does not work as well outdoors.
  • Does not work in all situations like rooms with Cathedral ceilings, dark paneled wood ceilings, or churches.  However, the manufacturer does tell you what types of situations this attachment will not work on both the website and the enclosed instructions.  I love that they are so honest and straightforward.
  • You have to remember to remove the plastic from the mirror or it will not work as well as intended. If you are as forgetful as I am, do it right away so you will not be disappointed with your pictures.

What types of photo challenges do you face when photographing your creations? Do you have any tips to share with your fellow readers? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Crafty Business Week Articles Wrap Up

We hope you have enjoyed all the great articles this week about craft businesses. In case you missed anything, here’s a helpful list of the articles for the week:

Craft Fair Info
Craft Fair Lessons and Tips
Craft Fair Tips
How To Make a Memorable Product Tag
Articles about Craft Fairs and Shows

Blogging Info
Blogging Tips for Crafters
Types of Blog Commenters
Articles about Craft Blogging

Crafter Interviews
Mark Montano
Rachel Johnson from Swap-bot
Steff Bomb

Selling Online
Tips for Listing Items on Etsy
Etsy Newbie Tips
Articles about Selling Crafts Online

Social Media for Crafters
Setting Up a Facebook Fan Page
Social Media for Crafters

Better Your Business Articles
Photo Tips for Crafters
Promoting your Crafty Business
Materials for Promoting Your Crafty Business

Do you like these types of articles? Did you find them helpful? Would you like to see more articles like this? Please let us know, we love to hear what our readers think!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Crafter Interview – Steff Bomb

Reported by Simone Collins

Today I’m sharing an interview with Steff from Steffbomb.com. I had the pleasure of meeting Steff last year at Renegade and pretty much fell in love with her plushies immediately. Steff is an Etsy seller, as well as having her products in stores for retail purchase, so she is full of experience as an owner of a crafty business.

Crafty Business Name: Steff Bomb

Where can we find you online? My website, Steffbomb.comEtsy store, Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page.

P9110920

When did your business begin and why did you started?
Owning a business was completely unintentional. An important part of the story is that art and drawing were always my life, but since I’m self taught and never went to college having an actual career in art never seemed plausible.

I started sewing when I was around 21, not clothes or anything useful, just a bunch of shapes with eyes, limbs, and pointy teeth… it was all totally for my own personal fulfillment. I made some and gave them to friends and my roommates at the time, then started trading with a few artists friends. A little later the owner of my favorite store in Philly (Jinxed Philadelphia) asked if I would sell them in his store. Word-of-mouth spread, and more stores began to contact me. It all progressed so smoothly, before I knew it I had a small business and I didn’t even realize it. I still consider myself to be extremely lucky in every way.

Mr. Lertchman

Sometime in 2007 I realized that this was my chance! I was given a small window of “art career” opportunity, so I grabbed it like my life depended on it and worked like crazy to make my unrealistic childhood dream a reality. That year I saved up all of my money and mass produced an asparagus plush, called Mr. Lertchman, which was sold by a distributor to stores around the world. That opened even more doors for me and I was asked to be in an art shows for the first time ever. That in itself was mind-blowing. In July of 2008, I moved from Philadelphia to Chicago. September 2009, I gave the 9-to-5 world the heave-ho, quit my day job, and took on sewing full time. Everything keeps growing. It’s very easy to get caught up in the frenzy of my day to day but not a moment goes by where I don’t say to myself, “damn, this rules”.

Tell us about your business.
It’s plush things. Inanimate objects with faces, mostly foods (let’s be real here, eating rules). It’s hard to describe because even though it is art you don’t want to say “art” because that can come off as kinda snooty, so I usually just say “toys” because that sounds more fun, and hopefully people will acknowledge the amount of hard work that goes into it on their own.

Describe your typical day.
Pretty much everyday I wake up at 8:30/9am, hug my cat, eat breakfast, then sew forever until my hands fall off. Once in a while I’ll throw in a shower, a workout, or a trip to the post office, but that’s the basic outline of my life.

What keeps you motivated?
My unbridled passion for eating and paying rent. Just kidding. Half kidding. This is going to sound extra super barfy but I love this, every bit of it. I used to daydream about being in art shows with people I admire, making my own stuff and having exactly the life I have now. It’s literally the only thing I’ve ever wanted, and that is motivation enough for me to give this everything I have.

What keeps you on track with your business? Tools? Tricks?
The only trick I have is to keep my business as simple and as organized as possible. I have a file system for invoices, emails, and tracking numbers but I am still figuring things out as I go along so the less complicated I can make everything for myself, the better.

Any websites or programs you use to help with your business?
I’m sorry, did you just say there are programs that help with my business? Seriously? Here I am doing everything myself like a sucker, when I could have been getting help this whole time? I need to look into this because I definitely need all of the help I can get.

What is the biggest challenge in your business?
Being only one person is hands down my biggest challenge. Between orders, commissions, wholesale, art shows, craft fairs, and more, I can’t keep up with the demand. This past year I worked so much that I ended up with tendinitis. I don’t have health insurance and I had to keep working through it, but I felt like everything became a disaster. I’m finally almost caught up from that, but I’m still two months behind on emails. It’s a tad heartbreaking when I think about. When things go awry, it can really get me down, but I all I can do is not dwell on it and get as much work done as humanly possible until I am back on track. On a similar note, I AM looking for an intern, hint hint. If anyone is interested, feel free to email me at steff@steffbomb.com…wink!

Any advice you would give to someone just starting a crafty business?
One thing that seems super obvious but I still somehow managed to overlook is how important it is to have some kind of savings. When I quit my job I had $20 in my bank account. Holy crap that was dumb.

What do you love most about owning your own crafty business?
I get to make severed limbs and hamburgers and somehow still make a living. What’s awesomer than that?!? I also get to run errands while everyone else is at work. No lines! Two weeks ago I rode to the beach, sat by the water, and worked there all day… best day ever! It’s the tradeoff for working non-stop for very little pay and no benefits.

Grumble Bun

Besides crafting, what do you love doing?
I love eating breakfast, I love riding my bike, and I love getting to hang out with my friends. I’m a pretty simple gal.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I definitely know 1000% that the better the weather is, the better my work ends up being. I have a bit of a crush on sunny 75 degree weather. Sunshine, swoooooon. As far as ideas themselves, they always happen randomly, pretty out of the blue. Most of the time it’s when I’m in the shower, while I’m riding my bike, or when I’m about to go to bed.

Who are your favorite crafters?
Amy Sedaris is totally my hero. If anyone out there knows Amy Sedaris please tell her that I totally want to craft with her and then maybe one day we can and then I can die a happy girl. Shawnimals rules and Heidi Kenney is phenomenal… if you make plush and don’t admire everything they’ve done, you’re bonkers.

Tell us about your crafting space.
It’s kind of awful at the moment. I sit on my bed and work on a not-very-sturdy card table. I recently moved my sewing machine to my kitchen table, which is a treat because it’s not in my room (already a plus) and it’s much more stable than the card table. Once I get some extra money I will rent a car, head to IKEA, and get that $50 table and $30 chair that I’ve been longing for…but for now, I’m working with what I’ve got.

If you lose your crafty mojo, how do you find it again?
I’m very stubborn and will do my best to suck it up and keep working… but I can only ruin so much work before I realize that I need to take a breather.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Where do you see your business in 10 years?
It will be a little difficult to run my business in 10 years. I’ll be too busy throwing stray cats at intruders outside of my hobo shanty… probably at a rail yard.

Many thanks to my fellow Chicagoan, Steff, for all her insight and candidness. I love to hear how professional crafters got started and her tale is inspiring. Now head on over to her shop and grab yourself a little plushie of your own, what are you waiting for? Aren’t they adorable?

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!