My take on presentation and packaging

Hi there!

I’ve been meaning to write a post on presentation and packaging pretty much since I started this blog and I figured now’s as good a time as any, especially since it doesn’t really need much prep (and after all, I did kinda promise you a post on my fan page this week).

So, why would I want to write a post about presentation and packaging?
You may ask:
Why is it important?
What does it matter?
Who cares?

The answers are very simple:
It’s important because we are pretty much groomed to look at packaging, just look at your local supermarket. Everything is nicely presented and packaged and the products that sell best are those that are presented best (unless you are like me, who looks at price first 😉 )
It matters because if you are a small independent business in a big world of other small independent businesses and a whole load of big chain stores that sell similar stuff made for nothing in the East then you need to stand out from the crowd. Since you are a small independent business you probably don’t have any money to spend on marketing, photography and other promotional aids. That means you either loose out or you have to do it yourself.
You should care because if you don’t care no one else will care about your product!
Lets face it, it is your job to make others care about your product which is why you have to spend some time on good presentation and packaging.

Now don’t freak out and think, ‘she’s crazy! I don’t have the capital! Who does she think she is?’

I’m not crazy, well, not in the bad sense (hehehe) and I definitely don’t have the capital to hire people and if you ask anybody who really knows me you’ll know that I don’t actually think anything that I create is really all that special.

Maybe I need to backtrack a little here and tell you why exactly I decided to write this post NOW.
As you may know I created a facebook list for Crochet a little while ago and every time I find a new crochet/craft/yarn related page I add it to the list. It’s great because I can have a look at everything creative in one place. It’s a public list, so you are more than welcome to subscribe to it.

One thing that I have noticed, however, is that there are quite a few pages that post unflattering photos of their final product. For example, items are shown on cluttered tables, sideboards or shelves, which distracts from the item you actually wish to highlight.
You don’t have to hire a professional photographer to take product shots for you. Quite frankly, you don’t even need a professional camera. I’m speaking as a professional photographer here! I’m lucky that way, I take my own product shots and edit them in Photoshop but I don’t do that with all my product photos.
In fact, nine times out of ten I will use my iPhone to take a photo of a product. Mainly because I post most of my crochet work on Instagram first.
Those photos for the tutorials? All shot on my iPhone! (I then import them to my computer and run them through Photoshop so I can flip them for the right handed folk but the initial photo is shot with the phone camera).

So, you do not need to spend money on having nice photos taken of your work.
There is only one rule:
Keep it simple!
Funny how that applies to so many things, isn’t it?

You may ask, ‘But how?’

Here are a few ideas:

  • Clear away the clutter
    If you are displaying your product on a table etc. take everything else off the table.
    You may choose to leave the table cloth (if it doesn’t clash) or a jug with flowers (if it compliments) but get rid of everything else (the notebooks, the nicknacks, the plate of food).

  • Use the sun
    Take photos outside, or inside, next to a window. The more light you have the better your product will look.

  • Photograph on white
    It’s amazing what a difference a white background can make. Not only does it give your product the attention it deserves but it also reflects more light, so you will automatically create a photo that is lit better. You can use a simple piece of white construction paper, a white table cloth or a sheet.
  • Reflect
    Use a white paper or sheet to reflect more light onto your product, again, this will create a photo that is better lit. Simply hold the paper or sheet up next to the product your wish to photograph making sure it’s on the opposite side to the light source. So, if the light is coming from the left you want to put the paper or sheet on the right side. It will act like a mirror bounce more light onto the product.

  • Zoom in
    If you want to take a photo of the new hat you created then take only a photo of the hat. Get really close, so that it’s only the hat in your photo and then take the picture. That way people will be able to see the details in the product, like the stitch you used and even the texture of the yarn.
  • Style it
    Spend some time styling the product you are going to photograph. Make it look good, that does not mean adding bits, it means making the product shine on it’s own. You don’t necessarily have to display a hat on a mannequin (quite frankly those things freak me out!), you could use a ball, or a vase – I’ve seen people use wine glasses for baby hats. If you have a model (real-life one) use them! Or display the product in its natural environment, like a garland in front of a fire place.

So, there you have it. That’s all it really takes to take a good photo of a product.
Now on to packaging.
I think that as small businesses this is probably one area that most of us have covered and I don’t want to spend too much time on it except to say that you should think carefully about what you want your packaging to say about your product.
I personally like handmade packaging, I even use handmade packaging for my photography business, too an extent.
However, the type of handmade packaging needs to reflect your business’s ideals.
For A Bag full of Crochet that’s high-end. My products are not cheap and so my packaging can’t look cheap but just because it doesn’t LOOK cheap doesn’t mean it has to cost the earth.
There are tons of packaging ideas on Pinterest and I’ve even created a board with packaging ideas in case I ever need the inspiration (feel free to follow).
Here are some examples of packaging that I have used.

Very simple but stylish: black tissue paper and ribbon. The card has care instructions on it. This is how I package my photography props.

Not for a customer, but who says they are the only ones who deserve beautiful packaging?
This was a birthday gift.
A box is such a simple, yet elegant way to package a gift and there are many templates online, if you can’t work one out yourself.

This was the packaging for the overlay heart garland, which was a wedding gift for friends.
I used a template from Pinterest, I had to modify it though, it didn’t really work like it was supposed too.
It’s in the details: note the little monogrammed letters on the card. You can either hand draw them (like I did), or print a template, there are tons online.

Well, that’s all for today… all the photos shown were taken by myself with the iPhone, except for the first one of the elephant string (no, I’m not parting with the pattern 😉 ).

28. November 2012 by Stephanie Davies
Categories: BizzTalk | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. Excellent, practical, advice.
    The finished article deserves the same care and attention upon presentation, as taken during the creation.
    I’ve got to say, love the ‘elephant’ comment !
    If you were given a pound each time you were asked for that pattern, you’d be a very wealthy woman 😉

  2. Thanks again por another really helpful post. I am always traying to take better pics, so I will put your tips into practice.
    I laughed with your comment about mannequins… when she was 2 or 3 years old, my daughter was terrified of them. I couldn’t take her to a clothes store, or even walk and look at the store’s windows!

  3. A brilliant post! I completely agree with you! Presentation and packaging makes such a difference. I LOVE the list on fb and the pinterest board? Wow! Following!

  4. Pingback: My take on presentation and packaging | A bag full of Crochet

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