Saturday 6 October 2012

Make and Craft Blog Tour - and Giveaway!

Welcome if you're following the blog tour and have arrived from Alice's blog - it's been a fascinating tour up to now!  And if you've not yet heard of the blog tour, where have you been?  Basically, this blog tour is about celebrating the launch of Make and Craft magazine - it's a brand new magazine with subscriptions available from just £1 for 3 digital copies (if you're not in the UK, then I promise you one British pound isn't much in anybody's money and means you can access this magazine easily from anywhere in the world!) and £3 for three print copies.

Let me introduce myself very briefly for those who don't know me:  I'm Wendy, I run a small but successful business selling my own hand painted (and usually personalised) plaques, canvases and clocks at 1st Unique Gifts

 sorry about the mess - personalised plaque

I write craft articles for magazines, I design sewing patterns and I am writing some e-books on the business side of crafting.

cosy sofa clock - a recent project
using fabric applique mixed with paint, paper and glue

I also have more ideas I haven't started working on yet! Sounding like a juggling act?  Yep, it most certainly is, and sometimes, some of those balls do fall down.  At the moment, I see the patterns and books as slow-works-in-progress - hopefully I'll get there in the end!  I've made a start with patterns on Craftsy and am looking forward to getting more patterns on there soon.

I also write this blog you're reading right now for the handmade community, and love to interview other makers and people involved in the craft world on here - so I was quite excited to be able to interview Katharine Jewitt, editor of the new Make and Craft magazine, right here on this blog - you can read the interview here (it opens in a new tab) - I was fascinated to discover more about Katharine's background and inspiration.

Each of the blogs on the Make and Craft tour is giving away a free book to one reader - and today is your chance to win a copy of The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos  by Heidi Adnum.

I am thrilled to be giving away this book for two reasons:
  • it's such a brilliant book and will make a difference to absolutely anyone who sells online (or plans to)
  • I get to keep a copy for myself! 

 The book includes a lot of nuggets of really valuable information, like:

  • ways to take better photos even on a budget (it's not all about fancy new cameras)
  • how best to utilise light (I thought I knew about making the most of big windows and daylight - but there's so much more to learn about using daylight than that)
  • composition and what the type of accessories you include in a "lifestyle" shot might suggest about your product (really interesting!)
  • making a light tent, light box or even a tripod for next to nothing (very clever!)
  • interviews with crafters who use photography well (but might not always have done, so you see their learning curve) - there are some great tips in the interviews
  • how to use Photoshop Elements (looks like a brilliant introduction so I'll definitely be looking at that part of the book much more closely)
  • specific advice for specific craft genres

What I like best about this book is that it doesn't tell you what to do - instead,  it tells you which choices might be best for certain circumstances so you can very easily decide what might be best for you and your particular circumstances - this approach makes it an ideal book for anyone on a budget because it shows you how to get good photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera (or even a smartphone) as well as a more expensive camera - it explains quite clearly what your restrictions might be and how you can get around them.  It doesn't expect you to go out and buy the latest equipment, but details when and why an investment in new equipment could be a good move for some people.

I think it's one of those must-have books for anyone hoping to sell anything online - in fact, unless you're a professional photographer already, I'm pretty certain you'll learn something from this book.  The other bonus is that - of course! - it is beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photos, many of them in themselves offering inspiration and ideas you might be able to adapt.

It's written in easy-to-access layman's language and the few necessary technical terms are explained very simply.  Believe me, that matters a heck of a lot to some of us (yeah, my hand is up!) and is one of the (many) reasons I'd recommend that everyone who sells online should own a copy of this book.  I promise I'm not just saying that because I want you to enter the giveaway!

Want one of your own?

OK, to enter the giveaway you need to do two very simple things:
That's it!

The winning name will be drawn at random and I'll let you know the winner here on Tuesday 16th October.  Make sure you're contactable via your comment (if it links to a blog, that's ok - I can find you there).  I'll send to any UK postal address.  Pop back and check here just in case I have problems contacting you for any reason.

And if you're interested in craft books (why wouldn't you be?) you may well be interested in Make and Craft's book club  - check it out!  It's in its infancy right now, but I think it could get very interesting!

The blog tour continues tomorrow with  Sew Scrumptious - make sure you pop over there and see what book is on offer tomorrow, as well as following the rest of the tour. If you missed any previous posts on the tour, you can catch up with them via the links here.

PS: if you're not lucky enough to win this giveaway, I'd recommend putting this book on your Christmas list as it'll give you lots to think about as we start a new year!  Send this link to Santa (or just buy it yourself if Santa never seems to get it right - you can ring Search Press on 01892 510850 and get free postage by quoting "Make and Craft Blog Tour" - the ISBN is 978-1-84448-751-6 and the book is £12.99) - or maybe you could go to Search Press and find a few more craft books to add to your list!


Katharine, Make and Craft Editor said...

Hello Wendy, thank you for taking part in the Make and Craft blog tour. It is so interesting to hear about all the exciting crafty plans you have in the pipeline, as well as, all your current crafty portfolio. I don’t know how you fit it all in. Your sewing and plaques are all beautifully made to perfection. The books sounds fantastic. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying reading your copy. Good luck to everyone entering. Cheerio, Katharine, Make and Craft Editor.

DanielleL said...

Ooo sounds exactly what I need. I spend a lot of time on the PC trying to improve photos and wish I could be more clever in the taking of them in the first place. Is there a chapter on how to deal with a curious cat who wants to be in every shot?!

Anonymous said...

I've had this book on my wish list for ages and was hoping for a copy for Christmas, would love to win one! I bought a light tent recently and would love to take better photos of my bags etc :-) x

Crafty Helen said...

Hi - I'd love to win as I need all the help I can get with my blog photos! x

LindaR said...

Hi, I'd love to win this book as I I adore seeing photos of people's work on Ralelry and Facebook, but mine never seem to show my projects off in a good light.

Carolee Crafts said...

Looks like just the ticket for taking perfect pictures and lets face it we al struggle from time to time

Anonymous said...

I have heard a lot about this book and it is definitely on my wish list. I would love to be able to take better pictures of my creations. I have everything crossed! :)

Sara Stacey said...

Love you blog.

I'd love to win this book as my Dad is a photographer but would love to be able to take great photos myself which really show off what I make.


Free Spirit Designs said...

i neeeeeeeeeeed this book! i so want to take fab product photos but just don't have the know how...... yet! x

Julie Baswell said...

Hey Wendy. I'm already one of your followers and I love your work. I would like to win this book for the simple fact that I can't take good pictures of my creations. Just take a look at my site (I Create Purty Thangs) for proof of that. This would help me so much.

AliceAndFlorence said...

Hi Wendy,
I really enjoy reading your blog posts, as they are interesting, helpful, and full of ideas!
I would like to win the book, as I would love to learn how to take better photos of my quilts, blankets, and bags. To know how to make my photos stand out for all the right reasons would be great, as I read all the time about improving photos to increase sales.
I've already registered at Make and Craft.
Wendy :)

Fiona said...

I would love this book. I have just started selling my cards on Folksy ( ) and spend so much time trying to get the right picture and need help. I've already registered with Make and Craft.
Thanks Fiona

Lyn said...

This tour is exciting isn't it?

A good book to have - the right photo sells the item, but you need to know how to get it!

Myth Illogical said...

Hi Wendy. I would love to win this book- the reason being twofold- not only do I want to improve my product shots but also I illustrate using models, though I've never had training on how to photograph my sets properly. Winning this book might be a step towards helping me realise my dream of having some of my illustration look professional enough to be published.

Anne-Marie said...

I think this little book just might be right up my street....I've been struggling to improve my photography skills, and not really getting good enough results....and it's holding me back from putting my makes up for sale....ggrrrr!

Two Wednesdays said...

I'd love to win this book - my photos really aren't great and everything ends up the reverse of photogenic. Not a good look.

LindaR said...

Just realised my typo - Ravelry!

Gill said...

This looks an awesome book! I'm putting it on my Amazon wishlist in case I don't win!

noodleBubble said...

Thanks for chance to win. Photos are my weak point so Really NEED to see this book!

thanks X

Highland Monkey's said...

It would be so nice to win this book as my photography leaves a lot to be desired and I would like to learn how to properly.

Unknown said...

Hi Wendy, I would love to win this book! My good friend has the book and has taken some great shots using the instruction given. I would love to learn how to take better pictures of my products. Xx

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I came across your blog last's great! I'd love to win this book to make me a better photographer! The best camera I have is on my phone at the moment and I take at least one photo every day as part of my "Project 366" on my blog where I blog a snapshot of my life on that day. I also have a baby imminently due, so great photos of the baby and his or her big sister would be excellent!

Anonymous said...

Oh I need this book so badly. I'm not a bad photographer, but just some tips about backgrounds, contrasts, lifestyle versus plain poses etc would be fantastic. xx

craftyguider said...

I've had this book on my wish list for ages! I really want to improve the photographs on my website and this would be a great help. I've registered on the website.

testing said...

Thank you for introducing me to this book, definitely one for my Xmas wish-list. I've been playing around with my product photography for a while now and it sounds like it would be a great help.

Michaela said...

Thanks for brilliant review of the book Wendy! I have just started selling on Etsy so this book would be really handy. At the moment I use my phone to take most of my pictures as I really like the colours I get from it.
Michaela x

Crafts on Sea said...

I'd love to win this book :) I write a craft and I'm always looking for inspiration so this would be perfect!

Crafts on Sea said...

a craft blog damn it, argh!!!!

Quietly Otaku said...

I'm always looking for new ways to improve my photography, I'd love to win this book! There's no better way to learn tips that those whove been there and done that! (or shot that really bad photo)

Christmas Pie Crafts said...

My photography skills are disappointingly disappointing, so a book with advice and techniques is just what I need

Claire Cooper said...

I would just love this book. I have a good eye for design and art, but trying to apply that to photography just seems to escape me. I really do need to know how to get the best photograph when documenting my arts and crafts.

Unknown said...

Making a light tent is very effective in improving your images - just use it on a bright sunny day and you will get such better pictures for
Your Handmade crafts.

Dmitriy said...

Nice plaques. Like it very much) Actually i'm your collegue and wanted to say that you goods are really brilliant as for me