Friday, September 18, 2009

Appearance Critique: Happyelephantdesigns

Our critique today is for Happyelephantdesigns. The theme is appearance. Please post your feedback in the comments!


  1. Looks like you are doing everything right. My only critique would be to have all your main photos either laying flat or standing. I prefer the flat ones myself. I especially like the photo of the pregnant stick figure card.
    Overall your work is very nice. Good luck with future selling.

  2. Thanks Terri :)

    I did have all of my cards standing and facing the same direction (for the main photo) but after reading everybodies critiques this week, I thought people were saying to make it a variety to keep peoples intrest...


  3. Shannen,

    I like the photos on the color backgrounds, not on the black fabric (those were older listings so I think you have concluded that as well).

    I also like the photos of the cards standing up better than the flat. However, I do agree that you need to pick one way or another and stay consistent. Also be careful that you don't have too much background in the photos.

    I like the balance on this one:

    Try different color backgrounds when you photograph too. I think some are more successful than others. The louder colors tend to take the focus away from the card itself.

    Your banner is cute, however I think it would be better if you just extended the middle section to be the whole thing, or maybe just one card at the right hand side and not one on each side. The pink card kinda threw me off as I looked at it. I love the green color though it is a great clean, crisp look.

    Thanks for listening


  4. Hi Shannen,

    One idea for your photos would be to do them all standing up, but to use different zooms, to get that interest and variety. I agree that the cards standing up look more interesting than when they are flat. So you can switch between wide shots and close shots, like a range from your "Thank You Green Leaf" card, to the "Happy Birthday" card. Sometimes those closely cropped shots can be more intriguing. I also agree with Anne, make sure you don't have too much background in the shots. It's okay if the entire card doesn't fit in the frame, it's more important to see the design on the card.
    I love your colored backgrounds, and think they go perfectly with the personality of your shop.

  5. Hello Shannen!

    I'm probably going to echo some things that have been mentioned already regarding photos. The use of the colored backgrounds complements your cards well, I think. I can appreciate how you are shooting for consistency by having your cards angled. I do think, however, using the "hero" photo for your main photo doesn't necessarily show off the little, intricate things that make these cards fun and special. You can easily use that for a second or third photo.

    For example, the Blue Smile Card has some interesting sanding techniques happening, but I didn't even know that until I clicked on it. I clicked on it because I thought you were using a patterned paper.

    When you photograph, think about the things on each card that would compel the buyer to click on your item in an Etsy site search as opposed to others. Think about what makes you click on items when you do a search.

    As far as styling and posing your items - standing up or laying flat - do whatever you need to in a way that best showcases your item. Interesting crops and angles generate an instantaneous Click Me reaction in a lot of shoppers because something about it is both interesting and different!

    Take a look at FreshlySkweezed's card shop. No two photos are exactly the same, but each photo is interesting because it is styled in a way that best showcases it's features! The same could be said for modernemotive's card shop, who's photography style is all flat, but angled and interesting.

    As far as your shop sections, it's good that you have something in each section. I would reconsider renaming the Miscellaneous card section - I think the word Miscellaneous carries more negative connotations than positive ones. Try something like Everyday, Just for Fun, Cute & Casual, etc.

    Now this may seem nit-picky, but I'm aiming for visual cohesiveness here. One thing I noticed is in your item names and shop sections, you seem to use upper and lowercase on the beginnings of your words pretty randomly. For example, shop sections has Wedding (first letter capitalized only), two sections that are entirely capitalized, and the rest are lower case.

    If you want to put emphasis on Sold and Sale sections, go into Your Etsy, move the rank of those two sections to the top, then make a mention in your shop announcement encouraging the shopper to visit those sections.

    As far as item names, whatever style you choose for using uppers and lowers, use that same style in your item names.

    Before I get too far from shop announcement, I'd like to say that since you already give your social networking sites in your profile, you may consider "See my profile for social networking . . .". If you want to, you could even tag the site links on the end of your item descriptions. If they're reading your item descriptions, they're already interested enough in your product offering that they may want to follow you on said sites. You could even include that in your Alchemy announcement.

    Shop policies are nice and filled out. One question I had about your Payment policy - how long after a check clears do you ship? 24-48 hours? 3 business days? Someone who is choosing to pay by check may like to know how much longer they have to wait since they, too, have waited for their check to clear. The time frame thing could also apply to shipping. Definitely give yourself enough time to ship items as you need to. Please extend to your customers the courtesy of a reasonable order fulfillment time frame.

    Jen S.
    Simply Inviting Cards

  6. Hi Shannen

    I think your shop is looking great. Just a few detail-y things to consider:

    1. As a buyer, I would like to either see a photo of the card with the envelope OR a description of the envelope. Is it a a white A2 Flat flap envelope or a pink A7 "euroflap" envelope. The more you spell things out, the more comfortable your potential buyers will be.

    2. I like that you have a variety of colorful backgrounds. Consider reshooting those with a black background. Having a variety of backgrounds creates a sense of cohesiveness. Plus if you decide to mix things up in the future, you won't feel you have to reshoot every card in your shop.

    I love that you have sections for Sale and Sold items. It's shows your clients you are flexible and open to custom work. And, I've been a fan of your Pizza card ever since I spotted it on 1000 markets many months ago. Awesome!

    Thanks! Angie

  7. Thanks all for the great advice :) Keep it coming!

    I know what you mean about the black background, I was happy when they let us arrange our shops so I could put those at the end. The reason I can't re-shoot those is b/c those are all sold cards. I've been meaning to make some of the same and just posting them as new...but then I sit at my desk and want to create something new. And the funny thing is that my black background cards get picked alot for treasuries! Weird, huh?

    What is a 'hero' shot? I've heard this phrase alot but never knew what it meant.

    I don't know why I've never thought of taking pics of my cards with the envelopes! duh! I'll start doing that too (and re-shoot the ones I have in stock).

    Thanks everyone :)

  8. The "Hero" shot is the photo that includes the entire item in the frame.

    You know, if you really like dark backgrounds, try shooting on something like a charcoal or slate gray. This way, you get your dark background, but you won't have the stark contrast between black and white.

  9. Thanks Jen :)

    I've been thinking of doing a gray...I saw a shop that had all the same color background like that, but it was with jewelry. Aghhhh, the stupid photo's! I think I wouldn't mind so much if I had a great camera that could do macro shots (mine won't) and a light box. I'll probably tackle a light box soon.


  10. I know what you mean about the camera. I wore out the moving parts in my point and click, so I had to get a new one.

    Rather than spend money on another point and click that I would kill again in 2 months, I went ahead and invested in a digital SLR. Pretty hefty $$$, but it does so well with lighting, reduced noise, fine detail, etc. that it has significantly reduced the amount of time I spend on photos. (More crafting time - YAY!!!!)

    The quality of photos it produces also reduces the number I have to take in the first place to get that "money shot" in the first place. In the end, it has saved me about 10 hours a week alone in photography time, and who knows how much in Photoshop "correction time".

  11. Hi Shannen

    I think your shop looks great -
    The banner is really professional looking and gives me a strong idea of what you are selling. I like that your shop announcement is short - It gets me to the goods faster and I am that sort of shopper.

    I love the photos where you use a contrasting colored background, and I think they are well executed. These look much nicer and fresher than the cards you shot with a black fabric backgrouns - but I am guessing that you figured that out already.

    I like that you vary how you shoot your cards (at what angle and level of close up) It keeps my eye occupied.

    Sorry if this is at all repetitive, I have not read the other critiques.

    Jenn @CuriousGravy

  12. Well, I don't know if I commented last week or not, but I went to the site today looking for our next "victim" and then decided to take a look here.

    I am going to look at the other comments, but I wanted to give my opinion on the angle of photography for your cards. I personally love it. I actually photograph mine that way. I think it looks more interesting. Now, I may go ready these critiques and change my opinion, which I why I am writing this before I am reading the other opinions.

    Thank for hearing all that.I will review the other opinions and hopefully not want to retract mine!

  13. Well, I've finished reading all of the other opinions, and YAH, I don't want to change mine! I, too, like the angles. Flat cards are just too hard to really make "jump"

    One thing that got me thinking was the black backgrounds. I use all black. Hm. I did a forum post way back when I first started and people commented on a white listing vs. a black listing. And it was overwhelmingly positive for the black. I have started going outside and using our porch with nice greenery in the background. Not sure it's making much of a diff. I'll have to wait til my turn.

    Good luck.

  14. Thanks :) I used to be torn about the black background too...I did the same thing (posted in a forum and had people tell me which they liked better) and alot of people liked the black....AND a lot of my black background cards make it into treasury's.

    I guess the moral is you can't please anyone, and to go with which you like the best.

    What is your etsy shop name so I can check you out?