Pixel perfect: product photography workshop

Local photographer Adrian Flower will show you how to get people hooked with your images

No matter how beautiful the items you make, if your website photos are poorly lit, too far away or not in focus, you’re not going to sell much online. If people can’t handle your pieces before buying, you need great photos to entice them to buy.

And if you (or we) want to publicise your goods to magazines, newspapers and other websites, they will want excellent images. This photography forum will focus on how to take great product shots without fancy gear such as studio lights and flashy cameras.

Local photographer Adrian Flower will:

  • demonstrate how you can achieve great images with a compact camera and basic equipment, whether you’re shooting food, jewellery, clothes or artwork.
  • show you how to use reflected light, the importance of the background, and how to take close-up details
  • cover the basics of editing your photos with free software that’s widely available.

If you want to go further and take some shots of your own products in Adrian’s studio, you’ll also have the chance to sign up for some hands-on workshops in smaller groups, at a special Makerhood discount.

The workshop will take place on Saturday 25 February, 10am – midday, and costs £15. There are 20 places available – for more information and to book your ticket, go to EventBrite.


New makers

Let’s bound into the new year with an introduction to some of the newest makers on Makerhood. We now have more than 60 stalls, so make it your resolution in 2012 to buy local and support the local economy and creativity. Happy new year to you all!

Beards and Bicycles celebrates the combination of practicality, beauty and enjoyment found in…bicycles!

Oishii~ital vegan delights is run by Yokunaru, who makes vegan, organic, fair trade food free of wheat, gluten and additives.

Imogen Paton is a Camberwell-based portrait artist who also makes necklaces, cushions, throws and baby mats.

Silka of Rubiccubestudio uses recycled materials in her pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and jewellery.

Local Eyes is a photographer selling limited edition photos of “the less obvious and more interesting things around us”. See if you recognise any of the local scenes.


Meet the makers: Laura Ward

Laura Ward takes atmospheric, rather mysterious photographs. She tells us why the creative community around Brixton and Herne Hill is so important to her

1. How did you get started in photography?
I’ve been taking photos for about 15 years. My dad gave me a second-hand Pentax camera to take on my travels around Europe, and I became hooked. I’m totally self taught – I just like to experiment.

2. What sort of subjects do you like to photograph?
I love taking photos of local places and using recycled materials wherever possible. My preferred style is quite nostalgic and quirky, but for paid work, like weddings, the photos obviously need to be technically perfect! I don’t mind taking pictures of people, but it can be difficult to make them stand out – I prefer a more abstract approach.

3. You were involved in setting up a local photography group, Effra FC. How did that come about?
When Flickr started, I put some photos up, and someone in Brixton started following me because they liked the pictures of Brockwell Park. So we met up and talked about the local area. Since then it’s gradually grown to around 100 people! We meet up in the pub every month and we’ve organised exhibitions of our work, including one that ran for three months at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell. We now have our own website, http://effrafc.co.uk/.

4. Being involved with the local community is clearly important to you.
My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot when I was young. When I moved to London 10 years ago, I felt a bit disconnected from my family and wanted to connect with local people and put down roots. So meeting other local photographers and talking about the area through Effra FC has made me feel more connected with the local area – I love it! And Makerhood is part of the same thing – connecting with other local makers.

5. Photography is still more of a hobby for you – do you have a creative day job?
I work for a charity during the day – it’s all numbers, strategies and databases, not creative at all! But I quite like the balance between this and my photography – yin and yang, if you like. And it’s useful when we’re putting an exhibition together – you need some business skills and knowledge as well as creativity!

6. So what’s your recommendation for a bit of “hidden Herne Hill”?
I love the walled garden in Brockwell Park. It’s wonderfully peaceful and quiet – whenever I go there I completely forget I’m in London. And it’s different every time I go there – I love it!

You can see Laura’s greetings cards, including a set of Christmas cards featuring Brockwell Park, at http://brixton.makerhood.com/laura-ward-photography.

You can also keep up with her activities on her blog.

New makers

We’re a bit behind on the blog due to holidays and the like, so a belated welcome to new makers who have set up stalls on Makerhood in the past couple of weeks.

Timothy Sutton Tim is a professional portrait painter who paints incredibly realistic portraits of both humans and dogs. He also organises the annual Urban Art Fair in Josephine Avenue, Brixton.

Rosie Makes Rosie Mo likes, well, making things. She takes photos of things that catch her eye, and her black and white prints are done by hand in a darkroom.

Rachel’s food Rachel Manley runs a popular food blog as well as a brunch and supper club. Check out her delicious macaroons!

Gitas Portal For contemporary African-inspired ladies’ and children’s fashion, look no further. Fabulous ethnic prints and hand tie-dye and batik fabrics are turned into ready-to-wear and bespoke items, and proceeds are reinvested in the local economy.

Feast with Bron Bron is a professional cook and food lover who makes fresh biscuits and cakes, old-fashioned sweets and savoury muffins to order. Yum!

Meet the makers: Ellie Laycock

Ellie Laycock, who makes beautiful cushions from vintage scarves and linen, talks to us about hunting, stuffing and the challenges of combining making with being a single mother

Ellie Laycock with cushions

1. Tell us about the name – Hunted and Stuffed. It conjures up visions of giant moose heads – but you make cushions!

I liked the cheekiness of the name – I didn’t want anything too serious. It’s quite appropriate: I hunt down vintage fabrics and buttons, turn them into cushions and stuff them!

2. Where do you source your vintage fabrics?

I scour eBay, car boot sales, Sunday markets. It can be hit and miss. Sometimes you don’t see anything, but at one sale I went to on Wandsworth Road there was a pile of vintage silk scarves in one corner and a heap of old linen in another. The stuff I bought there kept me going for months! It’s a bit trickier now with Malakai [her 10-month-old son], as I can’t carry as much as I used to.

3. You’re a professional photographer – why did you move across into making cushions?

I trained in sculpture, and I’ve been a professional photographer for 11 years. But when I had Malakai I was stuck at home and I wanted to do something creative. So I made some cushions from some vintage kimono material and showed them to a friend who is a stylist. She really rated them, so I went ahead and started making more of them.

4. What gave you the idea of using scarves and tea towels?

I kept coming across beautiful scarves, but I don’t wear them myself. I’m more into accessorising a room than an outfit! And tea towels are the same size as a standard pillow. Other cushions made from tea towels usually fold the tea towel in half, so you lose the impact of the full design.

5. Which designs sell best?

The iconic graphic designs, such as Penguin classic covers or London Underground maps, are quite popular. I’m drawn to souvenirs of London or royalty, street maps and illustrations of Britain.

6. You already have online shops on Etsy and Folksy. What was the appeal of joining Makerhood?

I just think it’s an excellent idea to promote local makers to local buyers. I also wanted to meet other people with something in common – not just craftspeople but people interested in buying locally.

7. How can I find out more?

My blog is at www.huntedandstuffed.blogspot.com, and you can see my photographic portfolio at www.ellielaycock.co.uk.

8. What do you like about living in Brixton?

I’ve lived here for 10 years. Before I lived here I kept coming here and then had to get home, so I decided I might as well move here! It has a centre of its own, and I found it welcoming and fun. It’s the friendliest place I’ve lived in and it’s got everything I need – I don’t want to live anywhere else.

9. What’s your top tip for a bit of “hidden Brixton”?

Go for a café latte at Café Tana on Brixton Hill. They’re really friendly and do great coffee.

You can see Ellie’s fabulous cushions at http://brixton.makerhood.com/hunted-and-stuffed.