what a great idea!

Just how many creative ways can you use Thumbprint Trading Cards? The readers of Design {for} Baby generated 25 ideas. Thank you!
  1. kids invitations
  2. Valentine's Day cards
  3. birth announcements
  4. wedding announcements
  5. seasonal/holiday cards
  6. bbq/picnic invitations
  7. thank you cards
  8. blog cards
  9. love notes | for the grown ups
  10. business cards
  11. calling cards | address and phone number only
  12. photo inserts in wedding thank you card
  13. "meeting cards" | scouts, church groups, etc.
  14. pool parties
  15. neighborhood cookouts
  16. color coded for different ages and genders
  17. allergy notification cards
  18. information cards for babysitter
  19. "we've moved" or new address card
  20. party favor gift tags
  21. save the date cards
  22. back to school cards
  23. mini-stationary note cards
  24. gender neutral designs
  25. Victorian designs
This list sparked a few ideas of my own ideas:
  1. pet adoption annoucements
  2. new address cards that are mailing labels
  3. block party cards
  4. pregnancy announcement cards
  5. playdate availability | days and time available for playdates
  6. gift wish list for birthday or holidays | clothing and shoe sizes, favorite colors, etc.
  7. note cards from the Tooth Fairy, Santa, Easter Bunny, etc.
  8. gold star cards | for words of praise or encouragement
  9. goal cards | dot around the house, office and in your bag to keep you focused on your goal
  10. reward cards or coupons

design {for} baby giveaway

Thank you all so very much for participating in my giveaway in conjunction with Design {for} Baby. Your ideas are inspirational and creative!

I'll compile a list of the responses and will post it hear next week.

Thanks again. You rock!

resource | top ten display tips

Last November I made my off-line debut. I used a digital photo frame to display images of my custom designed cards and created retail packaging for my social appointment and note cards.
Watching other sellers set up their display tables made me feel woefully unprepared. While I spent hours and hours designing my packaging I was unwittingly ignoring the functionality of my table display.

Please excuse the quality of both the picture and the table.
Here is a link to some great table display tips courtesy of Etsy's adornedbyrobin.

Thanks to Indie Craft Shows for spreading the word about this great advice! You may also be interested in their post Beginners Guide to Craft Shows.

press | a mogul review from mogul baby

We are happy to announce a glowing review, with specific mention of our "green effort," from Mogul Baby.

"...What I love about these little square cards is that it makes socializing fun! They are small and convenient to keep in your bag or jacket pocket. These cards are also eco-friendly. Everything is printed out of recycled materials and manufactured in the U.S.A...."

You can read the full review by visit www.mogulbaby.com

the elevator pitch

You have only one chance to make a first impression.

Each time someone would ask me what I do this truth would pop into my mind, so I challenged myself to write an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is an overview of a business or idea. It conveys the critical points while avoiding too much detail. A good elevator pitch leads to further conversation with a potential investor, partner or client.

I shouldn't have been surprised to find this challenging. Luckily, there are lots of resources on the subject!*

In my research I found several common concepts:
  1. Less is more - under 250 words or two minutes
  2. Focus on the W's (who, what, why) instead of the H (how)
  3. Memorize and practice your delivery
I wrote an elevator pitch. Want to hear it? Here is goes.

"Hi. My name is Chris Guillot, the founder of Thumbprint Trading Cards. What parent hasn't struggled to remember another parent's name or scrambled to exchange contact information? Thumbprint Trading Cards are custom photo calling cards, like this one (hand over card), that make it easy to put a face with the name. I'd be happy to send you product samples and a media kit if you give me your business card."

*Resource links:
Elevator Pitch Essentials | here and here
Models | here, here and here

product photography | part two

Taking the Picture

When I first started taking product photos, I left my point-and-shoot digital camera on auto mode. While I had a sense of how I wanted to style my photos I had no idea that my lack of basic photography knowledge was holding me back.
I used less than five percent of the pictures I took during that first session. To satisfy your curiosity, I took more than 300 photos over a six-hour period! It was a redundant, frustrating and amateur experience.

I set out to learned the fundamentals of photography and found this resource very helpful. It does a great job of explaining, verbally and visually, the different factors that contribute to a great photo.

I also did something that was long overdue - I read my owner's manual. If your manual isn't on hand, visit the manufacturer's website for the on-line version.

Armed with a better understanding of photo styling and camera fundamentals, I created a product photography light box using materials I had or was able to purchase inexpensively. This blog is one of many resources with instructions on how to create one for yourself.

Here is a photo of the light box I made.

The light box was very easy to make and helped yield photos that were a bit better, but the complete set up including lights was more involved than I wanted to manage given several important criteria, one of which is to get things out of Nicholas' reach quickly.
I had an Ah-ha moment when I realized I could take photos in the master bathroom! It has a sky light and large counter space.

Here are pictures of my make-shift studio set up that I took with my cell phone.

When I want to take product photos, these are the steps I follow:

  • Clean and dry countertop
  • Gather items to be photographed
  • Set up photo backdrop (white poster board or patterned paper)
  • Set camera to ISO mode
  • Adjust white balance as needed
  • Select macro mode
  • Set up tri-pod
  • Select two-second timer mode
I was able to take 37 hero shots in about 30 minutes and I'm going to upload more than 75% of these photos on my website. Now that is what I call successful amateur product photography.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of the product photography series, which will discuss my experience with photo editing.

Here's a comparison of a raw image and an edited one.