Two Weeks of Photography with Lil Blue Boo wouldn’t be complete without talk of accessorizing your camera ….perfect timing for a spotlight on Shealynn Benner aka “The Camera Strap Girl.” Shealynn, also known as Shey, is an amazing mother, talented photographer, savvy businesswoman, voracious reader…..and the owner of *Shey*[B] Camera Strap Slipcovers. Shey makes the most beautiful camera strap covers and accessories ranging from classic to one-of-a-kind couture. Here’s just a teeny sample of the eye candy you can find in her shop:
I first met Shey over a year ago and let me warn you…..she’s REALLY likeable. She’s one of those people I wished lived right next door. She’s down to earth, hilarious, and super smart. She has built a successful business from the ground up and is a huge supporter of others trying to do the same thing. She has some amazing posts on her blog about what has worked for her and what hasn’t…..a must read for any small business owner!
She doesn’t just make camera straps either….she’s always coming up with new things. I love the stamped ID tags she has for her covers, the point and shoot bags and the rad guitar straps!
I was so excited when Shey agreed to do an interview for the Lil Blue Boo Two Weeks of Photography and give everyone a little peek into her creative world! Thank you Shey! I LOVE creative people…..make sure to check out a few of my favorite posts from Shey’s blog too!
Behind the Scenes (I love seeing how other businesses work!)
So I’ve Been Thinking Of Starting a Business (innovation and accepting competition)
iPhone Photos (yes even her iPhone photos are gorgy!)
Preparing (Shey’s hubby cutting fabric….so sweet)
The Chair (an unlikely photo prop)
Ah, yes. The Camera Strap Girl. Kinda fun to be known as her. I think Kim of Today’s Creative Blog thought that up, actually. I thought of the idea of making camera strap covers when I was on a photo shoot. We were living in North Carolina at the time, and I was in downtown Raleigh photographing a model. It was really hot and humid, I was sweating and my camera strap was literally rubbing my neck to an almost bleeding point it was so raw! I just remember thinking (continuously) that there had to be a way to have a more comfortable strap. Now over 2 years later I guess I know.
Everything inspires me. I love magazines, clothes, anything really. I think outside the box all the time. I am always thinking “will that make a good camera strap cover? let’s try it!” I love designing! So fun! I love watching something come from nothing. It’s my most favorite feeling in the world. Well, as long as it comes out good… haha!
Your shop has been so successful, what are your tips for someone wanting to start a small handmade business of their own?
First of all, I think it’s really important to love your product. When you love your product, chances are others will too! Make sure you are definite in what you want to make. Then advertise and do giveaways. If people love your product, they’ll want to know who you are, so set up a blog if you don’t have one. Sign up for Twitter. Twitter and my blog have really been key for my business. I have made friends from both of them in real life, and I get a lot of recommendations from both. But I have also advertised all over the blogosphere too. When people begin seeing your blog buttons on sidebars often enough, they get to know you by the sight of that button.
Also, don’t be upset if you don’t have a lot of sales at the beginning. It takes time to grow a business! It just takes dedication and persistence. Owning your own business is like having a baby. Babies don’t grow up over night. You nurture, love, feed and learn along the way.
Pace yourself. Once you start getting busy, know your limits. I have 2 children They are the center of my world, but I sometimes let work over shadow everything. This shouldn’t happen. Of course we are all human, so we have some mess ups, but then we try again. What I also mean about pacing yourself is take things slowly. You don’t need to advertise everyone all at one time. I have done this before and it was so stressful once the orders began pouring in. Life gets hard to balance. Figure out what works for you and stick to that.
What camera equipment do you use? The photography in your shop is stunning….do you have any tips for product photography you can share?
Oh, thanks! I use a Canon 5D. I love it! My husband got it for me for Christmas last year. I am so busy lately that it’s been hard for me to get it out and take fun pictures, but I’ll be getting it out more and more here pretty soon. The lenses I use are called prime lenses. Meaning they don’t zoom on their own… essentially, the photographer is the zoom. I have found that they take incredibly sharp pictures and I really don’t mind being the zoom. I have a Canon 35mm 2.0 lens and a Canon 50mm 1.8 – that’s it. I have studio lighting I use on occasion but not that much.
Taking pictures of your products is so so important. In my opinion it’s one of the most important things to owning your own business where photographing a product is involved. You must have lighting of some sort. If not studio lighting, then make a light box and use fluorescent bulbs. You can handmade them for really cheap ($20 or less). Or if you prefer (like I do) use natural lighting. Natural lighting provides all you really need with no equipment… plus it’s free! When customers visit your website they want to see a crystal clear picture of what you are selling. I guarantee you that if your pictures are bright, clear and a realistic picture of the colors, textures, etc. of your product, you’ll be way more likely to get a sale than if your product was photographed under a chandelier with tungsten(orange) lighting or if taken by a flash, which is way too harsh.
Thank you so much Shey for sharing with us today some of the secrets to your fabulous camera strap business and peeking into your creative world! Want to know more about Shey? Make sure to visit her blog!
Happy Saturday! Shey has offered a generous discount to all of you too! Enter 15OFF for 15% off your entire order until October 29th in her *Shey*[B] Camera Strap Slipcovers store!! Thank you so much Shey!
P.S. One last thing! Make sure to check out the 2011 Creative Estates Conference that Shey is organizing….I’ll blog more about that soon as it comes together but I’m so excited because I’m a featured speaker with some amazing women! So thrilled! Lil Blue Boo will also be a part of the handmade market! It’s is going to be so much fun and we would love to see you there! -Ashley