Tips for Topping Craft Challenges!

 Every month a host of craft challenges are announced which form the inspiration for the month for us crafters. I really enjoy scouting all the blogs and checking out the submissions for each topic. I’ve seen some really awesome work but sometimes due to external factors, the submission doesn’t fare as well as it potentially could. So I thought I would dedicate a post to giving a few tips on how to top craft challenges. These by no means will guarantee success, after all your work has to be best to win a challenge. But these will definitely help give your work its best appearance.

Photography is KEY
There was recently some discussion on this topic on one of the Facebook communities and I realized that a lot of us are thinking about it. Your work is being judged so it has to look its best.  Bloggers like Kavi Tha, Pooja of Lightbox Creatives and of course our reigning craft queen Mallika of Aola’s Handmade Cards have got this nailed! Here’s how to take great pictures of your work
  1. You don’t have to have a really fundoo camera to take great photos. I use my phone camera for most of my photos but I always make sure to do the following:
  2. Always take photos in the daytime when you have the most natural light. We crafters are often times night owls crafting through the wee hours of the morning but wait till full on morning before you take a picture and submit your work.
  3. A white background best compliments any creation. 
  4. Ideally use a photo light box for photographing your work. It is really easy to make. Here is a link which gives step by step instructions. 

Here is an example of a card photographed with and without a light box. Which do you think looks better?

Without Light Box – Busy Background
With Light Box – Plain white background
    Edit your Photos where Necessary
    We are living in the age of digital cameras so take advantage and edit your photos where necessary. I have a Mac and use the Iphoto’s application for my photo enhancements. Picasa is also a great tool. It isn’t cheating because your work is still your work, it’s just being made to look its best. Here is a photo of a card I made before and after editing. I have just cropped the photo, removed the shadows, improved the exposure and softened the edges.  Doesn’t it look so much better after the touch ups?

    Before Editing
    After Editing
    Avoid Hand Written Sentiments
    The very best card can be ruined with a hand written sentiment. I’m really sorry if this sounds harsh but it’s true. Unless you have a calligraphic handwriting, stick to stamps, printouts, tags (Itsybitsy has a fabulous range) or recycled sentiments from other cards. Stencils are also not a bad idea. Here is an example of a card with a handwritten sentiment against a stamped one. See what I mean…

    Many Good Submissions or One Great Submission?
    This I leave for you to decide. Should you submit many good submissions and hope for the best or make one great submission and again hope for the best? I really don’t know which works best but from my perspective – I just want to craft and craft challenges offer a great purpose to my work. So if I have the time, I think I’ll be submitting the maximum for all challenges – Ha!
    So those are my pearls of wisdom. I’m sure you guys have more suggestions and tips. Would love to hear them and looking forward to seeing more fabulous submissions of our Make it Dimensional Challenge where we will name 2 winners and 6 finalists all of whom will receive a badge for their blogs.


    1. Amazing Sunehra. This post shows your dedication towards crafting and art. its really gr8 to have someone like you in the network. Thanks for sharing this with us.


      Pooja Prateek
      Elegante Art

    2. Thanks Sunehra…Was waiting for your lighbox link as you said in my blog…Thanks for such valuable tips and the link..Will be much helpful to all crafters…

    3. Sunehra di
      OMG ! You know i din read the entire post till now
      i just read
      reigning craft queen Mallika of Aola's Handmade Cards .. I am like on super cloud nine !! Thankyou for calling me that !!
      Now i will go back n read read !!

    4. two things –
      Always watermark your image ! Never leave it without watermark
      Always carry your lightbox to sunlight . I have learned all my photography tricks from a blog of a russian lady called shasha ..
      I am just going to link it here .. plz have a look .
      In light box you should have a bg which looks infinite .. that is do not show any folds ..
      This article will explain u better
      I cant find the blog .. will b back in evening .. n i wll post it den
      so sorry

    5. Gr8 post,will definitely help who are desperate to win.My view point is neat n well presented works catches the eyes pretty easily.Neatness is very much important for paper crafts and while doing layering even 1mm makes a lot of difference.No matter whether you add lots of elements are less each should be well defined and needs to go well with the project.Hope this helps:)

    6. A lovely post Sunehra….I just feel…softening the edges works at times ….but some overdo it and take away from the project….the other points are fab for I totally am someone who has seen the difference of daylight n night lighted pictures and can vouch for it….

    7. This is very informative post.I agree with all your points not only creating beautiful craft but to present it correctly is also important.I also use mobile to take pictures .In case of poor light once used the flash ,the photo looked good but with altered colors i;e the colors had a slight yellowish touch;( .
      So Daylight is best !

    8. Hey don't mention it Pooja. We are seeing a lot of entries for the craft challenges and very often some fare better than others because of these points. So to equalize, we wanted to share these ideas.

    9. I know Sathya – so sorry for the delay. But I'm glad you found it useful. I think the home made lightbox is a real useful photography tool. Must have for taking photos of your creation!

    10. I don't know How I missed this post Sunehra..Earlier, I had seen it in my Dashboard but when I clicked on the title post it showed “Page not Found”..:(..But finally I get to see all your wonderful tips..It is very informative & a nice perspective from the challengers point of view..I agree that daylight is perfect for taking pics..:)..And I also tend to use Photoshop & Photoscape to enhance the look of my cards..!:)

    11. Hi Hussena – glad you found us! I find photoshop really complicated. My husband who is an architect is a pro though. I guess for the work I need, the more limited photo editing applications are good enough.

    12. thank you Sunehra for such an informative tips….good help for new comers like me…i was having problem with photograph….and if u can explain photo touch up in details i would be highly obliged .

    13. Hi Daksha – Sure! Sometimes when you take a photograph it comes out a little crooked, or a little dull or too much of the background becomes visible. Shadows may be spoiling the picture etc. So in order to correct this, you can use a photo editing software and touch up these levels. A dull picture can be improved be adjusting exposure levels, 'straightening' sets right a crooked photo, cropping ensures background mess is removed and some softwares allow you to adjust the shadows too. Adobe Photoshop is a very good software for all this but it is intended for graphic designers so while it's capabilities are extensive, it is not user friendly. There are many easier photo editing applications that are free. Picasa is my favorite.
      All the best!

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