Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iPad & Kindle Covers by Believe Notes

After months and months of hard work, I am so excited to announce the launch of iPad and Kindle covers by Believe Notes! These pretties have been a total product of passion, and I am so thrilled to be able to share them with you.

The cases themselves are super high quality, and are handcrafted using traditional book binding techniques using recycled book boards. So they essentially feel like a kick-ass hardcover book. If that's not awesome enough, they are printed with environmentally friendly inks, and then covered in the same type of vinyl used on race cars! The covers are incredibly durable and a cast overlaminate is added to waterproof your case and make it stain and tear-resistant. If you spill anything on it, just wipe it off. How, freaking, cool is that!

The iPad cases are available for all versions of the iPad - the Original, the 2 and the New (3), and the Kindle cover is available for the Kindle Fire. The custom case for the three versions of the iPad can be used as a stand in landscape mode. The stand might be my favorite part (aside from how pretty they are!) because of how comfortable it is. I've always found other iPad cases to slouch or fall over, but this one stands up strong.

Prices start at $65 for iPad cases, and $60 for the Kindle Fire case.  Each case is personalized with your name on it, and comes in a variety of pattern/color options.

There is also a great promotion going on right now for almost 50% off new designs. I'm going to be printed one of each new design, so the first person to buy it only has to pay sample price. Pretty awesome, no?! View & purchase one of the new promotional iPad cases here and a Kindle Fire case here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lessons in Product Photography

Lately I feel like I've been climbing a hill, no, a mountain. At the bottom of the mountain are tons of poorly lit, blue-tinted photographs, with fuzzy lines and bad staging. At the top of the mountain is Megan Gonzalez, of Mae Mae Paperie, and all of her impeccably staged & photographed designs.

In reality, I am probably somewhere about 65% up the mountain, but lately I feel as if I am at the very bottom, with the goats. And the goats have diarrhea.

While feeling like your surrounded by ill goats isn't fun, it is certainly very motivating to get the hell out of that place. After re-taking the photos for my iPad covers at least 5 times, I finally said "enough is enough" and started really looking into ways to improve my pictures. I asked my peers in the Minted community, I googled specifics and I asked my photographer friends. And by golly, I have learned a lot.

My biggest complaint with my pictures were the colors. My whites weren't white, the colors themselves weren't always true to the original print, the text was fuzzy. And while all of these things might not have been a huge issue with, say, business cards, they were big issues to me in preparing to launch my wedding line. I simply don't have the budget to hire a photographer, so this girl needed to give the goats some tums, and learn to take good pictures. And by take good pictures, I mean edit, edit, edit in photoshop.

If you like the iPad cover in that picture, you can go get yourself one here

So here are some tips I generally follow:

1- White balance. I always adjusted the white balance on my camera, but now I do it again in Photoshop. I adjust the curves, vibrancy and saturation of every picture. The three together seem to be a good combo for me right now.
2- Add an unsharp mask. My Mintie friends turned me on to this one. I put a sharpening mask over the entire image so that the text looks clear & sharp.
3- Use natural light. I always take my picrures by a window on a cloudy day. I also put white tissue paper over the windows to help diffuse the light even more. The tissue paper helps me to take pictures on sunny days without a glare.
4- Background counts. I had taken hundreds of pictures of my iPad covers on top of a light cream fabric background only to find later that there just wasn't enough contrast. Every product will look different depending on the background.
5- Speaking of backgrounds, I just purchased a bunch of seamless papers from Adorama. I thought it would be easier to use a gray bed sheet from Target to shoot my wedding line on. But after ironing it for hours, and then having to edit out all of the wrinkles, I think the seamless paper is a fabu-freaking-lous idea.
6- The lens matters. A lot. Unfortunately, the lens I used to shoot my initial wedding line photos distorted all of the "head-on" pictures. I was using a standard 18-55mm lens, and a photographer friend suggested I used a macro or 50mm lens. It's an investment I am going to be making in the very near future.

So there you have it, some of my photography tips. I'll try to post more tips as I learn them, since I have a feeling that product photography will always be a new adventure.

If you'd like some more tips, take a trip down memory lane and read this post, which I wrote over a year ago on photography and staging for stationery.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Coming Soon! iPad & Kindle Covers by Believe Notes

I have so many new launches coming up, from new stationery (a little peek above!) to my new wedding line. But, I hate to say it, I think I am most excited about the new iPad and Kindle covers! They are super high quality, come in a variety of lovely patterns, and make the perfect gift. It's funny how sometimes I become a little emotionally attached to items I sell - for example, I just adore my custom stamps and I can't help but smile every time somebody orders one. I have a feeling these iPad covers are going to be the same way, they just make me happy! 

These little girls are just about ready to go live - I need to finish up some photo-editing, put together the general description, figure out packaging/shipping, and then finally list them in the Etsy shop. I'm aiming to have them available within the next week or two. 

In the meantime, if you are interested in ordering an iPad cover now, email me at and I'd be happy to get one out to you before the official launch.

Stay tuned! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Stamp Available!

Stamps have been my obsession lately, I've probably got at least four myself, and I find they make a great gift for just about any occasion - from birthdays, to engagements, to weddings, to house warming and everything in-between. And by the way the stamps have been selling in the Believe Notes shop, it seems other people like them as much as I do!

So, I've added a new stamp design, now available for purchase. It's a mix of modern calligraphy and bold typography and is dubbed "City Life" since the layout is perfect for somebody with an apartment and unit number.

If you want to get your hands on the new "City Life" stamp, head on over to the Believe Notes shop and grab it for just $35 as a wood handle stamp.
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