Thursday, 7 April 2011

New Jewelry Items: A Lesson In Photography

I'm delaying this week's blog because I need to finish writing it, so in the meantime here's a little something to keep you company.

For anyone trying to get their jewelry or other artwork on their Etsy shop, the biggest problem as I'm sure most will agree is getting decent pictures.  At least it's been an issue for me--I've gone through several set-ups in my little studio area, tried out different forms of lighting, spotlights, backdrops, etc.  The photos I've taken up until now have been mediocre at best, and I've had to futz with the contrast and exposure and saturation like crazy.  After a brief consultation with a professional photographer (i.e., a series of e-mails with a good friend who takes great pictures and doesn't mind sharing her secrets), my business partner (read: husband) and I determined that the best thing we could do was to steal a page from the book of barfights everywhere: take it outside.

This little catalog is the result of that experiment.  I'm quite happy with the results, on the majority of the photos anyway; we had an issue with one of the two digital cameras taking better photos than the other (the Kodak didn't do closeups as well the Sanyo; the brand name that is practically synonymous with "camera" didn't cut the mustard, go figure), and the sun cooperated and changed its mind a few times.

I haven't priced all of these yet, because I have to go through all my invoices to check the supplies costs and whatnot, but they should be up in my Etsy shop soon.

Tourmaline & Brushed Vermeil Flower 14K Gold Chain Bracelet, $52.00

This one is the one that came out the best, in my opinion, but that might just be because I'm partial to this bracelet, despite the fact that I can't remember the last time I wore gold.  My husband, who took these pictures (I "supervised," thank you), did a masterful job of getting some really nice detail shots.  These were all taken in the front of our building, where there is a cluster of potted plants and lovely stones and rocks, which make up the backdrop.  Oh, I arranged the rocks, too.  Yes, I played a huge part in this photography session.  (My husband was the one splayed out on the ground for three hours trying to get the closeups, but HEY, I moved the rocks around!)

Rock Crystal Briolette & Sterling Silver Necklace/Earrings, $60

We couldn't manage to get a full shot of this necklace, but the closeups came out quite nice, despite rock crystal and glass being near to impossible to capture on film.  These still don't show just how sparkly the necklace and earrings are, between the quartz and the sterling, but at least you can see them, which is more than I can say for the lousy photos I took inside:

So...yeah.  Consider this a before and after in reverse order. 

"White Ametrine" Quartz & Bali Sterling Silver Necklace/Earrings

I really like how this one looks, despite once again the inability to capture the sparkle of the components of this necklace.  These quartz beads are actually half clear and half silvery grey, which is difficult to see here.  Still, the detail is visible on the sterling bits, and the photo of it in my hand (which I managed to remember to wash the paint off before the photo session) looks rather nice up against the flower pots.  If I had to do over again, I think, I'd move that blue pot with the lovely orange pansies in it and turn it around--the ones in this shot needed a drink rather badly, while the others were looking a bit more spry.  Hopefully I'll remember to pay a bit more attention to the background in the next session and remove all dead plants from the immediate area.

By the way, for those of you wondering what "white ametrine quartz" is, this is my answer: You tell me and then we'll both know.  I honestly have no clue why the seller of these beads has chosen to call them "white ametrine," as they are neither white nor ametrine (ametrine is a combination of amethyst and citrine).  A Facebook friend noticed this curiousity too, and I didn't have an answer for her; I try to be consistent when I name the materials in my jewelry, if only because the source of them is often a mystery.  I can tell you that these are faceted round beads which are clear and silvery-grey, and very nice to boot.  I e-mailed the seller to inquire about the "white ametrine" connection but didn't get a coherent answer...if anyone has any suggestions on a better way to describe these beads, I'm open to them.

Oops!  We have a visitor:

Cat, dark brown, name unknown (not for sale)

This sweet little guy trotted right over to us, purring like crazy, and after claiming my mary janes as his own, plunked himself down next to me.  He declined any further photo opportunities, but he couldn't resist showing off for one candid.  He's not black, by the way--he's a beautiful sleek dark brown.  He also has the funniest, loudest meow I've ever heard.  He belongs to someone in the neighbourhood (or rather, someone belongs to him), but he secures the perimeter regularly.  He scampered off soon after this shot, certainly with some very important cat business to attend to.

Vintage Rhinestone Silver Filigree Bracelet

This is actually an older piece that I've never had a bit of luck photographing.  And look, my husband does a fantastic job in two shots.  I've included the second one because I like the way the sun has glinted off the stones.  This was done with the Kodak, and on my monitor there appears to be a slight pink tint to everything, but I don't know if it's just the colour settings on the Mac that differ.  I'd be curious to know if anyone else sees the same tinge of pink on these.  Regardless, these are still the best shots I've ever had of anything with rhinestones in it.

Any comments? opinions? suggestions? I'd love to hear them all.  No, seriously--I need all the help I can get!

Be back in a few days for the Blog O' The Week, nearly a week late...sorry, it's been an odd couple of days.



  1. You and your assistant did a wonderful job on the pictures!

    I've been taking pics for 28 (!) years. Last December I had to take some at work, of Christmas presents. My first photos came out horribly! I have a DSLR, but the lens didn't want to focus on the items. It would focus on the backdrop, or nothing at all! I was very frustrated and it took me quite some time to get decent pics. Even then they weren't as perfect as I wanted them to be!

    Hills and lakes are much easier to photograph! :)


  2. I am in love with that rock crystal necklace and earring set! It's what brought me to your blog here from etsy.

    I found your shop while browsing lace jewelry on etsy. I'm so sad to hear you've had a bad experience with etsy and after reading some of the links you posted in your most recent entry, I'm considering not purchasing from etsy anymore, but trying to contact sellers directly instead. The jewelry you've created is beautiful!