I'm relatively new to photography, never having been a shutterbug before. I always relied on others to take the snapshot while I just enjoyed the view. But, when I opened my own Etsy shop and Facebook fan page about a year ago, I was suddenly thrust into a new world where taking competent product pics is an everyday norm.
At first I panicked and then I called my fomer business partner and best buddy, Sharri. She'd always taken the pics for the gallery when it was open.
Oh, I'd struggled through helping her, but was seriously frustrated with the process while she leapt ahead and became a great photographer.
So when my online shop opened, it was Sharri who took my first shots, just so I could open!
It was immediately obvious to both of us that this arrangement was unsustainable. An artist selling on Etsy had better figure out how to shoot product pics! So, off I went to the store to buy a camera as similar to the one Sharri owned as possible. (It had been the gallery's and so I had the teeniest working knowledge of how it, a Nikon CoolPix worked.)
I had no idea what I was doing when I bought it. Not what to look for. Not what I should pay. I did know I needed a pretty strong memory card and a tripod to go with it. But that's about it.
So I brought it home and struggled with it. I took truly horrible pics! And reconfirmed my theory that photography is a different art form than jewelry making, and better left to the photography artists who knew what they were doing, and counted on that for their living.
If only. Of course, a beginning Etsy artist has no budget for professional photography. Hence, the camera in my hand. So I leaned over the tripod and squinted into the EZ Light Cube and still took horrible shots.
Sharri was my best critic, always giving me hope and pulling me forward. As her own photography improved in leaps and bounds, she again took some shots of my work mixed with hers and I began to realize how wonderful my jewelry could look in pics online.
Her encouragement to move my work to a white background and to actually locate the 'white balance' in my camera brought my shots into a greater, happier focus. Her suggestion that I begin to shoot outside (more palatable in the winter than summer in north Florida!) was something I finally took seriously. And, voila! Suddenly I was much more of a product photographer.
Working with my little camera, I began to gain the muscle memory that comes with getting familiar with a tool. I grew more daring and quit using the tripod most of the time. I reserved the Light Cube only for night or rainy day photos. I experimented with just laying my work on my computer desk to record the day's produce for my fan page.
My Etsy shop began to lighten up and grow more focused, my jewelry more magical looking. And this is a great thing, because my little business depends so much upon it!
The top photo is the whole, uncropped pic I took knowing I would crop down to the pendant on the white necklace display. When I began to edit the photo, I found the whole image interesting and it inspired this blog post.
This was a moment in today's photo session, right outside my back door. The rusty old metal patio table has an interesting rust pattern as the paint crawls off of it yet again. The pretty metal/stone pendants look like dancers waiting in the wings for their moment in the spotlight. It's just such a vivid little moment captured unexpectedly!
The bottom photo is one taken by Sharri for our art show at Barbara Psimas' Midtown studio last December. It was the inspiration for me to finally get serious about this photography thing and take good shots. That's my Asian-influenced pendant standing in the background (sold to a wonderful customer in California last December!) and Sharri's memory wire bracelet featuring her renowned beaded beads. The props are wood beads she sells in her Etsy shop.
Sharri's shop on Etsy is called TheBeadedBead. You can find it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBeadedBead?ref=ss_profile
She also has a fan page on Etsy: The Beaded Bead by Sharri Moroshok. See her work, and her wonderful photography in both locations!