I am not photographer, and really don't have any interest in becoming one, but sometimes you have to do things you really have no interest in doing.
Since I started doing art work I have come to realize that if your art is going to be shared with others beyond yourself then you have to find a way to convey it.
I decided against tramping all over the place, car loaded to the gills with artwork spilling out of every window and door, showing off my work to the unsuspecting public. Booking up every available space on my calendar to do art shows isn't an appealing option either. So after going down the list of ways one could showcase their art, I begrudgingly realized that I would have to, at a minimum learn some basics of taking photos that didn't stink, that weren't outrageously fuzzy and showed a fair amount of detail.
So I sat down and started watching YouTube videos in the hopes of finding the simple solution to easy picture taking using my old iPhone. Did you ever start searching for something, and no matter where you look it's not the answer your seeking? Well that is what happened. Stuff was either too technical, involved using equipment I didn't want to invest in, or had promises of beautiful pictures that never materialized.
Early Attempts at Photographing Work
It's obvious that I really didn't have a good handle on what to do- unclear, fuzzy, out of focus pictures.
Learning a Process
Well after much trial and error, and a little bit of swearing, I have come up with a process that works for me. Lets stop right there- I need to say I am a far cry, actually a really far cry, from being any good, but I feel at least now I can get some acceptable photos for posting on Etsy to show my jewelry.
I use my old iPhone 4 to shoot the photos, which I guess is a dinosaur in technology terms. I set my computer monitor to be a black screen, and then I place in front of it a plastic black office paper tray, turned upside down. On top of that I sit a clear plastic shoebox to which I have taped a sheet of black felt to the back, and lay a sheet of black cardstock on the front.
Check Out My Awesome Photography Studio!
Ta Da! Paper Tray, Shoebox, Photography Set-Up. Am I making you jealous yet?
Since my shop is called Earthy By Design, I wanted to create that earthy feeling around the pictures. From all I have read, Etsy suggests a white background, with an uncluttered photo, but it just doesn't feel earthy to me, so I do my own thing.
From my trips to the beach over the past few years, I have amassed quite a collection of rocks, which I didn't know would end up being my main props for photographing jewelry. They provide just the feel I want to convey. A piece of burlap plus a few additional fabrics are on hand in case I don't have a rock large enough to use for the picture.
Total cost my photography studio- nothing, I had all these expensive supplies on hand, lucky me!
I first take a picture using my set up described above. I'll take several photos from several angles, using a variety of props. For an Etsy shop listing you need 5 photos.
Once I find the 5 I want to use I'll crop them down in size. Below is an example of a pic I took of a pair of copper earrings. The next pic is that one cropped down.
Take a Peek
Here is my Etsy shop, I am proud of what I have been able to do as a fledging but I do hope to improve my skills in time and take better pictures. If nothing else, I think I am on the right track.