Tricky job.

I like photography as a craft.  I took photography in High School and continued to play around with my old Olympus OM1 camera for a long time.  I stopped because film developing is expensive, and annoying; I rarely remembered to take my film to be developed and when I did, I’d take a dozen rolls and it would be astronomically expensive.  I’d also end up with prints of every single photo, since most places won’t make you a proof sheet and let you pick.

Now, though, with digital SLR cameras, I can take a dozen photos, each with a tiny tweak to some setting or other,and I can see the differences right away and just delete the ones I’m not excited about.  It’s *glorious*.  And, as it turns out, even almost 20 years on I remember a good bit about how to use a camera.  Thank goodness.

I spent this weekend, yes, basically the entire thing, taking pictures for my Etsy shop.  The photo above is a quick snap taken with my phone so you can see the setup I was using.  That tiny white chain on the black velvet is a necklace that I made.  It’s very very tiny.  It’s also very very shiny.  It is … shall we say “exciting”? to photograph.

Unbeknownst to me until yesterday, photographing jewelry is considered extremely difficult even by professionals.  It’s tricky because in many ways you’re photographing a mirror; the metal surfaces of a piece are shiny and reflect back light and shadow at you.  My pieces are at least small enough that there’s not full identifiable reflections in them, but they sure do shine light back well.  Most of my photos are overexposed and the chain has no detail because the silver is so reflective.  I briefly considered dropping it in some flour to make it less so, but that would bring on more problems than it would solve.

I’ve managed to get some decent photos of the chains, which is great.

Micro-beaded chain
Micro-beaded chain

The photos I’ve gotten are clear, and illustrate the chain well, as you can see above.  They are not, however, interesting.  I have yet to manage a photo that grabs attention and makes someone want to click to see more.  It is very difficult to imagine those red beads around one’s neck from that photo.  And it’s kind of a boring photo, to be honest.  At least the damn metal looks silver for a change.

At any rate, I just wanted to share some of the trials that go into photographing your work for Etsy.  I’m going dark for a few days while Christmas with my family blows over.  I hope everyone has a restful and low-stress end of 2014.

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