Friday, 30 September 2016

Photography Experiments

I Love Online Selling, But. . .

In the years since I began selling on etsy <> I have tried many, many ways to take good jewelry photographs. It has been a source of so much frustration.

What To Put Under the Item?

A suitable background is a major problem. Below, a scattering of backgrounds I have tried — and rejected.

 Colors — Yeah or Nay?

My earliest pieces were all sterling silver (no stones) and I used various blue backgrounds for a few years. It worked well. Then I began to add stones — and stones add color. The amethyst piece above did fine on blue but I immediately discovered how it could totally kill a garnet or citrine. I gave black a go but — while many jewelers use it to good effect — I just didn't care for it. The deep, mottled grey under the earrings above was achieved using a piece of grey slip-proof plastic mat (intended for a bathtub) and positioning the earrings a couple of inches above it on a clear plastic store display piece. Not bad but still not perfect.

Best Yet

After all those experiments, I recently settled on using a piece of near white ceramic tile as a background.

Also, to solve the problem of propping pieces up for the camera, I lean them agains seashells. I like the texture and soft tones the shells add to my photos.

I think I am pretty happy with this setup. I take the photos in front of a window because, although I tried photo lights, I find the natural light works best for me. The only real problem is the shift of color temperature between July and December but I can adjust it pretty well with an editing program.

Of course, I still try a few options now and then — especially now that I have opened a second shop <> SterlingByDix on ArtYah.

The search goes on.

Friday, 16 September 2016

What a Great Invention


When we left the river and bought this landlubbers' house, there were lots of changes to be made. The vital ones — kitchen makeover, bedroom paint and carpet, gutting and rebuilding one of the bathrooms — we tackled before moving in. Then there was this wallpaper in my office that I hated but there were still more important things to tend to. Slowly, it got shoved aside but, after four years, it just got to me and I had to make it go away — now! I just couldn't face another winter with the stuff.


This photo is of the pattern that was driving me nuts. It always made me think of fishing lures, which are just great — on fishing lines.

Try to imagine a whole wall of this in a small room. Way too busy. I considered stripping it off the wall but I did that once and still remember dodging hot steam, scraping at gummy paper, and, finally, cleaning up all that mess. Because this was pretty high quality paper, I figured — with proper care — I could just paint over it. A chore, but not a horror show.


It took two coats of stain blocker/primer to cover the pattern and ensure that latex paint wouldn't penetrate the paper and cause it to part company with the walls. I was very relieved when a couple of days went by and the paper hadn't moved.

. . . Gone!

The other walls are white, so I wanted some warmth here. I opted for this medium deep bone and think it works really well.

Bonus - the artwork shows up much better on the painted wall.