Photographing my work with props…

…oy.  I have a lot to learn. When I look at other people’s photographs on Etsy, or websites, or blogs, I try to figure out what is happening in the photos that makes me want to take a closer look. Usually there is some kind of prop, or detail, that serves as a backdrop, to showcase the piece of jewelry.

Like anything new, I would like to know how to perfectly add props to my photos on the very first try. (Innate photo talent that I’m sure everyone else already has.) But also, like anything new, there is a learning curve to figure it out. How long it takes to achieve success is not the point. Giving it a fearless attempt, and embracing the wisdom that comes from making mistakes is my goal.

I began with a piece that was a challenge because the combination of chain and glass beads resulted in a necklace that does not drape easily, except around a human neck or on the leather display neckpiece that I am oh so tired of using. I looked around the immediate space where I was taking photographs, to see if there was a prop to try out. I wasn’t very happy with the results, so I stopped, and returned to the challenge today.

First, the leather neck display that serves a purpose, but has become b-o-r-i-n-g.

The bird…a little much? I can’t decide.

The corner of the flower pot , a 180º reverse in direction from the bird. Meh.

One of the most common things around our house is lobsters, (what else?) in many forms.

I intend to use the prop photos with other photos in listing my work on Etsy. (They are not meant to take the place of the kind of  professional photographs I would need to apply to a juried craft show, or use in advertising.)  Etsy allows up to 5 photographs for each listing. The sites that feature 5 photos for each listing are the ones I take more time to look at. I think it’s effective to have  as much visual information about a piece as possible.

I took a long time experimenting with the prop above, and I’m not sure that the results are what I am looking for. To take a break I went for a walk on the beach,  keeping my eye out for more prop possibilities. I came home with a bag full of stuff, and renewed energy for the learning process. I finished my afternoon with a discarded shingle and earrings that match the necklace.

The shingle prop is getting a little closer to the look I want. At least it helps take a little of the creepiness away from my “detached ear” prop! (Doesn’t it?)


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2 responses to “Photographing my work with props…

  1. i really like that driftwood…and your prop photos are quite beautiful, but you’re right that the clearest way of showing the drape is on the neckform. have you ever thought of using a lovely young woman with no sun damage in her clavicle area-dare i say a model? y’know the kind of photos i mean…the ones that appear that the person has nothing but jewelry on? that adds another layer of aggravation to photographing your work-scheduling unblemished people to come to your house when the light is just right!!!!


    • Barb Fernald

      Ah, you know exactly the dilemma of trying to get a model to come over whenever the light is right, etc. I think live models are great for necklaces and earrings. I just have a hard enough time setting up all my stuff all over the place, without trying to schedule a model, too. And forget any of that self portrait stuff! Sun damage on the clavicle indeed. If I were on the mainland I could probably get a high school student to do it. I still have so much to learn about photography of THINGS. When people are added to the mix, I get confused and take horrible pictures. Thanks for the photo feed back.!


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