Successful Etsy Sellers Share Their Beadwork Photography Tips

It took me a very long time to figure out how to take great photos of my beadwork and beaded jewelry, and I still find that sometimes I have days when my photos just don't come out right. My mother and her brother were both gifted photographers, so you might think that I inherited some of that talent, right? Wrong.

The fact is that if you want to sell your beadwork and finished beaded jewelry online, you have to be able to take great photos. When you are selling beaded jewelry online, customers customers can't pick it up and touch it – they have to rely on your photos to accurately depict the product that they are going to purchase. If your listing on Etsy has a great description but a fuzzy, dark photograph, So no pressure when it comes to taking pictures of your beaded jewelry, right?

But even if you are not a great photographer, there are still ways for you to take great pictures of your beadwork and beaded jewelry if you want to make money selling your jewelry online. Being able to take great photographs of your beadwork and beaded jewelry can also translate into success at having your work accepted into galleries and high-end juried craft shows as well, so understanding at least the basics of photography are a must.

My photographs were always dark and underlit before I did two things to improve them. The first was that I bought a digital camera with a macro function so that I could get better closeup pictures of my beadwork. Then I spent about fifty dollars and bought a tabletop photography studio which included a light box and two lights. After just a few sessions of playing around with my camera and my new light box, my photos showed a dramatic improvement!

If you're looking for helpful tips and advice for taking great photographs of your beadwork and beaded jewelry, I asked four successful Etsy sellers for their tips and advice about taking great photos for their online shops:

Carol Dean Sharpe of SandFibers recommends that you let your beadwork star in the shot. Don't use props that will distract from your work – you are taking a sales photograph, not an art photograph. She also recommends using a camera that has a macro function and get in close on your work.  At a show, a customer can pick up that bracelet, try it on, get a close look at it.  Your photographs have to approximate that experience as much as possible.

Lorelei Eurto, author of the upcoming Interweave book Bohemian Style Jewelry recommends using natural daylight as much as possible. She never photographs her jewelry in blaring sun to avoid shadows. She also uses the iPhoto program that came on her Mac to alter all of her photos, adjusting the light balance and resizing them.

Linda Roberts of Beads Forever on Etsy also recommends using natural indirect sunlight (never using a camera's flash) when taking pictures. Before you take the shot, look for those pesky shadows and reflections and move to avoid them. Learning about the variable light settings on her camera helped her tremendously, and to prevent shaking and blurry photos, she uses a tripod.

She also uses an artist's eye when looking through the camera to set up her shots. Linda says that your most important piece of equipment when taking good photos of beadwork is your camera – macro settings are a must! She also uses Photoshop to crop her pictures, to fine tune contrast and brightness, and to adjust the image size.

MaryLou Holvenstot of Time2Cre8 on Etsy also believes it's important to use an artist's eye when taking photographs.Try to show the piece from a few different angles and whenever possible, use models so the viewer can get an idea of how the piece would look when worn. With peyote bracelets and cuffs, she finds it much more appealing to photograph them as if they're being worn than just lying flat or folded.

MaryLou also recommends that you take more pictures than you think you need.  Sometimes moving the piece or the camera just a fraction of an inch will make a difference in the way the photograph looks, so try to take pictures in different light, with a variety of poses, and even in different vignettes.  It's much easier to delete pictures you don't like than to have to retake them because something just wasn't right.

For MaryLou, photo editing software is a must!  It allows you to correct color, remove spots or specks that might not have been visible to the naked eye, and to crop your photos so the jewelry's best features are highlighted.

Are you ready to take great photographs of your beaded jewelry and beadwork? Now you can pre-order your copy of The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos. Written by Australian crafter and professional photographer Heidi Adnum, this must-have reference will give you the basics of great photography while providing practical and specific photography advice for crafters who want to sell their finished work online. You'll find instructions for making your own low-cost light box, the proper way to use natural lighting, and how to take great closeup shots of your beaded jewelry that really capture all the detail of your beautiful beadwork. Pre-order your copy of The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos and get professional advice and helpful instruction to help you get the most out of your photos!

Do you have a tip for someone who struggles with taking great photos of their beaded jewelry and beadwork? Or maybe you have a problem taking photos that accurately represent your beautiful beadwork and beaded jewelry. Leave a comment with your advice and questions on the blog!

Bead Happy,





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