Background is important. Both in general and in specific terms, such as in images of webshop listings. Some webshops, like Amazon.com and ebay require photos to be taken on a white background. And with etsy.com moving in the ebay direction a handmade jewelry seller has tough competition to face. We can not afford a professional photographer, so we have to be inventive.
|Kyanite pendant – before
|Kyanite pendant – after
I asked for shop critique on an etsy.com forum, and one of the points was that my images had a messy background. What I tried to do is to make the background more exciting, not realizing that the calm neutral background is the best one. On the other hand, keeping the background color white was quite a challenge: did you know that photographing silver jewelry against an off-white sheet of paper will make the piece darker, especially when light conditions are not ideal? The most pictures in my Etsy shop did not do justice to my jewelry pieces.
First I tried to remove the background using the backgrounder burner at bonanza.com, where I have another shop. At a first glance it looks a cool feature, but as you can see below it only works with pieces which have distinct solid shapes, like the kyanite chunk. It does not work with fancier shapes. Like this bracelet which has “lost” some of its parts. Besides, you have to upgrade your account to a paying account to be able to use this feature. It did not seem worth the money to me.
There are alternatives to bonanza.com background burner. For instance Photoshop or even Word (2009 Office edition). But I don’t use Photoshop and the Word version was really very clumsy.
|Bracelet – before
|Bracelet – after
So I decided to take new pictures using pastel colored paper sheets as background. To tell the truth my jewelry is neither Amazon nor ebay-style and it will probably never sell there, so why bother about keeping the background white? Colored background, especially the grey one, can enhance the item itself because everything looks gorgeous against grey.
The background burner was a bit disappointing tool.
Next question: what about editing? To be continued in my next blog..