How to make a photo box for small object photography on a budget

I love this. I have a photo box that I created out of frosted IKEA shelving, and I'm finding there's much room for improvement. Then today, just before I'm about to do a ton of shooting for my next batch of listings to my etsy store, I find the perfect article from kalicat jewelry on how to construct a photo box on a budget! Consider this my holiday gift to you! Cheers! (photo by kalicat jewelry)

Pricing your Handmade treasures

Here is an interesting article that I'm still working my way through that I wanted to share with you. This is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business, IMO! Let me know what you think and if you know of any other resources out there on this subject! I'm all ears!!

Tips for pet owners

If you bring feathers and flowers home, you to add interest to photographs and such...well, you may want to put them up high where your little chihuahua can't get to them. She will think they are living and breathing, and tear them to pieces. *sigh* You can get an idea of what she does to things that she thinks are living and breathing by looking at these pictures of her with her pet squeaky squirrel.

All's not lost. I'll just break out the floral tape and attempt piece them back together. And keep them up high. I love Willa...and how she reminds me that all things from the ground up to 12" high are fair game! haha!

Preparing for new photo shoot!

So now that I am caught up on custom orders (for the time being), I decided the next big thing to tackle, with respect to my etsy store, is to reshoot my photographs. When i took a recent seminar lead by very successful etsy store owner, Littleput, she suggested that the #1 improvement one can make is to take better pictures. So here I am! My goal here is to give all the photos some more character, a consistent look and feel, all while adding some interest and attracting people to my store so that they find it a joy to come to my store and look around!

I thought about a plan, and here's what I did. I brought my business card to the local craft store and walked around the floral dept with card in hand, looking for items in the same color palette as my card. Kind of a challenge because I am looking for blue to chartreuse items. Luckily all items were on sale and they were also having a BOGO FREE sale! Yay me! I also bought a few floral accents and stems that have the same spikey organic "texture" as the art in my store header and business card. I also did the same thing at home, going through what I have already, to find items that had a consistent look and feel with the color palette I have chosen. Here are some of the ideas I came up with:

One thing I remembered to pick up while at the store was this amazing but simple poster putty that I have used at past jobs where I needed to do photo shoots of small items. This makes short order of arranging your items and having them stay in place while shooting. I was pleased to be able to find it at the craft store!

Now armed with many fun items with which to newly merchandise my jewelry, I plan to set up a photo shoot in the next day or two, depending on the weather. This time I plan to take it outside, rather than shooting in my cave of a condo, in hopes to add some natural light to my compositions and avoid lots of the incandescent lighting I end up spending hours in photoshop eliminating. I will make sure to add some examples here once I shoot!
I currently am using only a Kodak EasyShare as it is all I have. I use a mini tripod and make sure to adjust settings on camera to lighten as it tends to shoot dark,. This saves lots of editing later. If you have any other photography tips for this newbie, I really appreciate it!

Etsy store improvements

So, ever since taking the EtsyRain seminar the other day which was led by a top seller on Etsy, Littlput, I've been hard at work updating my store and asking people what is the most important updates they have made to their store, beside shooting great pictures. One of the suggestions I received was to make international shipping available. I found this amazing article that lays out how easy it is and made the update to my store. In the past, I've been convo'd by international buyers/sellers with various questions, so I know I have international buyers browsing my store. I certainly think this is a wise move, and super easy!

A question for the Etsy sellers out there: what is the most important update you've made to your store that has made all the difference?

And for our lovely buyers: What is the single most important factor when you choose to buy a particular item on etsy?

A little bit about myself...

My name is Jodie and I create soldered jewelry (and other sorts) and am having a blast. I am a graphic designer by trade and have been for almost 15 years. After being laid off in Jan 09 I've decided to go freelance...and also start doing what I LOVE! So I make jewelry with all kinds of lovely subjects such as birds, butterflies...and...scooters! I launched my etsy store in January and it is proving to be something that is such a challenge, and is something that I and totally passionate about!

In my free time you'll find me riding around on my Vespa, I even traveled the west coast with my friends last summer to AmeriVespa in San Jose...kinda like a "Sturgis" for scooters. Scooters make people smile. And my scooter peeps are the best! I keep a blog about my scooter adventures here.

My other motivational factor of working from home is that I get the hang out at home with my dog. I am a supporter of animal rescue and shelters. My best friend in the world, whom I met through a rescue, keeps me company while I make all of my fun jewelry! Willa is a 4 year old chihuahua/terrier mix and is such a sweet little girl. I encourage others to consider adoption rather than buying a pet.

My big thing lately is to get out there and network because I get to get out from in front of my computer and worktable and come out to events and meet some really neat people. Most of my biz has come from custom orders through FB and word of mouth so far. Because of some intense networking over the last few weeks, J Henry Designs is now a proud member of Team EtsyRain and other local artist groups!! What a fun group of people, and a HUGE resource of information and community!

What's next? Spring and Summer craft shows? Creating fine silver jewelry after attending a jewelry and metalsmithing class at Pratt this Spring? Being able to live off doing what I love? Oprah? never know! *wink* No matter what the future holds, I'll make sure to keep you all up-to-date here!