Monday, June 14, 2010

Clap Your Hands If You Believe In Photography Fairies!

I'll come right out and say it: I hate taking pictures of my jewelry.

I don't really like popping a very "I-centered" entry in the blog so early on, but this is something that I struggle with SO MUCH in my crafty life that I felt almost obligated to share. I think other sellers on Etsy can relate (I hope so!).

I'm not "vacation photos with chopped-off heads" bad at photography, really. But something about taking very creative pictures in a very small space for a very specific purpose (showing off my work and enticing people to click on a thumbnail and then later buy it) sucks whatever photographic talent I have right out of me. I try to update my shop every day, though if I notice that I've run out of my "picture queue" I conveniently remember some other chore I have to do or errand I have to run. That's when you start seeing the gaps in the dates on the listings. ;)

Any given Etsy collection is going to be full of nothing but beautiful shots of products made with love and care, photographs that I wouldn't mind hanging on the wall as a piece of decorative art in and of themselves. It's almost enough to make me throw my hands up in despair and just give up on the whole thing. Because I know that, statistically speaking, not everyone featured up there can be a professional photographer. The people taking those pictures are people like you and me: people who didn't have the the chance to immerse themselves in the study of photography; people who have a thousand other things to do in life and a thousand hats they wear that don't have anything to do with photography.

It's also frustrating because if I think about signing up for the category showcase I cringe. "My pictures will look so bad next to everyone else's. No one will click it. It'll be a waste of money." Normally not a concern for me, but July will see Embracing Your Inner Geek Day which is, well, what I'm all about—the perfect time to hit up the geekery showcase. I'll have to decide—and soon!—whether or not I can overcome that fear of looking like a talentless hack on the internet to maybe score some sales.

I wish (as I told Etsy in the forums) that a photography fairy would come along and just drop the perfect pictures for my items right in to my hard drive. That would be so much easier, and I could spend my valuable time making new items or marketing the ones I already have. I have no qualms about what I make, in terms of the physical product; I worry that my photos give off a vibe that's more amateur than the work *really* is.

And it's not at all related to the quality or creativity of my product! My polymer charms are starting out kind of sad ("failed kindergarten projects," my mother called them) but then I immediately see what I goofed and what I can do better and there's a world of difference between the alpha release and the beta release (pictures coming soon!). But the photography—it's totally unrelated to my craft and yet it's one of the biggest things holding me back! How silly is that?!

You have to constantly strive to improve at everything you do, though—including photography! And so I continue to slog along, catching up on any articles on the Storque or anywhere else that I may have missed; experimenting with settings on my camera; reading other how-tos and tips on the internet. Progress comes in increments. I'm glad it comes at all, of course, but some days it seems almost a Sisyphean task.

What frustrates you as a seller on Etsy? Or in any creative or business venture?

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