A really talented jewellery artist, Kharisma Ryantori Sommers of Popnicute on Artfire, has featured some items from my store on her blog. The blog post is called For the Love of Miniatures and Christmas in July. Thanks so much, Kay.
Kay makes really lovely ribbon pendants out of solid copper, and also many pretty wire-wrapped pieces. These are my absolute favourites:
Be sure to check out her shop. I really wish I could solder and fuse like she does. I can’t even wire wrap right now . I need to expand my skill set!
The Christmas in July promotion is starting this Monday, so it’s definitely a good time to buy! I, too, will be having a 10% off storewide sale in my ArtFire store, from 12th to 25th July. Prices will be updated, so no need for buyers to do anything. For my Etsy store, I will give back 10% as a refund through PayPal, if the code ‘CIJ’ is sent to me during checkout or in a convo. Postage costs aren’t included in the promotion, but since I offer flat rate shipping, it’s pretty cheap if you order a number of items. 😀
Get your Christmas presents done really, really early. Happy shopping!
I’ve been re-photographing most of my items that I think are worth it. I wanted to update my shop because sales were zip! I had used the same props and decor in all my photos, and I was getting tired of how washed-out and lifeless they looked. The real success started with my purple cupcake, where I used a bright pink background and decreased the depth-of-field. This created a blurry background. I suppose the chain in the photo added more interest, especially when blurred out.
I didn’t photograph some of my old stuff, as I no longer have some of the originals. But I’d say they are only 3-4 items. I got a few sales since I updated my photos, which is certainly a good sign. I’ll now show you how ugly my old photos were, compared to the new ones.
I think the photo on the left does not do my product any justice. Makes it look dull and boring. I re-photographed it on a postcard. I must say that my macro lens does help a lot with close-up photos. It’s really good for miniatures. I do have trouble photographing larger items like my homemade lightbox (which I will talk about in a separate blog post). I can’t zoom at all with this macro lens, so it’s cumbersome. For these large items, you’re better off with a normal, multi-purpose lens.
Oh my… Look how ugly that cake is. Compare that to the new photo! I think it looks 100 times better now. I used scrapbooking paper for the background, and the same miniature plate seen in old photos. One other tip, I don’t bother so much with colour and exposure when I take photos, because my camera is quite old and DSLR technology wasn’t as great 5 years ago. I don’t fiddle as much by saving the images as RAW files, and then later do the editing on my computer. With RAW images, I can crop, adjust white balance, contrast, and increase exposure till my heart’s content. When taking photos, it’s more important to get the right angle and make sure the image is in focus. Those are the things you can’t edit with RAW files.
With this update, I tried to adjust the angle and positioning of the items. It’s important to get them into a pleasing position on your background, and make sure your light source is hitting the item at the right spot. I also chose a background that doesn’t clash with the colours of the item. I think the overall look and feel is quite pleasing, compared to the old photo. I do sometimes make the mistake of choosing a background that blends too much with the item. The photos then go unused. I usually re-photograph till I am reasonably happy.
Here are some examples of scrapbooking material that I use as backgrounds. They are cheap and available everywhere!
Other ideas to try would be wrapping paper, postcards, printed photographs, books and magazines. I also used a recipe magazine for some of my close-up photos… and I don’t cook. At least the magazine is not wasted then! I managed to find some pages with nice coloured areas. The best thing about photographing miniatures is that you can put them up to most patterned backgrounds, and still not be able to tell what the backgrounds are. Here are some photos with my cooking magazine:
The blue patterned background is actually from a photo of a meal on a plate. And for the cherry pie, I used a photo of an icing cake with pink flowers. There are a couple of concerns regarding using magazines and books for close-ups. One, make sure you don’t reveal too much of the background to be recognisable, or it could breech copyrights. Two, you can see all the printed coloured dots from being too close. I don’t mind these too much, since most people view thumbnails when finding items, and the dots are not noticeable then. It’s a small price to pay for using your own magazines and books, since they are the cheapest means possible.
I hope my long post has been helpful, in some way! Next time, I will talk a bit about my home made lightbox, although I still have yet to use it. I always just wait for morning, and leave the lightbox for emergencies.
All the items pictured are available from my stores on ArtFire and Etsy.
Sorry old fruit canes, you didn’t satisfy me, so I made new ones. I’ve finally gotten around to it! Everyone knows my old bananas, they were stylised and the 6 seeds were not in the location I wanted them to be. It was the second cane that I had ever done in my life. Now take a look at my new bananas!
The left image is the one with my new canes. The right one compares my new to my old ones. They look a little better and less stylised. It’s an improvement, but I still need to make the darker bits surrounding the seeds a little brighter next time, and perhaps the seeds could be slightly darker. Not perfect, still… but I definitely prefer them to my old crappy ones!
Mmm… Banana slices!
And my oranges… poor things, I didn’t like them at all… too yellow, too small. I kept telling myself that they were mandarin oranges, but still, in my mind, they were horrible. So, I sold the whole lot! I made them really cheap and sold them, just so I could wipe my mind clear and start a new orange cane.
As you can see, it starts off as a stump with ugly ends, but the pattern inside should look fine. I slowly reduce the cane and elongate it…
Once at 1-1.2cm in diameter, I cut it in half to investigate! Looked good, so I elongated it till 6-7mm, which should be about right. My last batch was way too tiny, and I should learn from my mistakes. And finally, I cut off the ugly ends until a nice fresh pattern started on all the canes. I was left with lots of leftover unbaked clay, which I normally re-use when I need that colour, or when I make another cane. No wastage!
Let’s compare the old with the new:
I certainly like the colour change! The size is right too, but I added an extra layer before the skin, and the entire skin part might now be a tad bit thick. Nothing’s perfect, I suppose. Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Sorry posts have been far between. For once, I’ve been busy making miniature food and taking photos! I’ve also been thinking about new products and what might better suit my audience, thanks to Andrew from Plug Market. He had a good point that got me thinking about what products to target at different audience types. A good friend, Juanita from JuanitaTortilla on Etsy, also suggested that I start selling my fruit canes. It could work, but could also backfire because I lack the seasoned experience that I need to make consistent-looking canes. My luck is almost 50-50 right now. I made an orange fruit cane while Juanita was visiting, and I think I rushed it a bit. I made the canes too small and I also forgot to add a light orange layer before adding the ‘skin’ layer. You’d think a miniature fruit cane could not be too small, but it is… I made it 3mm, but I have found that I prefer slices at 5-6mm. So, while it still looks alright, it’s not really up to my standards as I had hoped.
Here, you can see how they look in varied sizes.
Now, on to photos of my products!
These were just listed on Etsy and ArtFire, along with a listing combining the two to make a set.
These are earring charms that are part of my new line of interchangeable earrings. The ear wires come in 3 sizes, and each size comes in the whole set of colours, for even more options when coordinating with outfits. I hope these sound like a good idea… I’ll also be adding more options to allow buyers to ‘stack’ charms together.
This sure is a week of features and promotions!
A big hearty thank you to Andrew Weaver of Plug Market for writing an article on me and my polymer clay miniatures, entitled “Artist Review: How a formal education enhances your craftsmanship”. Andrew is a professional marketing consultant who is writing about artisans to help promote their products, as well as provide valuable advice on how to effectively market handmade products online. Definitely has a space on my bookmarks list! I already found a few tips that I just have to try.