Category Archives: Process

How things get Tide Together

Photography Set Up for Selling Jewelry Online

The Online Product Photography Debate – Time To Pick A Team

Last week’s picture obsession was not related to the great online product photography debate, but it could be the most solid case for the existence of the Illuminati. Families were divided, social media was flooded, doctors were called in…What color is the dress?!?!

It looked like we may be headed for the end of days.

Dress Photo Debate

And there was one dress to rule them all

Thankfully, Internet obsessions are over in a wink. Many spent the weekend laughing at the fuss over a photo. I’m not going to laugh at anyone because this picture still blows my mind.

The reason I mention the dress is because it is an excellent example of how important an image is to people considering a product online. If it doesn’t grab a shopper’s attention, it may as well not be listed at all.

Over the weekend, the online product photography debate made its way through the Facebook Etsy seller groups. For many online sellers, one of two things is usually a work in progress; photography and SEO. (SEO is briefly touched on in this post if you are interested in a reminder.)

The photo debate never seems to end. Should items be photographed and retouched to appear as though they float on a white background?  Should they be shot on a solid color background? Should they be photographed organically with props and models to show the item in use?

There are many arguments for each and I am hoping that discussing them here will help me decide my vote in the product photography debate, once and for all!

The Case For #TeamWhite –
Why people prefer a solid white background for online product photography.

 

White Background product photography

#TeamWhite

  • All focus is on the product. There are no distractions in the photo.
  • It is easy to include these photos in Etsy treasuries because there is no background conflict between items. It gives the collection a straightforward, catalog appearance.
Photo Debate #TeamWhite Etsy Treasury Featuring Products Photographed With A White Background

This collection from AlicjaCollection features #TeamWhite Items

  • For those looking into wholesale, many buyers require a “white sheet” and this is the preferred photo style for submission.
  • Similar to Etsy treasuries, style guides can be curated on other blogs and sites.
    Photo Debate Style Guide Featuring Products Shot With Solid White Background

    This style guide features a jumpsuit from SmokeSaltBone, a bag from TaTonYon, and earrings by TideTogether

    The Case for #TeamColor –
    Why people prefer a solid color background for online product photography.

     

Boho Sea Glass Statement Pendant from Tide Together Shot With Plain Color Background

#TeamColor

  • Simple backgrounds of any color can still refrain from competing with the product.
  • Photos that are shot on white backgrounds still need more editing than other background choices. With so much effort spent on photography and the computer, many artists would like to avoid adding more time to these tasks.
  • Treasuries and Style Guides are not eliminated with color backgrounds but they do require the developer to consider the background for their color scheme.
Etsy Photo Debate #TeamColor

This collection from BoardArtistry features #TeamColor Items

The Case for #TeamOrganic –
Why people prefer organic lifestyle pictures for online product photography.

 

Tide Together on Etsy Organic Product Photography Helps Sell a Lifestyle with the Product

#TeamOrganic

  • Photos of an item in use can give people a feel for how they could use the item in their life.
  • Some people do not approve of seeing an item worn by another but others consider it helpful for gauging scope of a product’s size and shape.
  • Edited to add – Though it helps to see products in use to see how the fit into a lifestyle, many non-fashion sellers feel shoppers may be confused by photos that include more than just their product.
  • Organic photos can make collections tricky (thought not impossible) but they also make it possible for a single image to serve as a style guide.
tsy Photo Debate #Organic

This is a collection I created including #TeamOrganic Items

Now that we have covered most of the basic arguments in favor of each style – What are your thoughts? Did I miss any of the Pros and Cons?

Have you picked a #Team in the Product Photography Debate, or are you still in the fence?

Valentine's Day Jewelry from Tide Together

Valentine’s Day Jewelry – Behind the Scenes in the Etsy Shop

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and that is always a busy time for jewelry.   I have had my Etsy Shop on vacation mode to prepare for the new year and I am starting to feel the time crunch.

There is a lot that goes into selling handmade items online.  Often in Etsy groups, you will hear a person ask if selling on Etsy is hard.   I suppose that depends on your definition of hard.   Either way, it IS a lot of work.

I love making jewelry but you do not actually sell jewelry online.   You sell pictures and descriptions of jewelry.   Even the most amazing jeweler in the world will sell nothing if they can’t relay their product to customers who are unable to actually touch the product.

Photography Set Up for Selling Jewelry Online

My light box set up on my work bench. The drape of the day was red since I am shooting Valentine pictures.

I happen to be a lousy photographer.   Even with all of these helpful gadgets, my photos still require a great deal of editing just to be presentable.

Editing photos for Etsy Listings

Post photo shoot editing on the computer.

Every Etsy Shop listing allows for 5 photos.   It is highly encouraged that each slot is used.   Again, customers are confined to a look but no touch shopping experience.  A good photographer may be able to capture their subject in just the five shots needed for the listing slots…. but I am not a good photographer.    So for each item I need at least 10 shots to get the 5 I need.

If my shop went live today, I would have 174 active listings.    Some are repeats to list in multiple sections but I think you can still see what I mean when I say there is a lot of work involved.  :-)

That’s the picture portion of an Etsy Shop.    Once they are uploaded; you can move on to every Etsy shop owner’s favorite part of a listing…. Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short).  **Please note the statement in red is laced with the heaviest sarcasm you can imagine.

Oh, SEO… a moving target if one ever existed.   This is where you try to predict the key phrases that would lead a shopper to your item.   And not just any shopper, the shopper that actually wants to buy your item.

To demonstrate – let’s look at this listing I am creating for Valentine’s Day Jewelry

 

 Asymmetric Copper Heart Earrings

Valentine’s Day Jewelry from Tide Together

Now I could label these Halloween earrings and people could potentially find them but anyone actually searching Halloween earrings is not likely to buy this particular pair.

I know what you are thinking – “Why don’t you just label them Valentine’s Day Jewelry or Valentine’s Day Earrings?”

Excellent Question!    And here is the answer – just plug those phrases into the Etsy search box and see……

“Valentines day jewelry” We found 96,053 items!    

“Valentines day earrings” We found 23,772 items!

Now math was never my strong suit but even I know a statistical nightmare when I see one.   The chance of my earrings being found in that search are….. well almost 100,000 to 1.  Not the best odds.  And that’s just on Etsy – we won’t discuss the odds when you are hoping for search engine hits as well!

So it is important to look at more specific descriptions.    The chances go down of someone searching a more narrow phrase but the shopper who is specific is going to find exactly what they are looking for.  Thus, they are more likely to buy your item.  They already put in the words that say they want it!

“asymmetric heart earrings” We found 183 items!

“asymmetric metal heart earrings” We found 30 items!

“asymmetric copper heart earrings” We found 11 items!

See where I’m going with this?     It’s a tricky little game but one we all have to master.    This is also a good tip for shoppers – the more specific you are in your search, the less nonsense you will have to weed through to find what you are looking for!

So this is what has been occupying my time lately.   A necessary step but one that is SO HARD to focus on when I have new toys I can’t wait to play with!!!

New Jewelry Design Tools

Dapping Block, Hammer, and a Forming Stake.

So the dream is I will have the Etsy Shop open in time for everyone to scoop up some Valentine’s Day Jewelry.    My target date is the 15th but I am hopeful it will be sooner.   *Fingers Crossed*

And reward all of the little Etsy shops for their hard work on photos and SEO by being as specific as you can in your searches.   You will be amazed at how much more accurate your returns will be!    :-)

 

Boho Copper Cuff Rings and Green Sea Glass Pendant

Sea Glass Pendant & Boho Copper Cuff Rings

I meant to give an update on the new sea glass pendant’s progress yesterday.   Unfortunately, Maryland is home of the never ending allergy season and my sinuses have been having fun kicking me in the face!

So, allow me to play catch up.

The sea glass pendant completed the patina process but I was not pleased with the results.     I felt the more interesting aspects of patina were located on the back of the pendant…..which isn’t really helpful to the design.

Sea Glass Pendant Front

The patina just darkened the area around the sea glass. This doesn’t accentuate the glass or make the metal more attractive.

Sea Glass Pendant Back

The back of the pendant is very interesting but the character is hidden as it would face the body.

I decided what was needed is more surface space on the front of the pendant to draw attention to the focal.    So, I began to reverse the patina on this pendant and began making a new setting for another shard.

Sea Glass Pendant Frame

This frame is being designed to allow more copper to the front of the pendant. This will allow more color to the metal and allow the sea glass to remain the focus.

I wanted to introduce a few rings into my new collection so I cut and forged metal for a few designs that would have a bold Boho feel to the flow.

Green Sea Glass Pendant and Boho Cuff Rings before patina.

I finished the sea glass pendant frame and set the glass. Now, it and the rings are ready for patina.

These pieces were allowed to process overnight because I fell asleep!!

This morning, they were removed and prepared for the next phase of controlling the copper/patina ratio.

Boho Cuff Rings and Sea Glass Pendant after oxidization.

You can see the copper has oxidized and created shades of blue with shades of copper peeking through.

Copper Boho Cuff Rings and Sea Glass Pendant in progress.

Here, I am filing selected areas to allow more copper to peek through. This gives the pieces more shine.

Boho Green Sea Glass Pendant

I have allowed more copper to show closer to the sea glass so that the colors don’t compete. Now, this pendant will fit with the collection without overwhelming the natural color and patina of the sea glass.

These pieces were sprayed to seal the finish.   While they dried, I returned to the original sea glass pendant, which has now been de-oxidized to allow the copper to glow and highlight the focal.

 

Aqua Sea Glass Pendant Front

The contrast with the brightened copper really makes the sea glass stand out for this piece.

Aqua Sea Glass Pendant Back

You can see, the blues and darker shades have been removed but a subtle pattern remains in copper shades. This allows the pendant to maintain depth and interest from all angles without detracting from the main sea glass focal.

And the new handmade jewelry is complete.

Boho Copper Cuff Rings and Green Sea Glass Pendant

Now, the pieces help create a cohesive collection.

Boho Copper Cuff Rings

Similar in style but each unique. This really displays how the patina process is uncontrollable in a really fun way.

Green Sea Glass Pendant

Now, the patina accents the sea glass instead of overwhelming it

I am noticing a bit of residual copper discoloration to the sea glass.   I am hoping I will be able to work with this as it develops.

Ombre Patina and New Sea Glass Settings

When I learn a new technique, my brain starts wandering.  “I wonder what would happen if…” becomes my  constant internal monologue.

I have been wondering about creating an ombre fade with the patinas I have been working with and I am pretty happy with the results of my first experiments.

I tried a tip intense fade for a curved bangle cuff –

Open end bangle with ombre patina

Open end bangle with ombre patina

I enjoy the fade from blues to neutral before fading to the natural copper!

I enjoy the fade from blues to neutral before fading to the natural copper!

The tips hold more color before fading into the natural copper color.

The tips hold more color before fading into the natural copper color.

A view of the interior - the patina is sealed to prevent further color changes or discoloration to the skin.

A view of the interior – the patina is sealed to prevent further color changes or discoloration to the skin.

I also tried the selective patina for a stamped pendant.   I was able to isolate the strongest color to the front of the pendant and bottom of the back.   I think this helps the KARMA inscription stand alone in the natural copper shade.

I like the psychedelic tone to this piece. The shine makes it tricky to see the exact color separation.

I like the psychedelic tone to this piece. The shine makes it tricky to see the exact color separation.

The color has been isolated towards the bottom and fades up to the inscription.

The color has been isolated towards the bottom and fades up to the inscription.:

Now I am experimenting with combining my new patina skills with one of my favorite materials: Sea glass.

I used a piece of aqua sea glass that had a few imperfections, since I am not sure how the process will turn out.    I personally like shards with unique shapes and surfaces.  It adds a bit of personality and shows their survivor style.

I started by fold forming sheet copper around the shard

I wanted to go for a statement piece that resembles opening a gift.  I must have Christmas left on my brain!

I wanted to go for a statement piece that resembles opening a gift. I must have Christmas left on my brain!

The upper fold creates a bail to hang from a necklace.

The upper fold creates a bail to hang from a necklace.

Then, I began the patina – this is after about an hour into the process

I am noticing a bit of residual copper discoloration to the sea glass.   I am hoping I will be able to work with this as it develops.

I am noticing a bit of residual copper discoloration to the sea glass. I am hoping I will be able to work with this as it develops.

And that’s where I am for now.     The patina will continue to develop and I will share more pictures tomorrow.   Fingers crossed this experiment works out well!

New Year 2015 Sneak Peek

2015 Sneak Peek

It’s a new year and I am excited by all of the new projects I have planned for 2015.

First – I’m finally using the website my friend Gina was kind enough to set up …..in 2012.

Second – I have been working with a lot of new techniques and I am excited to get all of my physical locations and websites stocked.

Third – I will soon be listing all locations carrying Tide Together in 2015, along with contact information for any shops or sites interested in carrying Tide Together for the new year.

I am very excited to have one location where fans can find information and leave their thoughts and feedback.    I hope this also helps a new audience find my little corner of the world.