Saturday, March 14, 2015

Perfect Pairings Tips

We have been doing the Perfect Pairings for about six months now. It morphed out of the Featured Designer of the Week into something that celebrates the marriage between designer and bead artist, thus the Perfect Pairings. We are, after all, called the Art Bead Scene, so honoring the art bead artists along with those that create with them just makes sense. And who doesn't want to find new bead artists to love?

Since I am the one that is doing them regularly, I thought you might like to know a bit about my process and how I come to the decision of which one to to choose each week. Hopefully, having this 'insider information' might increase the amount of entries that we get and also help you to make your images that much more compelling and helpful to your journey as an artisan jewelry designer. Win, win!

So here is what I am looking for and how I make my {very subjective} selections each week for the Perfect Pairings (note: all photos were taken from entries to our Pinterest site over the past few months. Thank you for sharing your beautiful designs with us to inspire and amaze us!)

1 :: Interesting Design
Clearly we could all just string our beads on a cord and call it done, but that is less artistic, and I believe that each of us is an artisan painting the world in beaded wonders. I go to the Pinterest site and quickly scroll through the entries. I then go back to the ones that catch my eye.

Necklace by DitsyBlue
This necklace takes me on a journey all the way around. There are interesting stops along the way and there is a definitive balance despite the asymmetry. This is just good design and great storytelling combined and truly masters the challenge image.

I am looking for something that will tell the story of the challenge inspiration, capture the color palette...something that makes me want to go back and look at it further. From there I narrow it down going back to look at each piece that caught my eye more closely, zooming into the pictures and moving around the pieces so that I can see the construction and the materials.

Bracelet by Cabewoman
This bracelet is very simple in design, but look closer... the way that it is constructed with the handmade links really sets this apart and elevates it as a truly artful interpretation. The piece is shot at an interesting angle with soft lighting on a very simple background with great depth of field that highlights the beautiful construction.

Think about the balance of the design, not just how it hangs, but how well the materials work together. Consider your pieces as a visual storytelling. I am looking for intriguing construction, blending of the color palette, and a spotlight on the art beads.

2 :: Art Beads
Of course! Since we are all about the art beads, I am obviously looking to see what art beads are used. That is why it is ESSENTIAL for you to mention the art beads that are used in your piece. Please...make it easy for me to find those bead artists (because they get a shout-out, too!).

Earrings by EclecticNesting
This is a simple design that works well as an abstract interpretation of the challenge painting. And the artisan clearly listed that the matchsticks were from NuminosityBeads and the disks by RaggedRobyn making it easy for me to find them!

Now I know that we have some mighty talented designers who also make beautiful art beads. And I have featured many over time. But if you use art beads you make, AND you sell those art beads, I will tell you that I am that much more intrigued by your work. Because I know that our readers want to discover new bead artists and are looking to buy the pieces that you are making. So if you don't sell your beads that you have made into your fabulous creations, you might want to consider it. You have a willing audience looking for your wares and a perfect way to drive them to you!

Necklace and plaquette by BHClayworks
Miss Barbara is an accomplished ceramic artist. A great way for her to share her wares is to make something with them to show the possibilities as in this necklace. You should check her out!

I know that creating a hoard of art beads to choose from is a lengthy (and at times a pricey) process, but I find that having a stable of my favorite artists right at hand makes me that much more prolific and creative. Of course, it only takes one art bead in your piece to qualify, but I will let you know that I absolutely adore it when I see a variety of different art beads all playing together.

DO let the bead artists know that you are using their beads in your entry. A quick email will suffice with a link to the picture on Pinterest. Bead artists LOVE that!

3 :: Great Shot
The photos that you take are absolutely essential. And you owe it to yourself and your creations to figure out the best possible way to take them. Every artist is different, so every photography set up should be as well. You need to figure out what your style is and reflect that clearly and consistently in your product photography.

Take a weekend to familiarize yourself with your camera (hint: macro is your friend, I almost exclusively use my iPhone now, so you don't need anything that fancy).

Beads by Mihaela Georgescu
There were many shots that she took of these beads and the necklace that she constructed for the January challenge. But I liked this shallow depth of field that highlights the central beaded focal that she made, making me want to see more.
Decide what backgrounds look best (hint: simple and consistent is best, props should be few and unobtrusive). 

Necklace by Beady Eyed Bunny
This simple background is consistent in her product shots.
The props are unobtrusive and work well with the rustic, organic theme of the jewelry.

Take many angles (hint: vary them from close-ups to wide shots, straight on to from the side, etc).
 Earrings by Diva Designs
You can submit up to two photos a day for your challenge piece. If you have more than one shot that works well, I say load it up! Miss Lynda Moseley really knows how to make her polymer clay creations stand out with simple white backgrounds and great lighting as well as playing with different angles.

Lighting is key (hint: diffuse daylight with a piece of vellum or tracing paper over a window, or build or invest in an inexpensive light box - this is the one that I have and it works great in tight space).
Necklace by BackstoryBeads
The angle that this is shot at is interesting because it leads your eye away from the focal. But the focal is clearly in focus, with the depth of field getting softer as it moves away. The background is neutral and the lighting is soft. The use of the prop is not competing in any way with the necklace and enhances the natural organic shapes.

Once you have a style that works for you, you will take more consistent shots that will put your jewelry in the best light and make it compelling for everyone to view.

I hope that these tips will help you with your entries for the monthly challenges! I look forward to the excitement of selecting next week's Perfect Pairings!


Denise said...

Thank you for including one of my pieces!

Terri said...

Terrific Post!

Carol Briody said...

Thank you so much for the insight and tips!

Shai Williams said...

Great post! It's definitely given me some ideas about pictures. Now to just find the time to come up with a design to photograph this month.