Kira Joya’s Blog

New Skills

Posted in beads, Jewelry, photography by Alissia on May 4, 2009
Scrollwork Bangle

Scrollwork Bangle

Scrollwork Bangle...side view, open clasp

Scrollwork Bangle...side view, open clasp

I was really, really looking forward to this day. I felt like a kid…so excited about the new adventure I was going on. I woke up a little late this morning, but still made it to the Valley Forge Convention Center with plenty of time. Little did I know how much I was going to need the map they handed me at the Bead Fest Wire registration desk. It was quite a trek from the desk to the classroom, but I’m not afraid of a little walking….so I forged ahead. At last…the classroom! Yay!!

I walked in and gathered my supplies. I had ordered them from the teacher ahead of time. Before today I had really only done a tiny bit of wire wrapping…so I needed A LOT of supplies. (My favorite tool of the day was the wire winder, it made coiling the wire so simple and the results were perfect.) I set up my work station and awaited the beginning of the class…not for long. We jumped right into our project for the day. Our teacher for today’s class was Debra Danyi. She is a really mellow, sweet kindergarten teacher and WOW does she know her stuff! I was really impressed with her knowledge as well as her teaching skills.

I feel like I learned a lot in this one class. I’m extremely happy with the Scrollwork Bangle that I made. It turned out beautifully and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Of course, it’s always a little easier with good direction. After this class, I’m really confident that I could make this bracelet again pretty easily and also that I can use the skills I learned to make more intricate designs of my own. That is the whole reason I took the class. I want to expand my jewelry making horizons. I get a little bored with using the same techniques over and over again. Thank you Debra…I would do it again in a heart beat!

Also…a little bit off the subject of the rest of this post…check out my website, I added 3 new pieces of jewelry. The photography thing is a work in progress for me. I am playing around with some new backgrounds to see which ones I like best. I think I am liking the darker backgrounds right now. I took so many pictures of just these three items to try to get it right….and I know I will change them again because they aren’t quite right. I just wanted to get the items put up on my site. I would gladly hear any opinions on how to improve my photos. I would also like to hear which photos you think stand out more…light background or dark.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Desert Glow

Desert Glow

Caribbean Cool

Caribbean Cool

Product Photography

Posted in beads, Jewelry, photography, WAHM by Alissia on April 21, 2009

When I started my website and business, I don’t think I really knew how multi-faceted I was going to have to be. I read books and researched things online, but you never really know until you just jump in. I know that I had no idea how time consuming it was going to be to photograph and describe all of my products. I have a pretty small inventory at this point and, even so, I have spent countless hours agonizing over the quality of the pictures and trying to get the wording just so.

Yesterday, I spent a good two hours, if not more, trying to get pictures for two recently finished necklaces. (I showed photos of components in previous posts.) Of course, lighting was the biggest issue. I have tried the light box and don’t really like it, I don’t know why. I think I find it too cumbersome. It’s not as easy to get in there and get the shot I need. For jewelry shots, if you want your whole piece to be in focus, you really have to be directly overhead. Anyway, I have a room in my house with tons of windows. I usually take my pictures in there. I definitely use the tripod. I have tried before to get away without using it and my pictures suffered.

This is what I do:

1) I take a ton of pictures…I think I took 150 photos of two necklaces yesterday.

2) I use varying shutter speeds to see which one brings the best light. For each product and each background I take at least 20 shots, varying the lighting slightly each time. It’s amazing how one shot can be fine and on the very next setting it will be either too light or too dark. I also make sure that I still take photos well into a range that I might think will be too dark or too light. That little screen on your camera is not a really accurate way to tell what the shot will look like on the computer. I find, with jewelry anyway, that the brighter the shot, the better the piece looks. Usually it’s the shot that I think is going to be way too bright that I end up using.

3) I use software to adjust things a bit and crop photos. You can use Photoshop, Gimp (which is free), or any other image editor you choose.

4) I research things if I am having a hard time. I found this page on Thimble Arts and Crafts Blog to be helpful. She gives links to some product photography tutorials and tips. I was also happy to discover that Darren, the man who is running the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge has a website called Digital Photography School. It seems to be a wealth of information. I haven’t explored it fully yet, but I plan to.

It can be really frustrating to take 150 photos and not have a single one that you feel is usable. To that, I have to say…practice makes perfect…well, maybe not quite. I actually really enjoy the process. I’m learning more about my camera and photography in general, which I have always liked. I am by no means an authority on the subject, I am just sharing what has worked for me so far. I am really just learning. I could go over and over my photos and still feel I need to take more shots, because something’s not right…there comes a point where I just let go and say OK, good enough!

These are the best of the photos I took yesterday (click on them to enlarge them.) Any constructive comments or suggestions are entirely welcome!

www.condron.us

Whew!

Posted in Uncategorized by Alissia on April 1, 2009

Nothing like trying to sound intelligent at the end of a long day.  It was a good day…very active.   The weather was beautiful, which definitely helps.  Nothing monumental today.  I figured out how to link my blog and my website, which was very exciting…but only to me.   The small victories count too.  I also decided that I’m going to take some kind of metalsmithing or wire wrapping class at an upcoming Bead Fest.  I need to expand my skills and I love the look of the swirly wire wrapped bracelets and rings…I have been thinking of taking a silversmithing class for awhile.  So we’ll see how that goes…the Bead Fest is a month away, so I have a little while to wait.  I will post some pics of the finished product in May.

One funny personal story that keeps running over in my head…I just want to write it down before I forget.  This came from the mouth of my four-year-old daughter, Kira.  On Sunday I was reading her a story before nap time and she started looking at her arm.  I asked her what she was looking at.  She said, ” I have hair growing through me.”  I explained that we all have hair growing all over our bodies.  She said,”Yeah, someday we’ll be all Daddy’s.”  Maybe not quite as funny in print, but I laughed my butt off.  Those little four-year-old heads are always thinking!

That’s all the words I can press for today.  Good night!