Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Uphill Slog With The Mysteries Of Product Photography ! Hastypearl

My Uphill Slog With The Mysteries Of Product Photography !

I am going to be Graphic in this blog posting.
I am going to post images that WILL offend you.
Your should start by covering 99% of your field of vision, 
only allowing yourself to see 1% if the first 4 images. 

Got 'cha !

No, there is No Explicit imagery here, 
just some really scary bad photography !

I say all of that just to let you see where I started.

Leading up to my hastypearl Esty shop opening in 2012, 
I knew Nothing about photography.
I could point and shoot, and share the pics with my family.
That was it.

I learned pretty quick, that what I knew how to do, 
and what I was seeing on Etsy, was faaaaar apart.

I didn't know anyone that knew the answers.
I didn't have a clue how to change what I was doing.

I wish that I could say that it happened easily and fast, 
but for me, it didn't.
I tried everything that I could think of, 
and these pics were about as good as it got.



One thing that I DID know how to do, was to ask for help.

Over time, I learned where to watch "how to" videos, 
but without the equipment, I was still going around in circles.

So, I started asking some internet friends about their camera equipment 
and I made my first DSLR purchase.
It was a starter camera for sure, 
but I knew what I saw it turning out for some Etsy friends 
and that was good enough for me.
It came with a kit lens and I added a macro lens.
Not expensive...at all.

My BIL knew of my trials, and generously gave me PhotoShop Elements 6, 
which by the time that I got it, 
it was already obsolete...but it was MY obsolete !
I couldn't have been happier!

He gave me a few how to's...a very few...and the rest I had to figure out.
Again, back to the internet to read and find videos to help.

Then, one fine and wonderful day, 
two sweet ladies came to the rescue when I asked for their help.

One, told me about a book called,
Understanding Exposure
How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera 
by Bryan Peterson

I'm not sure how many times I have read that book, 
but I have read through and taken extensive notes, TWICE.
I later found that much of what is in this book, 
is taught in videos on his School of Photography. 
Frankly, I was glad that I had read the book, before I watched the videos. 

Another friend, told me about CreativeLive.com .
This website has fantastic online classes, 
for Photo & Video and a whole range of other studies.

Those two real suggestions helped me Get On The Road.

Finally, I had on my wish list to buy some lights for my "studio". 
Don't misunderstand.
My photography studio is a piece of white rolled watercolor paper, 
clipped to some drapes, with a table in front.

Again, when I asked the question, 
do I most likely need a different lens or more light? 
The answer was, more light is always the fix.

So, I went to our only real camera store, 
Camera Exchange, in San Antonio and bought my first real lights.
I bought the Erin Manning Home Studio Lighting Kit 
Westcott Basics.

While I never thought that I would spend what I have spent on photography, 
what I have purchased, is very moderately priced, 
and way less than many individuals spend on shoes and handbags in a year.


Still, I dreamed of having someone come to my home, 
and show me step by step, what they would do with one of my images, 
to get it ready for an Etsy listing.

A month ago, that Finally Happened !!

There is a Socially Excepted Limit, 
to how many exclamation marks to use, 
so just picture that I used One Million in that last sentence :)

That means that...3three3 LONNNNG years after I opened my Hastypearl Etsy shop, 
I got THE piece of info that I had dreamed of.

On Photoshop, it is called the Level's bar, with the Histogram.

It was Right under my nose, the Whole Time.

When my friend showed me, 
she used a phrase that I had murmured to myself so many times...
She said, 
slide this bar, 
and it will "look like you have removed a film off of the image".

That is exactly what I needed !

When I put everything that I had learned together...

I heard the Angels Sing a New Song...

Their song was...

Hallelujah, Laura's pictures just Got Better, 
so Maybe we will stop having to see HER TRULY BAD Ones !!!

Yes, a Heavenly Chorus :)

Again, the audacity of Me telling you about photography, 
when there are SO many much more capable, than I. 
It is equal to me telling you how to fly a spaceship, 
or change a transmission, 
or rob a bank ;)

But, I just wanted desperately to know how to improve my pics, 
for so long, 
that I wanted to share what I have learned.

I have SOOOOO much more to learn, 
but the best part about it is...I Love Learning !

While I would have loved to have known these steps MUCH earlier...
They Came When They Came, and I can live with that.

We are all on some kind of learning curve.
Its what keeps us fresh, stretching, reaching.

Lets remind each other to keep at it !
Its one of Life's Greatest Joys :)

What has been Your biggest learning curve ?
Leave your answer in the Post a Comment section below !
We can cheer each other on :)


ps...these last images, are some angels that I will be listing on Hastypearl Etsy.
Come on by and see whats new in the shop :) 


  1. Nice work, Laura! That's what happens when you stick to it! Beautiful images! High five. xo

  2. Thanks, Leslie. You Know that you were one that I mentioned. It's wonderful and refreshing, to find a talented professional that isn't afraid to share their knowledge. Not only have you been a mentor to me, but you've had enough left over to be a friend, too:) That means a lot...Snap on, create on, talented lady ! Laura