Before and After: LittleGrayFox

This week's fantastic photographic transformation features LittleGrayFox via Etsy. This Seattle-based artist creates a wide range of work from felt brooches and game piece necklaces to embroidered art and polymer clay miniatures. Check out her shop for all the foxy goodness!

Shooting photos of your small object indoors without adjusting the white balance first can sometimes result in photos that are extremely yellow or "warm" due to the yellowish glow from tungsten light bulbs (standard incandescent bulbs).

  • An overhead incandescent light casts a yellow tone over the whole photo
  • Using a single bright light also creates a harsh shadow
  • The depth of field is much too shallow and makes the whole photo look out of focus
  • Centered composition doesn't do anything for the piece

  • Reflected light softens the lighting while highlighting the shiny surface of the pendant
  • Using a slightly reflective background creates a subtle depth that draws us into the photo
  • The entire piece is in focus and shows the attention to detail in the finishing of the piece
  • Much improved composition adds a lot more interest to the photo

A note about white balance:
To ensure your colors stay true, be sure to check that your white balance setting on your camera is set to read the same kind of light that you're shooting under (incandescent, florescent or outdoors) for colors that are truer to your subject matter.

To make absolutely sure that your colors are spot-on, you'll want to manually adjust your white balance by going into the menu of your camera and setting a manual white balance in the lighting environment you're shooting in. (More on setting a custom white balance in an upcoming post)

Bonus shot:
This group shot is beautifully done and really shows off the range of photographs that she has available in her shop. The slight reflection and the naturally gradient background created by using one reflected on an endless "sweep" (seamless background) is very nice too!

Great job LittleGrayFox! Keep up the great photography! :)

How much have you played with your camera's white balance? 
Do you leave it on the "Auto" setting? 
Have you ever used the custom white balance setting?
Tell us in the comments section!

Using a Tripod - Blog link from

If you've ever taken a class from me, you'll know that I usually recommend bringing in enough light to enable fast shutter speeds that will allow you to hand-hold your camera (more on shutter speeds later this week).

However, there are definitely times when using a tripod is recommended and better overall. Instead of reiterating what has already been said, head on over to and check out this really great post by Spencer Gordon that includes informative videos outlining the differences and advantages of using a tripod: Check it out!

Setting Up the Shot with a Tripod

  Photo by formerinhabitants
Story by daniellexo, flashsg
Published on Mar 15, 2011 in the Seller Handbook on
Do YOU use a tripod regularly? What do you like / dislike about using your tripod?

Quick Tip: How to Defy Gravity

Hello readers! Greetings from's new headquarters! I've been busy moving my studio to a new location in Greenwood (Seattle, WA) and am excited to start some new classes that will take advantage of one of my favorite features of the new space:

Did anyone say, "natural light"? Yippee! :)

In the meantime, how about a quick tip
Ever wonder how some small object photographers seem to defy gravity?

Well, wonder no more! Head over to your local hardware or housewares retailer and pick up a package of this fantastic product:
Quake Hold Museum Putty
Quake Hold™ is an opaque white putty sticky enough to hold up most objects long enough to take a gravity defying photo and make your customers wonder if you're magic! The best part: when removed, it leaves absolutely no residue behind.

Recommended: Use as small piece as possible and angle your shot to make hiding the putty from the camera easier.

Even though it might seem like a better idea to go with the same company's other product, Clear Museum Gel™ I don't recommend it for photography. It doesn't have the same sticking power like the putty does for the application we're using it for. (It does a great job of holding glassware to your shelves though!)

I'll be back soon with more tricks and tips from the Small Object Photography studio! Thanks for your support!

Before and After: Getting to Know Brightness and Contrast

I received a Before and After photo submission a while back by a great Seattle jewelry designer, A Cup of Sparkle. The improvements are noticeable between the two photos she sent, but then I suggested going a step further!

acupofsparkle via Etsy

  • Background texture competes with the delicate wire wrapping
  • Photo is just a little bit too far away - details are lost
  • Not sure if that's a flash or sunshine hot spot in the upper left?

  • Creative composition is simple with just enough interest
  • Pleasing angle shows off the full length of the pendant
  • Wire wraps and pearls are featured in the close-up composition

Taking it a few steps further -- improving an already good photo

First, we crop the photo just a bit more to really focus on the pendant:

This is what we have after cropping:

So close you can almost reach out and touch it!

Then, to take it just that little bit further, I adjusted the brightness and contrast
to reduce the gray overcast and make the garnet *sparkle* :)

Ooooh! Shiny!

Looking for great FREE photo editing software? Check out this comparison article:

My personal favorite is - it works a lot like older versions of Photoshop Elements
I used it quite a bit before I finally grabbed my wallet and bought Photoshop Elements 9 :)

What is your favorite photo editor? Why do you like it? 
Please leave a comment below!