About Marlo M.

 Marlo Miyashiro (a.k.a. IMakeCuteStuff) has been in the retail and wholesale handmade craft industries for over 20 years, creating and selling her work to over 200 stores across the country and abroad. She is a jeweler by trade, crafter of sewn things, teacher of techniques and mentor / arts business consultant for emerging artists. She is also one of the founding members and current organizer of EtsyRAIN.com – an active community of over 900 artists who reside in the Seattle / Puget Sound region and own independent shops on Etsy. You can find some of her lighthearted work on Etsy at imakecutestuff.etsy.com and more info on her consulting services at CreativeArtsConsulting.com.

More about Marlo M 
Hi there! I'm Marlo. I guess since you clicked on the link, you probably want to know a little bit about who's doing all this blogging about small object photography, right? Okee doke! I'm happy to oblige!

Who are you anyway?
I'm Marlo Miyashiro - an independent studio jeweler and artist living and working in the Emerald City - also known as Seattle, WA. Marlo M. Jewelry Design has been my full-time "day job" since 1993 and I love every minute of being self-employed (though my boss can be quite demanding!).

I am a self-proclaimed "serial entrepreneur" with, at last count, 7 different business that keep me quite busy every day:

Phew! Good thing all of this stuff doesn't happen every day! :D

What do you know about photography?
Well, I've been taking my own photos for a very long time. I learned how to shoot a mean 35mm SLR Nikon camera back in the days before digital photography. (I'm older than I look ;)

Most of my jewelry at that time was highly polished sterling silver. Think about it -- how does one take a photo of a piece of jewelry that is essentially a bunch of mirrors? Yep. Very carefully. I even had a professional photographer turn away my business because they didn't want the hassle of trying to shoot shiny objects! So, instead of changing my jewelry design, I learned a lot of tricks on how to make shiny stuff look shiny and curvy stuff look curvy. It took me about 1 year to figure out how to get reliable results and it was worth the effort.

When Etsy.com came along, I opened up my first shop and had to re-learn everything I knew about photography. Digital cameras are quite different from standard film cameras. All the buttons and menus were intimidating. I have to admit: my first photos were something AWFUL. So embarrassing. But after a bunch of research, trial and error, I found my camera legs again and have been feeling pretty great about shooting my own photos for my many Etsy shops...like this one:

Koi swimming under branches by Marlo M.

Where did you learn photography? Did you go to school?
I  am completely self-taught (save a workshop here and there). I've  learned all about the technical aspects of photography by reading a lot  of books, following a lot of blogs and reading all the photography  instruction sites I can find. Beyond all of that, I have found the best  way to learn for me has been to spend an a LOT of of time shooting  photos, taking notes and learning new things.

What kind of camera do you use?
I have two digital cameras that I like to use.

The first is a little Samsung point-and-shoot that I bought at Fry's Electronics for $99 on sale. I chose it because it had a decent macro setting and was in my price range. I knew very little about digital photography back then. I did pretty well with that one for quite a few years. In fact,  it's the camera that took the photo above! Pretty neat, huh?

I recently received a Cannon Rebel XSi with a 60mm macro lens and I have been falling in love with what a true DSLR can do. I've gotten some incredible shots with the new camera like this one that really made me happy:

 Dot ring - my first photo with my new camera! Just look at that depth of field!

Okay, but I tried taking photography classes before and the numbers just made my head spin. How are your classes different?
My teaching style is very hands-on and is great for artists and creative people. While I do teach a little about the necessary technical aspects (f-stop, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, etc.), I have found it most effective to set up a photography station and let students go to town with the photos. See my  photography classes page for the happy results!

Why should I learn how to take my own photos if there are professionals out there who will do it for me?
I encourage all artists to take some time to learn at least the very basics about what a camera can and cannot do for product photography. This way, when you do hire a professional, you will know exactly what to ask for to make your photos work. Not only that, allowing yourself a new creative hobby will inevitably refresh your creative batteries so you can continue to produce your own work. It's one of those "win-win" situations everyone talks about.

Can I hire you to take my photos for me?
I might consider it if you ask me nicely, but really -- I am really more of a "teach you to fish" type of person, so I'd truly prefer to teach you how to take great photos on your own with whatever equipment you own - be it a little pocket camera, point-and-shoot or a fancy DSLR.

When is your next class?
I have ongoing day/evening, weekday/weekend availability for private small-object photography classes in my studio in the Fremont area of Seattle, WA. Please check out my photography workshops and classes page to find out all the details about booking a class time with me.

Thanks for reading - I hope to see your comments on the blog and your cute faces in my classes sometime. It'll be fabulous to meet you and help you improve your small object photography!

Yours truly,
Marlo M.
Jeweler, teacher, mentor and arts business consultant all rolled into one :)