feedback/conversation on photographing work

I just unrolled my new, static-y, pristine backdrop ( thank you Adorama - for the giant plastic bag! - I can use that ) and spent some time photographing some pieces - this is mainly for use on my ETSY shop.

I know most ceramic artists' present their work with the standard gradient backdrop and most of the time it looks great.  It works.  For formal submissions, I believe, it's the standard.  It's unquestionably ideal for photographing most work.  I know it's the go-to visual platform.  BUT....for the Etsy environment, I'm not sure it's the answer.  It's easy.  It's a no-brainer.  But, like most easy no-brainer's, it's also kind of, well, dull.

Anyway, I'm trying to find a 'backdrop' that works for my work.  The wood looks good, but the blue and white isn't  working.  Can you tell I've been spending too much time on Etsy.

I know each person has to find the right look.  It's not always that easy; I like the idea of critique and suggestions for  improvements.  

Any comments, experience with etsy, photographing, input.  I like input.  please.  do.  


  1. The wood is nice and is a popular setting on Etsy. Could you tack up a more neutral backdrop for the wall behind to simplify? You might be able to get away with something as inexpensive as matboard.

    Funny. I'm getting ready to move away from my shabby chic-ish background in my shop to the more formal standard :)

  2. hi barbara - funny how that works,huh? I don't know yet. I'm just going to try out some stuff and see. Mostly I think it's not about the background other than how it helps the work do it's thing. ...

    just spending time I guess trying out differnt things. i should probably use my SLR too....ha! I've been using my iphone - don't tell anyone ;-))

  3. I actually think for your work the gray back drop might be the way to go. Your cups have a lot of visual interest already without the distraction of a background. The imagery on your cups should be the thing people are looking at, and my eye is distracted by all of the horizontal lines going on in the back. Maybe use the gray back drop and just a small prop to suggest what could go in the cups, a sliced lemon for lemonade, bottle of tequila?! whatever :)
    I would prop the work and have a neutral background. beautiful cups, by the way!

  4. thanks Tracey - I did get a great suggestion regarding scale the other day. It's hard to get the scale on the vases especially. And you are totally right on the too much horizontal distraction. I am going to spend this weekend rephotographing the work and reposting. Kind of fun, but as you said in earlier post; time SUCK! It does take an insanely long time ;-)

    The only thing about the backdrop is the cream color against the bright white of the gradient - the work has a vintage quality in that color but the white to me translates as dingy. overcritical? likely, but if I'm going to set and photograph all the work again....

    thanks for your input! It's very helpful.

  5. The weathered wood works, but I think you can come up with an easy half dozen temporary backdrops that can convey the feeling of the beach. Time suck is right, but display is really nearly everything.

  6. What I do know is I like the bird beaker photo best because it looks as if I could reach out and pick it up, the other one there is alot going on in the background and it is distracting. On Etsy, I always use the same small props so customers can gauge the size, because even with measurements it is difficult to get an idea of size.
    Your cups are wonderful!