What are some tricks that produce great photographs of jewelry?

When it comes to selling jewelry, it is often said that a picture is one of the best-selling tools that you have.  What are some of the tricks that can you use to produce a fantastic photograph?

There will be times when you produce nothing but blurred, out-of-focus pics, or photos that show the item off-center.  A simple tripod will help you eliminate these problems.

I often use a mannequin arm to highlight the beauty of a bracelet or ring, and a bust or a necklace display.  Another option is to use a real-life model for the jewelry.  This could be your sister, brother, or even one of your children.  This type of display helps the buyer know what the jewelry could look like when they have it on before they purchase it.

Don’t be afraid to play with the settings on a camera.  We all know that digital cameras come with a macro setting.  Make sure to try the settings for night shots, fireworks, or even snow pictures as well.  You never know which setting will show off a piece’s best attributes!

Take a ton of pictures along the way.  Play with the angles of the photograph, and even use the flash of the camera.  You can even put a table lamp near the jewelry near the jewelry to help give the stones in the piece more of a sparkle affect.  What works for me is to use natural daylight.

I even play with the background as well.  If you have something that has a silver tone to it, a dark backdrop behind or underneath it really plays up the shine.  A piece of construction paper can be all the backdrop you need.

Another way that you can make those pictures “pop” is to take a piece of glass (this can be from a picture frame that you are not using anymore) and lay it on top of a piece of colored construction paper—the reflection of the jewelry can be picked up in the glass. There is a product called a light box, which can produce a “halo” effect around something like a pendant.  Instead of investing tons of money on this equipment, a flashlight can come very close to doing the same effect.

So what kinds of tricks do you use to take photos of jewelry?

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DIY TIP: How do you wire a lamp?

You are walking through your favorite flea market or antique mall one day and you see a lamp that would look great in your house or apartment.  You start to look at it to see what kind of shape it’s in, and you notice the cord is frayed.  How do you change it so that you can use the lamp?

The first thing you need to find is a replacement cord.  A local home improvement store will more than likely have a replacement for you.

The next thing that you need to do is to disassemble the light socket so that you can get access to where the cord attaches.

When you get the main cover of the socket off, you will notice that the end of the cord that you are going to replace is held on by a couple of screws.  All you need to do is to unscrew the cord and slide the cord out at the base of the lamp.

A piece of advice: I would look at the socket before I did anything else.  I’ve seen sockets with rust, corrosion and damage to where it would be unsafe to turn the lamp on.  If there’s anything wrong with the socket, it’s a good idea to replace it now.  More often than not, you’ll get a replacement socket when you buy the cord.

Installation of the cord is just as easy as removing it.  The first step is to feed the cord through the lamp in the area where you removed the old one.  When you get the cord all the way through the lamp, leave yourself a little extra room so that you can attach the light socket.

When you purchase a new cord at a home improvement store, it will have the end of the cord already stripped for you so that you can reattach it without having to worry about stripping the wire.  After you get the new cord on, pull on the cord at the bottom of the lamp to remove all of the extra slack that you gave yourself.

After you take out the extra slack in the cord, all you have to do is to put the cover on the light socket.  If I were you, I would put a light bulb in it and plug it in to see if it works after I put the socket cover on.

When it works, you can put on the lamp shade and proudly display your latest find.  What kinds of finds have you run across that needed a little repair work like this?

This is definitely a One-Of-A-Kind item!

I am always on the lookout for things that are unique.  I ran into this extremely cool tray a couple of years ago, and I immediately fell in love with it.

At least 30 years ago, a person in their garage needed a nut and bolt tray.  They reached for the nearest item, which happened to be a Gargoyle Mobiloil 5-quart oil can that was made by the Socony Vacuum Oil Company.

Whoever made this tray really did a good job.  They took their time and rolled the edges so that you won’t get a cut, and the compartments appear to be pretty close to being even as well.  It is insanely well-made and the tray borders on tramp art—you could even call it Garage Art.

When this tray was made, it is obvious that money was extremely tight.  Everything had to either be used until it was worn out or be remade into something else that was just as useful.  That’s how this tray came about.

The skies are the limit when it comes to finding a use for something like this.  It could be used on a desk to hold office supplies; it could hold pocket change and even your car keys.

What kinds of remade items like this have you run across while out shopping?

Three things to consider when you sell items online

When I first started to sell online, there were three things that I found out very quickly.  Here is what I learned:

#1 The price of the item itself needs to be considered.  When I list an item to sell online, what I try to do is to make double on what I paid for the item.  This way I can have a little wiggle room if something happens like paying a little more than expected on something like shipping.

#2 You will be charged listing fees on items you put on selling sites.  On a site like Etsy, they charge a small fee to renew a listing after the item is on the website after a certain amount of time (there is also a fee when you are listing the item for the first time).  You need to watch it like a hawk—this can add up pretty fast and eat into your profits.  After one or two renewals, you need to think about adjusting the price or doing something like taking better pictures.

#3 Packing costs also need to be considered.  The packing costs will include tape, packing peanuts, and potentially the box itself (if you don’t get free boxes from places like the Post Office).  If you do not watch this area very closely, you can completely wipe out any profits if you are not careful.

What have you learned when you started to sell things online?

Year round use for Halloween Costumes

October 31 is for the kids to dress up and become a worst nightmare or even a bright star.  Why should it be over on November 1?  Why not get a large tub or box and fill it with a variety of costumes—superheroes, fantasy beasts, favorite storybook or movie characters—even grown-up dress-up looks.

There are a ton of costumes that you can put in that tub.  It could be a wide variety of character, or they can mix and match pieces.  One of the great costumes that you can use is this great ladybug costume.

ladybug

The great thing about the costume is that the ladybug antenna and wings are not attached to the dress, making this great to mix and match.  You can see it in my eBay store here.  Another costume that you could get is this Iron Man costume.

iron-man

The jumpsuit and the mask are separate pieces so that you can create your own robotic hero or villain!  You can see the great costume in my eBay store here.

Let the kids in your life use them year round—let their imaginations fly.  Perhaps put on plays for the grown-up audience in the house.  Better yet, why not join in on the fun with this great STAR WARS Princess Leia costume.

leia

You can see this terrific STAR WARS costume in my eBay store here.  You can also see all of the costumes in  my ebay store here.

What a great way to let the imagination fly!

What a fun Camp Fire Girls CAMP WAKAHNI Child’s Vest with wooden beads!

camp-wakhani

Not too long ago, I found this terrific handmade Camp Fire Girls CAMP WAKAHNI child’s vest at an estate sale.  The vest dates to about the 1950’s to the 1960’s, and was part of the uniform that you had when you were a Camp Fire Girl.

The great thing about the vest is that it has multi-colored wooden beads in flower shapes on it, and some patches on the back.  You earned the wooden beads for various accomplishments, and then you could sew them on the vest any way you liked.

camp-vest-back

Needless to say, the girl that had this vest was pretty talented!  You can see this great vest in my Etsy store here.

Have you ever run across a fun item like this?

5 ways to dress shop for a formal event

5-ways-to-dress-shop

Here’s some great ideas for when you go shopping for a formal event:

#1-Consider a vintage jumpsuit.  Jumpsuits can be found in just about any pattern so you can find one for just about any occasion.  You can find a great one by Westport LTD here.

#2-Don’t be afraid to go vintage.  Pairing a vintage little black dress with a knockout necklace and earrings that you might already have can make a knockout outfit.

You can even add a pair of cool pumps and a snazzy clutch to make that outfit even better.

#3-Choose an off the rack long evening gown—there are many ways that you could go without breaking the bank, like this one by BETSY & ADAM.  You can add a silk shawl to make the look your own.

#4-A jacket (like this one by CITY GUTMAN) or faux fur coat (like this one) can add just the right touch of elegance on cold nights.

#5-A tuxedo like this one or a dressy pantsuit in a bright color like this will turn heads.  A silk tie and blouse can complete the one-of-a-kind look.

You can find some great formal outfits in my Etsy store here.  You can even find some great jewelry items in my my Etsy store here, and me eBay store here.

What kinds of ideas have you come up with for a formal event?

How do you sell items on the internet that have flaws in them?

How do you go about selling items on the internet that have flaws in them?

This is actually one of the more popular questions that I get asked.  There are several ways to sell an item that has flaws in it, and the first one is the most obvious—sell it as is.  Selling the item like this could be that it can be repaired or restored to original condition.

Another way that you can sell the item is to sell it with another item that is just like the damaged one.  Right now, I have a Fenton match holder that I am selling like this (and you can see the listing here).

SONY DSC

If you have a crafty side, you can turn it into something completely different.  It could be something like a non-functioning kerosene lantern.  You could electrify it and put a retro looking bulb (or even a normal low wattage one) in it.  After you do this, you can display it on a side table or the corner of a desk.  Another idea could be turning a run down book rack that you have around the house into a wine rack.

One thing that I have seen people do is to combine several items together to make something new.  I was at a local flea market shopping when I saw a yard ornament in the shape of a sunflower.  The flower top was made out of a broken plate and recycled scraps of thin wood (the wood came from a broken Coca Cola crate).

No matter how you sell the flawed item, you need to provide plenty of clear pictures.  This way any potential buyer can get a good view of the item.

The other thing that you need to do is to provide a well-written description of the item.  This way the potential buyer knows what’s going on with the piece, and even what you did to it.

How have you sold items that have flaws on them?