This is how the magic happens...

March 23, 2014

The Gillian Neal photo studio

At Gillian Neal we don't have much of a budget for marketing or product photography, we do everything ourselves.

How do we decide what jewellery we feature in our collections?  

Well, just like the other Designers and Artisans, we take a look at what is on the trend horizon.  But as our new vision suggests, we interpret these trends in ways that we would personally want to wear. Which is why we don't launch our collections specifically by season.  You'll rarely see a Winter, Summer, Fall, or Spring collection from Gillian Neal because our jewellery and other designs are intended to be modern classics that will never go out of style, and can be worn through ALL seasons.  

What happens after we create our designs?

One of the key components to getting our collections online are pictures. Photography is not my favorite task, and I am by no means a professional photographer.  I can't tell my f-stop from my ISO, so I usually rely on my trusty point and shoot digital camera to figure it all out.  And you can probably see that the photographs aren't the greatest...

I use two cameras, one is a Canon Elph (an old one at that).  I can hear those professional photographers groaning right now. The other is Lumix camera that allows for a bit more control (although like I said, I rarely touch the settings).  

My number ONE frustration is lighting.  I struggle with trying to set up the shot with the best possible lighting.  I've learned that the best light is natural light, so I set up the shoot by a big window. Without the aid of photo studio lighting, its tough.  I can only take my photos in the daytime.  In Vancouver when it's always dark and rainy, most of the time, it's just not bright enough to take proper photos, even at high noon.  I watch the weather forecast and hope for bright day.

I can often take hundreds of photos.  Once the photos are taken, I review the shots, and select the ones I want to use online.  Next,  I do a bit of correction in Photoshop (mostly to brighten the shot and adjust the levels) so that photo reflects the item's true colours. Most of the time the camera captures it quite well anyway so not too much correction is required.  

Overall, photography and image correction takes a few days (and many cups of tea).  I really admire professional photographers for their skill, knowledge and patience.  Until the day comes when I can (gladly) hand over the photography reigns to a professional, I'll have to make do with my mini photo studio and unpredictable Vancouver weather! 

So that's how the magic happens at  Hope you enjoyed the look behind the curtain.  It's messy back here.

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