Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick Photo Enhancement Tutorial

The wonderful thing about Etsy is how supportive people are. There are a lot of helpful forums for generic discussions on selling crafts, supplies and vintage, guides to help newbies get started and loads more. When ever I've encountered a problem on Etsy, be it pricing, pictures, new banner etc, I've always found people on the forums extremely helpful and happy to be of service. I have recieved so much help through the forums I am myself extremely happy if I can pass on any nuggets of info to someone else in need.
Handmade Beaded Necklace

Yesterday I came across a lovely lady, Terri Richard, in one of the forums and we soon engaged in a very lengthy conversation about improving one's photos. Terri lives in Newton, North Carolina and makes wonderful unique jewelry. Due to her disability she is unable to be in the workforce, so her Etsy shop, Havenwood  is a good possible source of income for her and her husband Bill (who judging by the way she talks about him is an angel sent to earth).

After just a few convo's my heart had warmed up to her, she's a true trooper and has overcome a lot! In effort to try help her out with her shop I took one of her pics and thought I'd share how she can improve it in a matter of seconds. As this is as simple as 1-2-3, I thought I'd share this nugget with my dear blog readers too. I'm by no means a pro, but here's a quick tip on how to get your white background even whiter.

Before you start, check if your camera has a "set white balance" function, most cameras do. White balance (WB) is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. If you don't and you have a picture you've taken against a white background but that does not look white on your photo here's how you can tweak the picture using pixlr, a free online photo editor.

1) Go to and open a picture you wish to work on

2) Go to "Adjustment" and select "Curves"

3) Grab the curb and drag it up.

You will see pretty quickly which way to drag it in order to achieve desired effect. Don't over-do it, always make sure that the item you have photographed looks natural. If you can't get the background to desired shade of white without distorting the other colors, go take a better picture and use plenty of natural light!

4) Save.

See the difference? It's a small, but significant change, and all in a matter of seconds.
Handmade Beaded Necklace - before
Handmade Beaded Necklace - after

Handmade Beaded Dangle Earrings - after
Handmade Beaded Dangle Earrings- before

Handmade Peace Sign Earrings - before

Handmade Peace Sign Earrings - after

Hope this helps Terri or anyone else willing to get their white backgrounds look crisp and clear with a flick of the wrist :)

All featured jewelry on this blog post from Terri and Bill's shop at published with their permission.


  1. I have agonized over Pixlr and Gimp and just can't get them to work like that for me. Maybe because I have a mental block when it comes to photography.

    I keep going back to Picnik and am panicking because their shut-down date is looming ever closer. And I ended up using FotoFuze because I couldn't get my backgrounds white any other way.

  2. That's funny, cause all I've found Picnik any use for is rotating the image, a feature unfortunately missing on Pixlr. But to each their own, I guess :)