Getting Your Friends to Model Your Jewelry

by Alyson Garvey.

Blue quartz and 14k goldfill earrings by Alyson Garvey.

When I began making jewelry several years ago, I never knew it would explode into such an incredible, profitable side-business.

Most of my revenue comes from several yearly craft shows, selling in a few local boutiques, and sending eye-catching postcards to people on my mailing list for each show.

However, nothing seems to work better than friends who wear my jewelry.

Keishi pearl necklace by Alyson Garvey, displayed on a flower and modeled by a friend.

More than anything, I enjoy hearing all the compliments I receive from family and friends who wear my jewelry every day.

Loading them down with business cards they can pass on as well as my email address seems to cause more buzz than anything.

Furthermore, when I began developing my Etsy shop, I put my beautiful girlfriends to work. Wearing my pieces, they were more than happy to pose for pictures.

As a small designer, I “paid” them with my jewelry for their time and effort. A picture of a female at the front of your website tends to draw more attention and keep people looking through the site.

Hand-hammered hoop necklace by Alyson Garvey, displayed on a bed of gemstones and modeled by a friend.

I was blessed that I also knew an amateur photographer friend, Judith Black, who took the pictures of my models at no cost.

The pictures don’t have to be a big production. Some of the most elegant jewelry photos I’ve seen are taken outside in nature, among the elements.

If you’ve become skilled with photographing your jewelry, there’s nothing stopping you from taking a few friends and your jewelry, and traipsing out to a local creek or park to take some fun jewelry photos. If nothing else, you’ll have a great time.

Good luck!

Alyson Garvey
Alyson Garvey Jewelry Designs

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  • Leanne says:

    Beautiful website, jewelry, and models. I’m wondering, though, if there is any feedback about something being worn before it is bought. I’ve heard comments in the past about individuals who don’t care for this when it is a one of a kind item. Personally, I love the look on a model, but am a bit concerned.

    Thanks so much.

  • Hi Leanne! You’re right – that can definitely be a matter of concern.

    We have an interesting conversation about models wearing jewelry here – Using Live Models When Photographing Jewelry – Yes or No?.

    And we have a related discussion on whether customers should be able to try on pierced earrings: Trying on Earrings – What Should the Rule Be?.

    I hope this helps – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on those discussions! 🙂

  • Sarah Reid says:

    I have used a dressmakers form to photograph my jewelry on since I rarely have the use of a live model. It works well to represent how the piece will look when worn. I have used live models for pieces that I create more than once. The live model photos look great though and have a warmth that the dressmakers form doesn’t. Its a tough call!

  • Today I bought a dressmaker’s form to use for photographing my jewelry and to take to Shows with me (If there is enough room in the car!). I Plan to dress “Myrtle” in a basic top of white.

  • Anita says:

    I take pictures of people customers who have purchased my jewelry and have it in an album….and I say….if you would like a “sister” piece, let me know, I would be happy to make you your own version of this necklace. Here is my album of happy jewelry people…

  • Liz Juneau says:

    I love taking photos of customers wearing their jewelry purchases. Usually, it has been just a snapshot with my camera. I even wrote a blogpost about it with pics from some of my customers who let me share their happy faces –

  • Hi Alyson, Now You know the untapped reservoir of free models! LOL our friends and family are always more than happy to dress up. You might be surprised who would enjoy being a model for a day, like ol’ Grampa? :^)

    Years ago when I used to do freelance hair and makeup for friends in art school, we definitely worked with ‘free’ or barter models all the time. Most of the time people are more than happy to help for free. It’s something new for them to do, and exciting. Plus they get a great portrait of themselves out of it!

    Now with so many apps all you need to do is focus your camera and shoot, so being a trained professional isn’t super necessary but experience with your camera does help.

    The more familiar you are with lighting and how your camera responds to certain types of light the easier it will get to have great photos.

    tip: if the lights are too harsh on your model just add a screen in front of your light, like white tissue paper. It will soften any glare, like from an oily nose etc… lol Just make sure your tissue doesn’t catch fire. I use high power LED bulbs in the cheap metal utility clamp lights, and tape either tissue or printer paper over the bulbs. It depends how soft you need to go.

    makeup tip: if your models makeup is melting under the warm lights you can blot off the oils by laying a tissue over the face and gently pressing the tissue against the face. Don’t wipe the tissue, keep in place and press, then peel it off gently. Then your models makeup looks freshly applied without caking on too much cosmetics.

    Thanks for sharing your tips,

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