So when and why are modeled shots useful? While I do believe the primary photo in any jewelry or fashion listing should be a detailed shot of the product itself, modeled shots can show how a product wears. Instead of an inanimate object, the piece becomes part of a scene. When worn on a model, there's an understanding of the mood a seller intends with their work when they create a scene in which it is worn. Ultimately, it tells a story.
I've learned, however, it's not always practical to have every piece of jewelry modeled. It can, in fact, be a financial burden on small business. While I am a photography enthusiast at best, I am lucky to have the gear and experience to take decent photos without hiring a professional photographer. But this came at its own expense via an artistic interest of mine (as any hobby would). I am also lucky to have beautiful nieces who are open to (affordable) compensation for photo shoots. So, I understand this can be a prohibitive expense to many... to myself even! I believe in real compensation for the time any model provides, and would never utilize that time without compensation, relation or not. Therefore, it's not practical (neither in time nor money) to have every piece of jewelry modeled. Bartering, however, is also an excellent method by which new jewelry designers or sellers can pair with new photographers or models to add to a business brand.
So, you don't have the resources to have every piece modeled? Never fear! I'm a firm believer that a single one-hour life-style shoot, shared on your selling platform as a website cover photo, for instance, can complete the picture of your business without the necessity for a modeled shot in every product listing. It's a one-time expense I personally believe to be as important to a brand as a monthly subscription to the provider of a website or selling platform, or to the manufacturer of business cards.
With all this said, as long as you've defined your brand, have a clear understanding of the mood or tone your wish to evoke through your work, and know your market, you can certainly have a successful shop without modeled jewelry.
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