Case Study: Jewelry Retouching
How an innovative jewelry designer in Portland, Oregon creates hundreds of images per month for its growing eCommerce business
Chinchar Maloney, a Portland, Oregon jewelry designer of heirloom quality, handcrafted pieces needed an affordable and fast way to get their product shots retouched and edited for its eCommerce site.
As most jewelry designers can relate, juggling the many responsibilities of owning and operating a small business can be overwhelming at times. With a growing eCommerce business, it was getting more and more challenging to keep up with all of the product photography needs of the website. Hiring a professional photographer was out of the question due to the associated costs coupled with the inconveniences of having to ship pieces to a third party studio. Doing in-house photography made economic sense and also had a time-to-market advantage, but getting the high quality images that the website required to convert visitors into customers was no small feat.
These are only some of the issues that Marian Maloney of Chinchar Maloney Jewelers in Portland, Oregon was dealing with when she started her ecommerce jewelry business in 2010. Like so many jewelry designers, Marian purchased a jewelry lightbox, a DSLR camera, and a tripod, so that she could start to take her own photos. While it was convenient to capture images whenever new pieces were released, the quality of the images that Marian was able to produce just wasn’t good enough for her business needs.
After about 6 years of taking photos and retouching them herself, Marian realized that the quality of the images didn’t look as good as those of her competitors. Frustrated with the poor quality she was producing coupled with the fact that retouching was taking up so much of her time, Marian decided it was time to outsource her image editing. Marian had several requirements for the company she was going to hire and, in order of priority, her list included:
- A US Based company with telephone support during her business hours
- A company with expertise in jewelry photography that could help her identify ways of improving her studio setup. Specifically, her lightbox was creating very intense hot spots on the jewelry and there were many blown-out areas and very deep shadows in her images
- High quality jewelry retouching
- Next day turn around
- Affordable Rates
In September of 2016, Marian landed on the Picsera website and she started her Picsera business relationship the way most clients do, by requesting a FREE trial. She filled out the online registration form and then she uploaded her images. Ten minutes later she received a call from David Sinai, Picsera’s owner.
During the conversation, David asked Marian to take a few pictures of the lightbox and camera set up with her iPhone. David noticed a few issues with the lightbox as well as the camera settings. After making a few adjustments to the camera and the lights, the quality of the files Marian was able to produce improved dramatically as the main problem of overexposing the highlights was solved. Marian decided to reshoot her test images and she also sent a reference image in order to help the Picsera retouchers understand her desired style of editing.
The trial was completed and the results were exactly what Marian was trying to achieve.
Four years later, Chinchar Maloney continues to count on Picsera for all of their photo editing needs. The workflow is evenly split: Chinchar shoots their latest designs about 2 to 3 times per week and then uploads their images through the Picsera website. Sixteen to twenty-four hours later retouched images are delivered via email.