Category Archives: Janery

A DIY Backdrop for Large Product Photos

A DIY Backdrop for Large Product Photos

Janery Studio DIY Photo Backdrop Large Products

When you run a handmade business, it’s important to have crisp and clean product photos.  There’s tons of tutorials on creating small lightboxes for products like jewelry, ceramics, or purses.  However, solutions for large products – like my dog beds – are harder to find!

Since I make dog beds and pillows for Janery, a piece of foam core board does not provide a large enough white background.

I’ve been trying to improve my product photos for years, starting with painting the walls of my studio bright white, then buying (affiliate link) this inexpensive studio lighting kit, and then buying a piece of white vinyl to use as a base for products.

With that gear, my setup looked something like this:

Janery Photo Backdrop Lighting Kit

It wasn’t bad, and that vinyl / light combo served me well for the last year.  However, I always had to roll out the vinyl on the table and nudge the table up to the corner to get a good white background.

The cumbersome nature of rolling it out somehow stopped me from taking photos as frequently as I would have liked.  I wanted to create a simpler solution, one that was bigger than the white piece of vinyl.

I came up with the idea to hang a bolt of vinyl on the wall so I could pull it straight down onto the table or floor, and have a seamless transition from horizontal to vertical. The vinyl aspect was important because I could easily brush lint off of it.

Janery Studio DIY Product Photo Backdrop

This weekend Ryan and I finally installed it, using two garage hooks, wood screws, and a large (1.5″) wooden dowel rod – all from Home Depot.  The vinyl is an 8-foot bolt from Fabric.com  The total cost of supplies was about $40.

The garage hooks were an ugly gray, so on a whim, I sanded them to rough the surface, then painted them gold using some gold leaf paint I had on hand.

Janery Studio Fabric Bolt Hook

Pardon the bad lighting, a result of nighttime photos!

I painted the edges of the wooden dowel rod white so that it would look better, not that it really matters.

Janery Studio Photo Backdrop Fabric Bolt Rod

Once the hooks were installed, I slid the bolt of vinyl over the wooden rod and set it on the hooks.  The vinyl can now be pulled down onto the table – or the floor – easily, and rolled right back up when I’m done.

Janery Studio Photo Backdrop White Vinyl Bolt

As a bonus, when I need to cut fabric from a bolt on my DIY bolt rack, I no longer have to roll the rack into the studio.  I simply remove the white vinyl from the wall holder, and put the bolt of whatever I’m cutting on it.

I’m really happy with this solution for both fabric cutting and product photography.  This week I’ll be taking all new product photos for the Janery website, which is actually launching in about a week!

From the Janery Studio: Springtime Pillows

After the beautiful weekend we enjoyed here in Virginia, I think spring has finally arrived for good. On Sunday we had family photos taken at a park, and on Saturday I took Maple and the poodle for a long walk around town. It was so nice to have the baby outside in the fresh air, finally!

I have a few pillows in stock at Janery that always make me think of the warmer months. They’re all made from a linen-cotton blend with the most whimsical outdoorsy prints, some of which I used in Maple’s nursery. When I first discovered this Japanese fabric designer several years ago, I knew her fabrics would be the inspiration for my future child’s nursery.

My square pillows are now available in three sizes – 18″, 20″, 22″ and come with the option to buy just the pillow cover or the cover with a USA-made pillow insert.

Janery Designer Pillow Geo Bird Neutral Invisible Zipper

The Geometric Modern Bird pillow in neutral inspired the mural, but hurry – there’s only one left!

Janery Pillow Geo Bird 2 Grape 1000sq

The Purple Geometric Modern Bird pillow is the same pattern as above, but with springtime colors.

Janery Pillow Forest Creatures 2 Natural 1000sq

And for the animal lovers, the Forest Animal pillow with cheetahs, lemurs, owls, and more creatures.

Janery Pillow Butterfly Cascade 3 1000sq

Finally, there’s only one Butterfly Cascade pillow left, and that makes me so sad! This is a favorite of mine.

Everything in my shop is handmade by me, and the pillow inserts are an awesome faux-down polyester made in a small factory here on the East Coast. 

Janery Update: Overcoming the “perfection procrastination”

It may come as no surprise to my regular readers that my handmade pet bed & pillow business, Janery, took a backseat in my life last year. Sales were lower than even my first year, and I didn’t reach my goals of launching Charlie Cushions or my new e-commerce website.   Family came first, and I don’t regret that.

I actually started to launch my Charlie Cushion dog beds in the fall, but in the process I found I’d made some mistakes with them that could only be fixed by ripping out all the seams and starting over. It was an important lesson in measure twice, cut once!

Janery Charlie Cushion Seam Ripper

There’s been more bumps in the road to launching these waterproof dog beds, but the whole story is a topic for a separate post.

Janery Charlie Cushion Progress Notes

The launch of the new Janery website has also been challenging. I’m struggling with a quest for perfection in the website; a quest which I have now realized has kept me from making enough progress. I told myself I wouldn’t launch it until I had a perfect product line, had launched the Charlie Cushions, and had all new branding and perfect product photos, and the list goes on.

The reason? About two years ago I got the idea in my head that I couldn’t advertise or promote my handmade business until it looked more professional. However, in my first two years, I advertised and promoted my business and had the sales to show it. My photos and back then? Completely amateur and embarrassing.

Oh, the irony.

My blogging friend and neighbor, Sarah, has a great podcast about exactly this type of challenge. The Sarah R. Bagley podcast is focused on “a recovering perfectionist’s guide to a B+ life” – and boy, is that just the kind of advice I need to get Janery to the next step.

While I will always strive to create A+ products at Janery, right now I need to be a little more accepting of a B+ backend to the business if I want to take steps towards growing it.

Janery New Website Draft Screenshot

With this in mind, I’ve been busily uploading my best product photos to the new website, and working with my graphic designer to get all the elements in place for a late April launch date. Once the site is live and the Charlie Cushions are really launched, I’ll go about upgrading the site to A+, one step at a time.