Thursday, May 10, 2012

Taking Pictures of Your Handmade Jewelry

Fire and Water Sterling Silver Small Cuff Bracelet by Stacie Florer

I'm often surprise at the number of jewelry artists who find photographing their work so difficult. No doubt it is a continual learning experience, but you needn't be a professional photographer or have a very expensive camera or Photoshop to make your jewelry shine in pictures.

Here are some simple tips to get started:


1) Learn about your camera. 

-A simple point and shoot digital camera that has a macro option will more than get you started. Read your manual and learn about your camera.

A higher number of megapixels will allow you to get larger and more detailed photos.

2) Select a background that compliments your style of jewelry. 

-Your background shouldn't be too distracting and should have a matte finish. Avoid reflective surfaces like glass or china, or fabric that has a sheen to it until your become more comfortable with your camera and skills.

-Plain white backgrounds are always appealing but if you're inexperienced, it can become frustrating and difficult to achieve a well lit white background.

3) Use correct lighting.

-Natural outdoor light will provide the best and most immediate results. The best most even light is generally achieved early in the morning or late in the afternoon, after the bright sun has past.

-Avoid taking photographs in bright sun as this may cause a glare or harsh shadows on your work.

-Avoid using artificial light such as household lighting as this will cast a yellow or blue light to your work and not represent the most true picture of your work.

4) Learn to edit your photos. 

-Once you've photographed your work, it may be necessary to crop and LIGHTLY correct your images in a photo editing software. There are many free versions of photo editing software such as Picasa as well as online programs such as Pixlr and iPiccy. Your camera may have even come with a photo editing software!

-The best photographs should need little adjustment. If you're spending too much time correcting the contrast and brightness in your photos, keep adjusting your setup in different lights to find the best lighting.

How do you take your best photos? Do you have any tips for taking the best photographs of your jewelry?

11 comments:

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I'm one of those people who struggle with taking picture of jewelry. I think it is more of my mindset than anything. Like I did when I first started taking pictures of beads, I tend to take LOTS of pictures to come up with a couple that I find acceptable. I'm going to keep at it until I can take just a few to get it right like I can when taking pics of beads. I'd love to know what other do so I hope we get some sharing.
MaryAnn

stacilouise said...

A good camera is key! I just got a new one recently, and can't belive how high the megapixels are now. However, I choose one with less (10mp) because they are better in low light, no flash, which is mostly what I use. When you get up to 15mp they tend to lose detail in low light shots.

stacilouise said...
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Libby Leuchtman said...

Great post. Pictures are so important. I know when I see great photos of peoples work I tend to spend more time on looking at there work wither it's Etsy or pictures on Facebook.
Thanks for the site recommendations. I am lost without Picnik!

Kim said...

I struggle with taking pictures of my jewelry. I've never been good with a camera. I use my husband's camera, which is a great camera but I am never happy with my pictures. Hubby is great at taking pictures, but he works nights so he's usually not home when I need them taken.

Izzy said...

Great advice!

Julie Holmes said...

Wonderful post! I struggle with photos too, but found that mine get better as I learn my camera better. It's not even considered a great one anymore. I think it is an 8 megapixel digital SLR which would now be considered obsolete. Still...it gets the job done!

Roberta said...

My biggest problem seems to be with the background. White is too white. Grey works well for me but oh so boring. Props? never can seem to get comfortable with any of them....a constant battle.

Stacie Florer said...

Wow! It's really late tonight and I am just getting over here to read the latest...and how nice it is to see my bracelet! I use a light box, that is completely homemade (clear plastic bin with copy paper taped around it to diffuse the light) and I set it in front of my sliding glass door. I use natural light. I use a Panasonic Lumix 14mg point and shoot...and clean it up in Flickr. Loved Picnik...but have to find something else now. I usually photograph on copy paper. You have to be careful about it turning grey...but I adjust the brightness later. My style is constantly evolving, as now I am preoccupied with shooting my jewelry with one neat rock that I find or purchase at all the rock shops between the Appalachians and the Ozarks...Thank you Barbara for using my bracelet!

Barbara said...

WOW! What great results you are getting with that home made set up Stacie! I'm fortunate that since I'm in Florida, I have the luxury of usually just shooting outside in the overhang of my roof, to avoid the bright sun.

I also use a 12.1mp Sony Cybershot Zeiss point and shoot, which is about 2 years old. It has 3x optical zoom? and that enable me to get in very close, almost too close as it often picks up pieces of clay dust I can't see!

mairedodd said...

wonderful post, barbara! i have a simple little camera as well... i get in trouble because i have too much fun with that aspect and it can eat up loads of time... you'd think i was doing beauty shots of people...

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