A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of my homemade photography lightbox on Facebook and it generated a lot of comments. I want to share with you what my process is for photographing my jewelry for the web and print work.
I'm a frugal kind of gal. I try to make do with what I have around the house before I go out and spend money on something already fabricated. So here is the gist of my system.
I use a clear plastic storage bin as a light box. I take single sheets of copy paper and use clear tape to enclose the box as shown below. This acts as a diffuser, and allows the light to bounce around the bin in a more uniform manner.
I position my light box in front of a window, or depending on the weather and light situation; I take it outside and put it on my porch. I love taking jewelry shots in a bright, overcast sky. Direct light is not the best, as it tends to wash out your subject matter. As you can see, this is pretty much the set up. It's portable, and I have plenty of room to put my props in.
I keep my props simple. I want people to focus on the jewelry, not the props. I have been using light backgrounds and I have a collection of rocks that I use from time to time to add a little pizazz to the photograph.
Here is the editing process I do...
First, I take the shot. As you can see, the photo below is the raw image. No editing at all so far. With the light box, that is still a pretty good raw shot. The lighting is nice and diffused. But I need to gussy it up a bit. I usually shoot much closer then this, using my macro setting on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150. I use the automatic setting usually, and it automatically puts it in Macro. If you have a digital camera, your macro setting should look like a flower on your choice of buttons. It's a point and shoot camera that I've had for a few years now. Still does the job and it only cost me 200 bucks.
Once it is uploaded, I then edit it. I have developed my own sort of preferences as far as styling my photographs. I like the torn paper look as far as a frame. They have loads of options, so again, just play around and do what appeals to you.
The photo below is the same one as above, but I have just processed it so it's ready for prime time. I prefer to crop square because I know I will using my photos on Etsy, and since they crop square, it's just easier for me to do it before I upload. I use the Contrast button, never the Auto Adjust in Photobucket. Auto Adjust nine times out of ten looks terrible. I may brighten it up a bit, then use the Contrast button to make it pop. Again, I usually get in really close so I don't have to crop it so much, but I wanted you to really see what you can do with a raw photo using a light box.
This is usually how close I get in...and for post earrings, I find photographing them with a sandwich board piece of paper shows them off the best.
Now, for collages, like the one yesterday, I download the photos onto my computer and then go over to www.picmonkey.com and use their collage feature. Sometimes I use collages on my blog, and Picmonkey has a great Facebook and Pinterest collage that is really fun to use too. Their Facebook collage is made to fit perfectly on your Facebook Page and I use it on my Soul to Substance and personal Facebook both.
I hope this helps you some as far as figuring out your photography issues...you don't have to have an expensive set up at all to photograph and distribute your work. If you have more questions, I will be back on here tonight. I will be out today, helping my father buy a river boat!