Friday, March 25, 2011

Photographing Jewellery

* Photographing Jewellery *

Photographing jewelry is NOT easy.  It's tiny, sparkly, reflects everything and a little shake of the hand makes your pictures fuzzy as all heck.  My first jewellery photos were a nightmare.  Hours of painstaking effort for blurry pictures with terrible colour that made my best work look like crap.

I took my jewellery outside, on the deck, on the outdoor table, inside, on the desk, on the floor even!  I changed the settings, I used a flash, I took off the flash, I changed the ISO, manual, automatic, shutter speed, you name it!  I even got out my extended snap button so I wouldn't shake the camera when I clicked the pic.  Nothing worked! 

Here are some of my original jewellery pics....

These were some of the "better" pictures from my first attempts.  As you can see, they still suck! 

So, after much cussing I decided that something needed to be done!  No one would ever look twice at my jewellery with pictures like this! 

Having gone back to university for my Master's degree, money was tight.  However, after digging through my change box and hunting around in all of my winter coat pockets (does anybody else do that?) and scrounging around for change that fell into the sofa cushions I managed to put together enough money to buy a light box.  It's not the best-of-the-best by any means.  However, as a start-up business, it was enough to meet my needs by combining efficiency, a decent price and a nice small pack-up size since I work from home and don't have a full studio to store all of my equipment yet!

I chose the Optex Portable Photo Studio & Lighting Kit (OSLKIT) which was selling for about $120 although I recommend you do some shopping around as the price can range by around $30!

This kit is very handy.  It is super easy to use and folds up to a nice convient size.  While the light bulbs are not quite bright enough and you may still need to fiddle around a bit, the Optex kit is invaluable to jewelry artists on a budget.  Combine it with a few simple props, a decent camera and a tripod and you're laughin'.

Here are some of the photos taken post OSLKIT:

Can you see the difference?  I sure can.  It is SO much easier to photograph silver, gold and gemstones now that I have the Optex light box.  I still get frustrated from time-to-time but the improvement to my jewellery pictures is undeniable.

Here are a few other tips to get you started:

- Forget photographing on a black background.  It just doesn't work.  Stick to white, grey or a some solid colour that does not detract from your pieces. 
- Keep it simple.  The focus is your jewelry so try not to clutter the pictures you take with too many decorative items. 
- Try to take detailed pictures of your work so that you can display each piece from different angles.  This way, the client knows exactly what they are getting.
- If you are able to post more than one picture of the piece, it's nice to let your clients know the size of the item. To indicate size, place a coin or a ruler beside your work.  If it's a ring, take a picture of the ring on your hand.  Just hold your hand in the light box and try not to shake! 
- Use a photo editor.  Your digital pics might still need a bit of fiddling with and a photo editor will do the trick and allow you to add a logo.  I don't have a photo editor right now as my computer died and everything needs replacing and updating but it's definitely on my list!

Still feeling the budget pinch?  You can start by making your very own light box.  Check this video out by A & R Pythons - he photographs snakes!  Yes SNAKES!  Yikes!  Anyway, the concept is the same and the snake videos - while they freak me out - are kinda fun!

Have fun!

- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

Optex Portable Photo Studio & Lighting Kit – OSLKIT


No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts by commenting!