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Home Page > Ideas & Instructions > How to Photograph Jewelry    
   
With a simple digital camera and a clean area, you can create a small home photography studio that will be great for photographing small objects like bracelets, necklaces, earrings and other crafts.
 
Photographing Your Jewelry

Here are some helpful tips if you plan and selling your jewelry online and need to have high quality photographs.

Your photography needs to be the best representation of your work and should capture the unique details of your jewelry and showcase your design talent.

If you often sell your handmade creations at festivals and markets, create a photo album for customers to peruse.

Documenting your work is important in may ways. First, it is a way to record your ideas in case you ever need to recreate a piece that you no longer have to copy. If you resell your jewelry, photographs that positively represent your work will go a long way in marketing your products. In addition, having a simple photo album of all your work will provide you with inspiration for future pieces and be a great way to showcase your talent to customers.

Photographing your jewelry does not have to involve a lot of work space and expensive equipment. Yes, better tools and equipment will yield the higher quality results, but we have some tips to help you create a basic home studio that can suit most of your needs such as website images, online auctions, small prints, email, and printed literature.

Digital Camera - The method of how you will be printing or sharing your photos will determine the megapixel requirement. Most common uses are for websites and emailing and small scale prints. You do not have to have the latest camera, just learn how to use your camera well and you may be surpised at the pleasing results. Helpful features to master are the macro mode, white balance and the timer. In our studio, we use both a 5 megapixel point and shoot digital camera and a 10 megapixel DSLR camera. All the images above were all shot with a 5 megapixel digital camera.

Lighting - The best lighting for photographing jewelry is even, diffused lighting. Insufficient lighting will cause underexposure and loss of detail and poor color interpretation. Diffuse natural light can work very well, but avoid bright direct sunlight or artificial light as it will cause glare, dark shadows and too much contrast, all these can also contribute to loss of details and poor color interpretation. You can purchase or build a light tent what will help diffuse and distribute your lighting. Visit your local photography hobby shop for lights and a light tent set up. In our studio, we use 4 simple clamp lights with 60 watt incandescent bulbs - simple and inexpensive!

Background - Set up a small table studio by using a small, clean white table top that has little reflection. You can photograph your pieces directly on this surface or create more elaborate and colorful backdrops by using fabrics, decorative paper, flowers and other items. Fabrics provide a soft, non-reflective surface on which your jewelry can be photographed. Choose fabrics that have an even, smooth texture, and avoid furry or heavily textured fabrics (such as felt, fleece or terry cloth), unless for artistic purposes.

Small pieces like bracelets and earrings that can be photographed flat can just be set on a flat background. If you need a backdrop that continues vertically, hang fabric on a vertical surface. Allow the fabric to curve downward as it transitions from vertical to horizontal to avoid a horizontal line (a horizontal line would appear if the fabric has a sharp fold).

Don't be afraid to get creative with your backdrops. Skim magazines and catalogs for ideas. Feel free to experiment with different types of fabrics, paper backgrounds, jewelry stands, flowers and other decorations based on the style of each individual piece of jewelry. Reflective backgrounds such as plexi glass or porcelain can be used, just be aware of unwanted reflections (in this situation, a light tent is very helpful). Be sure to take test shots as the camera sees differently than the naked eye.

Software - Photo editing software is helpful for minor touch-ups, cropping and re-sizing of images.

Educate Yourself - It would be helpful to get a basic digital photography book or take a class at your local community school to learn basic technical information, image composition and other basic principles.

View Angles - depending on the size and style of the jewelry piece and how you will be using your pictures, you may shoot your jewelry at different angles. Experiment with different angles to see how different angles will portray your jewelry. Again, skim magazines and catalogs for ideas.

More Tips
A telescoping tripod is a great investment. A tripod will keep your hands free and also help eliminate camera shake and improve the clarity of your photos.

You may also want to get a light meter which will help determine if you have enough lighting to produce good images. If you want to manipulate the manual settings on your camera, a light meter will help you determine how to set your camera.

It is better to always shoot your pictures at the highest resolution and reduce them as needed using photo editing software. Lower resolution images may appear pixilated or blurry if you decide to enlarge them afterwards.

 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
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