You asked for it, so here it is – a very special photography edition of Tuesday Tips and Tricks! I’ve consulted our fabulous FusionBeads.com photographers, Joysha, Devin and Chrissy, and they have given me TONS of valuable information that will help you take amazing photographs of your own jewelry! Follow these tips, from choosing your setting, laying out your jewelry, setting up your camera, to taking your photo, and you will be shooting photos like the pros!
1. Picking the setting for your photo:
- Always use natural lighting – not a flash! You can set up for your photograph outside as long as there is no direct sunlight on your jewelry. (The bright sun will wash out the color of your photo). Early morning or early evening are the best times to take photographs outdoors.
- Even more preferable than shooting outside is to set up indoors, next to a window. If the sunlight is too bright even indoors, you can use a sheer white curtain, bed sheet, pillowcase, or even a paper towel or coffee filter to put between your jewelry and the window. This will diffuse some of the light so that it’s not too harsh. If you’re finding that you’re getting harsh shadows because the sunlight is only hitting one side of your jewelry, you can prop a white poster board up on the side of the jewelry opposite the window. This will allow light to come in the window and bounce off of the poster board onto your jewelry!
- You can take photographs of your jewelry using artificial light, however you’ll want to play around with positioning your lights as jewelry often needs a balance of light and shadows to catch each facet on the beads in the piece. Try to use a light bulb that produces white light, rather than yellow light, as you want to maintain the integrity of your jewelry’s color in the photograph. If you use OttLights when you design jewelry, they will work perfectly, since OttLight bulbs are designed to show off the true color of your jewelry. (You can buy OttLights here)
2. Laying out your jewelry:
- Use a solid, or non-distracting colored background, to lay your jewelry onto. This could be fabric, paper, or wallpaper that has a solid color or a pattern that won’t distract the eye from your jewelry. Using a background with texture helps add more dimension to the photograph without taking focus away from the jewelry. Some backgrounds will work for certain jewelry pieces and not others, so make sure to lay out your jewelry on each background to find out if it works. A gunmetal necklace will blend into a dark background, but sterling silver jewelry will pop when you lay it on a dark surface. It’s all about trial and error!
- If you need a prop in the photo, make sure you keep it simple! You’re trying to showcase the jewelry, not the prop, so make sure its function in the photo is to make the jewelry stand out. Many people like to use drinking glasses or coffee mugs to hang earrings on, and it’s very common to drape jewelry on vintage books (open and closed). If you’re taking photographs outside, you can take advantage of nature by hanging your jewelry on tree branches.
3. Setting up your camera:
- You don’t need an expensive camera to shoot photographs of your jewelry; you just need to know how to work with what you’ve got!
- Every photograph that you take of your jewelry is going to be close up, so you will absolutely need to put your camera on it’s macro setting. On your camera, there is a button that looks like this: Click on this button, so that you can take close up shots of your jewelry.
- As I mentioned earlier, you will never want to use a flash when photographing jewelry, so you will want to click on this button until you see this . That means that the flash is turned off.
- Now you’re ready to take photos!
4. Taking the photograph:
- Unless you plan to use a program to crop your photos later, you’ll want to make sure that your camera is zoomed in fairly close to the jewelry. If you zoom in too close, however, the camera will be unable to focus on the jewelry. To make sure that your camera focuses on the jewelry rather than the background, point the camera at the jewelry and press the shutter release (the button that you press to take the photo) halfway down and the camera will automatically focus. Most point and click cameras have this capability.
- If there is a focal on your jewelry (an outstanding pendant, for example), try focusing only on that part of the jewelry so that the rest of the piece either fades into the background or is cropped out of the photograph. Remember, you can lay out the jewelry in a variety of ways so that you can take multiple photographs of each unique feature on the piece.
- If you find that your photos are turning out blurry, your camera may be too close to the jewelry or you may be moving too much when you take the photograph. Many people push the shutter release with vim and vigor, but you want to make sure that you press slowly and firmly so that you don’t shake the camera when you press the button. If these tips don’t help, you may want to consider using a tripod to keep your camera still.
I hope that these guidelines help you with your personal jewelry photography! If you have any other helpful tips, please feel free to leave a comment on this post to let us know what works for you!
Happy Tuesday! – Sara