Tuesday Tips and Tricks Special Photography Edition!

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

27 comments to Tuesday Tips and Tricks Special Photography Edition!

  • Samantha H.

    Thank you! That was so helpful!

  • Serena

    Thank you so much for these tips, they could’t have come at a better time. I have plans to photograph my jewelry tomorrow in preparation for my website. Once again, THANK YOU!!

  • Lyssie

    Thank you thank you thank you! Photography pointers in plain English for people who aren’t photographers with million dollar cameras! Thank you, again!!!!!!!!

  • Diane

    Thank you! Looking forward to better photos from now on!

  • So excellent. I love any tip to make our creations look better. Thanks so much. Melinda Jernigan http://mpdesignsjewelry.com

  • Amy

    Thank you. Your advice comes just in time for selecting photos for a jewelry chow postcard.

  • Kathy

    Wow, right down to the setting symbols on my camera! Thank you so much for this valuable information.

  • Ann

    Thanks for such useful photo tips! I have found daylight bulbs work awesome for indoor photos, and scrapbook papers are great for different backgrounds!

  • Patti

    Thank you so much for all your great tips.

  • Pat DeJesu

    Thank you, Sara. I found this very helpful. However, I noticed you said to lay the jewelry on a colored background. So do you not recommend a all white background? Also, when I have used white, I notice it comes out looking gray. Any suggestions?


  • Lavanya

    Many tnx for the info.. I was having a tough time taking pics that were not satisfactory and looked so amateurish… And finally like a fairy u solved my prob..

  • Donna Marie

    The photography tips are very helpful.

  • This is a very helpful post for those of us who need all the tips and tricks they can find! Thanks!

  • Thanks for the great tips. I figured some of them out through trial and error but the rest just made it that much better! I will post your blog on my blog. Take a look at mine (it’s only a couple of months old) and see it is something you will post on yours.

  • You made digital photography for jewelry a lot easier for me with these tips. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for this post. Well explained tips.

    I will try to get a piece of wallpaper as a background, see what difference that will make.


  • Regena

    What great tips Sara. I have always been a “wanna-be” when it comes to photo’s…thinking I need a better camera, but before I do that I will use your great tips to see if it is even worth spending big money! I am in the process of developing a website…but am totally stuck so won’t but the website address down at this time.

    Thank you for the tips.

  • I do accept as true with the many ideas you have introduced as part of your publish. These are persuading and definitely will definitely perform. However, a blogposts have become brief for novices. Might you please increase these individuals a tad from next time? Was looking for write-up.

  • How’s things, nice site but there is a problem whereby on occassion I get sent back to the main page when I look at other pages within this page.

  • Carol Dillman

    I photograph lampwork beads. How can you eliminate the reflection in the beads, particularly on black beads? Also some colors just refuse to come out true. Ideas? I photograph mostly outside in the shade of my porch.

  • Thanks for these important reminders for photographing jewelry. And if I may offer the next step…there are a couple of great free photo editing sites on the web. If you don’t have a favorite already, I would suggest trying Picmonkey! Love it! So easy to use and it really sharpens and enhances my amateur shots for publishing jewelry photos on my blog.

  • Thanks so much for the great tips! I’m just starting to make jewelry to sell and needed some help with my photos. I’m off to give it a whirl… :)

  • Gen

    I find setting the timer for 2 seconds gives me enough time to steady me hands.

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