Editing your jewelry photographs

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Ok, so you've taken some great shots of your jewelry using some of the tips I mentioned in my earlier blog post, Photographing Your Jewelry but even the best pictures can use some extra help with photo editing software.

First of all, I would advise against any computer editing that makes your jewelry look different than it actually is. Don't alter the color any more than necessary to make the photograph accurate to life. Remember that your photographs will look different on a different computer, particular if your computer is a mac and the photo is viewed on a pc.

That being said, there are some basic corrections you can make to your photographs to make them look better and more professional, without giving your viewers a false sense of what your work is like. My editing process generally uses two programs and goes in three steps.

Step One: I upload all of my photographs (I like to photograph my jewelry in one lump to get it all done at once) and organize them into folders. Once this is done I do an innitial swipe to delete all of the blurry pictures, poorly composed or poorly lit pictures. As you become more comfortable and familiar with taking pictures of your jewelry there should be fewer of the these.
Step Two: I open the remaining pictures in Window Life Photo Gallery - formerly Windows Photo Editor. It's a nifty program with a lot of new accessories since it came out with Windows Vista. If you have Windows 7, this program will not have come automatically with your computer, however, you can download it for free at via Windows Live. It's seriously worth it. I do my basic editing - adjust lighting, heighten contrast, and cropping. At this stage I'm mostly concerned with composition and cutting down my photos. You don't need a million pictures of one pair of earrings. Be really selective and chose your best 5 or 6.
Step Three: Once I've narrowed it down to 5 or 6 photos, I edit them in GIMP. I like to refer to GIMP as Photoshop on steroids. It's completely free and easy to use. I use GIMP to fine tune the pictures, check color accuracy and tweaking brightness/contrast until I am 100% satisfied. Then I just re-name the pictures to match the piece of jewelry and tada! I'm done!