Photographing your jewelry

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Today it is snowing. Again. And since I've been house-bound for the past couple of days I've been powering through my massive to-do list. What's on today's agenda? Photographing all the jewelry I've made but haven't listed on Etsy. Chances are, if you're making your own jewelry, you're going to want to take pictures of it, to blog about, to sell online, or just to commemorate some kick-ass work.Taking good pictures of your jewelry isn't easy, so I figured today's blog would be all about tips and tools for taking some fantabulous pictures.
Tools of the Trade:
  • Ultimately, your pictures are only going to be as good as the equipment you're using will allow. The higher your resolution and the greater your ability to manually focus your camera, the better your pictures are going to be. No matter what kind of camera you are working with, I strongly suggesting investing in a tripod. Sadly, I have left mine at my dorm room, so I'll be working solo for this photo session.
  • If you have a good camera, it should have a macro setting. This will pre-set the camera to focus very close up - perfect for photographing jewelry.

  • Tip Number One: Try making your own lightbox. A basic way to photograph your jewelry is on a black or white background. The challenge then becomes getting good light. You don't want dark shadows and you don't want to bleach out your beautiful piece. Try taking a shallow cardboard box, lining it with white paper or fabric and using one or two desk lamps to create the perfect mini photostudio for photographing your jewelry. Check out this blog for an interesting example.
  • Tip Number Two: The background you chose to display your jewelry on is going to impact the way your jewelry looks to the viewer. So, you should consider this choice carefully. Do you want it to contrast or compliment? Should it follow a theme of your piece, or simply work as a backdrop? These are all choices you should consider every time you take a picture of your work. There are lots of ways to create backdrops for your work. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Fabric is also an excellent choice for any backdrop. I have a bunch of fabric around anyways, but it's not a bad idea to get a supply going. Peruse sale fabric as JoAnn's or even the $1 yards at walmart. Start out with the basics- black and white, then add some cool stuff. It doesn't take much fabric to make a background. A fat quarter would suffice, but a yard or two certainly gives you more room to play with. Be creative with fabric. You might have a great pattern on a dress that you could snag for a few seconds to become the new backdrop for your jewelry photos.

  • Tip Number Three:  You can also use accessories to show off your jewelry. These can range from your typcial bust, to carefully placed stones. Whatever accessories you use should reflect the image you're trying to create around this particular piece.

Tips for Photographing Earrings:

  • Although it can be easier to photograph a pair of earrings on a flat surface, people are going to want to see what the earrings look like when they're dangling as they would when you're wearing them. If you're going to keep them, then it's ok if you do just that - take a picture of you or someone else wearing them. However, if you're selling your earrings DO NOT wear them! It's not hygenic or professional.

  • Try hanging your earrings from a branch, an earring tree, a pretty glass bowl, a ribbon, a metal container... There are lots of funky things out there you can hang your earrings from that will make them look neat, but still totally hygenic :)

C'est Fin!