by Pam G.
Thank you sooo much for this site. I am a jewelry designer and artist. I started creating jewelry many years ago in New York and sold many of my pieces as a vendor and just going into various stores and making sales.
Fast forward to the future, I now live in Georgia.
My passion for creating jewelry is as strong as ever and I am excited about starting a shop on Etsy.
The problem? Getting good images of my work.
I read as much as i can on the subject, but my images are somewhat blurry when I scan the images, or take picture with my Kodak EasyShare C340.
I can’t seem to get close enough even when I use the petal setting.
My budget is such that I can’t afford to purchase another camera. Ultimately I am spending hours each day trying to correct the problem, wasting time and frustrated.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.I really love your site, and I will upload a picture so you’all can see what I mean.
Thanks Rena and readers!
Are you using a light box? You can build your own. there are directions on this site I think.
pics of jewelry
by: Anita – Bejeweled Lady
Hi Pam –
I am definitely NOT a photographer, so I agree that getting good pics of jewelry is sometimes challenging. I find it especially hard to capture the color purple and clear crystals on film.
Like you, I have a Kodak EasyShare (C533) and have learned a few things that may help you take better pics.
1. Good lighting is essential. I find natural outdoor light is best, so I often take pics by the window in my studio.
2. If I take pics outside, I try to take them in the shade, as the sun will create too many shadows.
3. I was using the software that came with my camera for editing pics. It was tedius and time consuming. I’m now using Windows Photo Gallery.
4. A good way to get clear close-ups is to take the picture at a distance that will give you a clear shot. Then when you edit, just CROP it to bring it in close.
5. I find that if the battery is getting low, my camera takes blurry pics. I’m constantly recharging – after every photo session.
6. Sometimes no matter what I do, I take lousy pics anyway. And, yes I must admit, sometimes I even post them. That mostly happens when I’m tired or frustrated or just plain cranky – LOL.
Hope this helps.
Ask the Comminity College for a photography student
by: Lauren- 4 Daughters Creations
I just sent an email today to the Visual Arts department @ the local CC, if any students need to bulk up their portfolio, or have an assignment due for commercial art. I figure the student gets experiance and I get decent pics. So even if it may cost me some $$, the time I save yelling at my computer will be worth it.
I’ll let you know how it turns out
Thanks so much to all who are sharing such excellent insights on jewelry photography for Pam!
One more thought – are you using a tripod or other item you can set your camera on? It’s extremely difficult to get clear, crisp jewelry photos when you hold your camera yourself.
Also, two lightbox articles (as mentioned above):
Let us know how your jewelry photos progress, Pam! :o)
Hello, I recently learned the value of using my camera’s timer feature. That along with using a little tripod has helped tremendously. It has eliminated ALL movement when I’m shooting! Good luck!
Try googling for the web site Picasa3…they have a free software that corrects all sorts of photography nightmares…..Haven’t tried it personally, but from what I’ve seen I think it might at least help. Good luck and please let the rest of us know your results…
Ricoh and White Balance
by: Forever Inspired By Liv
The Picasa 3 is brillant aspecially because it’s free! My husband has Photoshop Elements 8 at his work which is so much better but is expensive and very complicated. I don’t use it but occassionally I’ll email him a photo to fix and the results are fantastic.
I know you said that you couldn’t afford the expense of a new camera but if you think of it in terms of increasing the sales of your jewellery, I would be finding a way to get a new one.
The best thing you need for taking photos of jewellery is a good Macro setting (the little flower symbol) The closer the better. The Ricoh brand are the only camera I know of that have a Marco of 1cm- that means the camera can focus on an item 1cm away. And this is just in a point and shoot camera, you don’t have to buy an SLR. Trust me, I am no photographer! I have the CX1 RICOH, which isn’t the cheapest one with the 1cm macro but I like it because I can have 2 favourite camera setting saved and it’s pink.
I bought mine off Ebay store for the fraction of the retail price.
Now I still use a tripod- little one, and I prefer to photograph outside in natural light using a white box to disperse the light.
Also always check that your white balance matches your enviroment i.e if it’s cloudy, set it to cloudy. If you are taking photo under lights adjust it to the type of light source.
I hope that helps and good luck.
use a plain background
In addition to the previous comments (all good ones!) I recommend you use as simple a background as possible. I use a plain sheet of paper in a mid-grey tone. I found that if I used a sheet of fabric, my camera would tend to focus on the weave of the fabric (even if it had very little texture) rather than on the jewelry. Smooth, matte paper works much better! Take your photo at the highest resolution setting, stand the camera (on tripod) wherever it will acheive the best focus, use the timer and filter your lights (use at least 2 lights) with a translucent filter. All that said, I still find I have bad camera days, where I just can’t get a good shot. It helps to be in the right state of mind, or pray to the camera gods!
Thanks For your Responses!
by: Pam G.
Hi Rena and fellow jewelry designers,
I couldn’t go another day without thanking Rena and all of you for responding to my article. I anticipated a response but was so pleasantly surprised with all of the tips and ideas that you submitted about taking better pictures!
I have read all of them (please continue to submit) because I am sure that this is helpful information for other jewelry designers also! I am trying out many of the tips and I will submit new pictures soon. Once again, thanks Rena for this forum and your kind words and I look foward to submitting again really soon.
response from the College arts dept.
by: Lauren @ 4 Daughters Creations
As photography is a profession, they advise their students to get paid for the work they do. However the student is not required to do so. The dept head is willig to put up flyers in the class rooms and make an announcement when classes begin for the fall semester. I think of it this way, you never know who might look at the portfolio later on. Gallery owners, movie stars (hey, I can dream) major photographers who may need accessories on their next shoot. AND your helping a local student. (and that student MAY be the next big photog) Ciao!
Photography, lighting, and lightboxes
I do amateur photography, and I find that I am still learning to photograph my jewelry–mainly because most of my hobby photography has been outdoors, natural light, and of insects, flowers, animals, plants, etc. Candid, in other words.
When I first started photographing my jewelry, I was extremely financially limited, so someone at my photography club suggested that I make my own lightbox. So, I found a sturdy cardboard box and reinforced it, using clear packing tape, cut panels out of the walls of three sides of the box (leaving the floor intact for placing the jewelry) and then cut panels out of a white plastic trash bag, and taped those in place, then used white (or other colors) paper for the floor and back wall of the lightbox. And voila, I had great lighting! Another nice thing about making your own lightbox from material like this is that it’s really, really easy to make several of them in different sizes.
One thing to keep in mind with one of these, though, is that you cannot do long photography sessions with your lights very close to the lightbox–or else you need to use LED lighting–because your box panels WILL melt.