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Topic: photographing my jewelry?  (Read 1064 times)
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faintlymcabre
« on: January 08, 2004 11:01:25 AM »

So, I'm having a wretched time getting good pictures of my jewelry, and unfortunately, that's the one thing I need to be able to set up a good website, send things out for review for consignment, put things on eBay, etc.  It's entirely my own photography skill, I think - I have a Fuji Finepix 2600 camera, which is decent enough; I just suck.  To top it off, the kinds of parts I use tend to be extra sparkly (lots of rhinestones and Swarovski) so I end up with lots of glare and blur (or else totally dead-looking pictures), and when the crystals aren't blurred, the other parts are.

The best I've gotten so far was from taking out one end of a shoebox (with a white interior), taping some string across to hang earrings off of (the bulk of what I do), putting a paper towel over the top, and then shining my gooseneck lamp over the towel and taking the picture from the open front of the box.  This is, however, one extra-crappy lightbox.  Am I even on the right track?

What are some solutions people have come up with for getting better pictures of any craft?  My talent definitely does not like with the camera!
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dramaqueen0487
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2004 11:06:58 AM »

Hey, I don't know if this will be helpful, but it is worth a shot...  Smiley [url][/url http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=38&pq-locale=en_US]

I hope that link works... I am new at this!
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faintlymcabre
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2004 11:22:04 AM »

This is a good start with lots of tips!  My original attempts involved various pieces of fabric laid down on the windowsill, and putting the jewelry on it; I found over time that plain old white paper towels actually worked a little better in a number of ways than nicer fabric, since most of my beads are transparent and the really plain background helped.  I'm starting to think I might return to this, instead making a contraption out of styrofoam (just cutting a styro Christmas ornament ball in half) with wire so I can have two little posts and some wire in between to hang the earrings off of, and then some kind of rig with more translucent stuff behind to let in the light from the window but keep out the glare from the window pane itself, the screen behind, etc.  The problem is that it doesn't give me a surface to steady myself on for taking the picture (moving furniture is not an option in my apartment, and neither the living room nor the bedroom windows are ideal).  It doesn't seem to matter how hard I work to position things correctly in the LCD screen; it always comes out differently somehow.
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goodgirl
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2004 11:28:31 AM »

are you trying to photograph on a white background? because you might try using other types of stuff as a backdrop.  even tho my stuff is much more funky-punky  than hers, i look at martha stewart mags. for cues on arranging products in meaningful ways. the photography and display in her stuff is always *what else* perfect...good to learn from. incorporating a little more of a "mood" into the shots sometimes gets people more interested.

also, there's nothing wrong with using tape, propping up the stuff so it looks better, whatever. Just to get the shot!

if you're going to be taking a product shot, it's good to have 2 light sources (from ea. side) so there's no black, black shadow. i haven't tried this, but maybe a halogen lamp at the side and sunlight from a window? it takes a few shots, usually til you get one without glare-y bits, with good detail etc.

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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2004 02:28:00 PM »

It's usually best to shoot glass pieces on black (black velour is best), it brings the colors of the transparency out much more then white will. It also helps to cut the amount of light being reflected back through off the background.

Check out the pieces on <a href="http://www.kbglassworks.com">KBGlassworks.com</a>. We shot all of them on black, then cropped them out and put them on a white background with an added drop shadow (the black also help when cropping).

Another thing that would help is something called a Cloud Dome. They're made specifically for photographing small reflective pieces, like rare coins or jewelry. It diffuses all the light so there are no reflections. The large one's run around $100, but there are smaller one's for $50 or so and they all come with mounting attachments for digital or film cameras. They sell them at <a href="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=279145&is=REG">B&H photo</a> (pricey), but you can find them at a lot of places, or just make your own out of a large white plastic bowl with a hole cut in the bottom.
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aryn
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2004 07:26:26 PM »

I'm not sure this has been said, but I've found pictures shot in natural light almost always come out better, especially if you're shooting with a digital camera. And the thing I learned from photography classes is bracketing. Basically, this means adjusting the shutter speed and f/stop up and down from where it seems like it should be. That, of course is more for manual cameras.

How I translate it to digital cameras is this: shoot lots and lots! Take one, adjust the settings, take another. Play with the white balance settings and flash. And remember, you're not wasting film because it's digital! Here's a link that explains auto-bracketing in digital cameras.

If your camera has it, use the macro settings. This is definitely in the "martha" aesthetic, very close to the object, with the background totally fuzzed out of focus. I find it make a lot of things seem a lot more interesting than they actually are.

My last suggestion is: if it's jewelry, why not take the pictures of someone modeling it? It would give scale so the customers can see how long the pieces are and how they hang, stuff like that.
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goodgirl
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2004 05:14:22 AM »

oooooh, i forgot about that- yes, all hail the great macro lens. they are great for getting detail where you want it (on the interesting parts of the jewelry) and sort of dreamily blurring it out where you don't...(ear wire, etc.)

a great craft site that has amazing, interesting, jewelry shots and a beautiful aesthetic, in general is
http://www.morningcraft.com
i have been wondering what sort of digital camera they have for a while, now...
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2006 11:57:18 AM »

Another thing that would help is something called a Cloud Dome. They're made specifically for photographing small reflective pieces, like rare coins or jewelry. It diffuses all the light so there are no reflections. The large one's run around $100, but there are smaller one's for $50 or so and they all come with mounting attachments for digital or film cameras. They sell them at <a href="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=279145&is=REG">B&H photo</a> (pricey), but you can find them at a lot of places, or just make your own out of a large white plastic bowl with a hole cut in the bottom.

I saw once this man make what I believe is this Cloud Dome you're speaking of, or rather something like it. I'm trying to find the link but basically he bought some translucent white bowls, took the largest one and made a hole in the bottom the size of his camera lens.  Then I think he basically would just place the bowl over the jewelry piece and stick his camera thru the hole.  I'm trying to find the link but have had no luck, I thought I saved it but apparently didn't.  It's pretty cool cause he has the video on how to do it. 
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