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Topic: What's a good background for jewelry/product photography?  (Read 1743 times)
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cottonmouth
« on: June 18, 2011 07:57:38 PM »

I've tried lots of things from white paper to rusted metallic pans to handkerchiefs. I'm working with light-colored (grey-white actually) pendants. I've photographed them on a plain sheet of paper and they came up really boring looking since the pendants melt into the whiteness of the paper.

I'm photographing them under a reading white fluorescent light. Since I live in a condominium wherein a terrace/rooftop access is unavailable I can't really go for natural lighting, the windows also doesn't give much light since there's a building up close which blocks most sunlight passing through.

I would like something that doesn't reflect any light and would go well with the color scheme of my products. I'm opting for some dark gray wood but I have no clue on where to get one...
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Antidigger
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011 04:55:10 AM »

maybe black or navy velvet?
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Diane B.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011 10:14:30 AM »

You might want to check out the ideas for backgrounds when doing small-item photography on the Photography page at my site:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/photography.htm (click on Backgrounds)

On that same page you'll find other categories for techniques and equipment you could use too perhaps, like:
... Light Boxes (very common technique for jewelry/etc home photography)
... Scanners (believe it or not, can look quite good)

You should be also able to do natural or "existing light" shots even from your semi-blocked windows if you want as long as you have a tripod or something similar to keep your camera from moving while it takes a longer shot:
... Natural Light

HTH,
Diane B.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011 10:14:49 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Helena Puck
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011 04:56:33 PM »

Your background looks fine. What you need to do is download Picasa or some type of free photo editing program and change your light by hand.

I lay my pieces on a white sheet on my washstand next to the window. Sometimes I use a rock prop. Based on the style of items you have, a rock would match your items too. Using the light of the early morning works best for me. Outside shots are also nice.

If all else fails, try building a basic light box: http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/fortys-foto-tips-2-make-a-light-box-244/

If you don't want to make them, Amazon has these neat pop up light box tents that fold up. I haven't tried them but the reviews say they work well with jewelry photography.

Good luck!
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cottonmouth
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011 05:58:52 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I used to have a handmade Lightbox but it got accidentally thrown away. Sad

@Antidigger I've been thinking about black. I just bought an illustration board which one part is black, haven't tried it yet though.

@Diane B. Scanners? Really? But since my pieces are in 3D I don't think that would go quite well.  Undecided Right now I'm just planning to go down to the streets and take pictures of my jewelry on the sidewalk benches, the light of the windows here are just non-workable.

@Helena Puck I tried fixing the brightness/contrast of the photos in Adobe Photoshop. I really don't want to edit my pictures in PS since my products might start looking unnatural and 'obviously edited'. So I'm going ahead with outside shots and try it out.  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011 11:49:12 AM »

Quote
Diane B. Scanners? Really? But since my pieces are in 3D I don't think that would go quite well.

Actually, scanners can do many 3-D objects quite well if they're handled correctly for the shadows. Think about it... a camera only shoots the image of a single plane it registers, and so does a scanner.  Scanners are is just set so that the focus point is always just above the glass.  (You can read more about how people do that and see how well it can work from that section on my Photography page.)

Quote
I've been thinking about black. I just bought an illustration board which one part is black, haven't tried it yet though.

Black won't be the best color for several reasons. 
The camera averages the light from all the things it sees in the frame (but mostly the center area) to become "medium" in light value. So putting the item on a large dark background can make the camera think the area is "too dark" and end up giving it too much light/exposure... and vice versa for white/light backgrounds. The general idea is to have the background be a medium "value" (lightness-darkness) (and gray works especially well since it won't influence any color balance) so the camera will just expose for what it sees as that large area (what you see) without trying to compensate.  You can of course change the exposure settings on many cameras but that's more work and can be fiddly. 
Black is also famous for showing up specs of white dust or just areas that don't show up perfectly solid.
(There's more on that and other background possibilities on the page too.)

Using a light box (even a simple one you can put together in a few minutes) can help avoid all those problems, and more.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011 08:24:04 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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cosmiccornflake
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011 12:40:28 PM »

I made a really cheap light box ($5 tops) out of foam board and used my desk lamp to bounce light onto it. You can also use fun fabrics, scrapbook paper, or hang earrings off of teacups. A white background (or black for white/light pieces) is good to show detail, but colorful backgrounds make the image more interesting. I took a picture of one of my bracelets on a railing next to a window with a building thunderstorm in the background -- not the best, but it looked cool!
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pinkslinky
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011 07:19:28 AM »

Two things that I have around my house because of the other crafty things I do that make excellent background are felt and specialty paper.  You can get squares of felt cheap and in many colors at a craft store.

A trick I learned with specialty paper when I made a lamp out of it and chicken wire. Glue the paper to 20 X 20 squares of wire-- instant bendy backgrounds!



http://pinkslinkie.blogspot.com/
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badwildrose
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011 06:31:06 PM »

you might also consider a silk or satin scarf.  The play of light on it will also add dimension and a luxurious feel.


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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2011 02:38:09 PM »

YESSSS scanning is AWESOME for jewelry. I suppose that seems counter-intuitive. It gives a slightly scientific/specimine look... Its a great way to avoid pidgeonhole-ing your aesthetic with a more thematic background. But it also depends on your scanner, I guess. Im lucky my school has awesome scanners, so they capture a lot of detail: http://ny-image1.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.208553769.jpg http://homemade-speed.com/necklace/rib2big.jpg my parents have one that is not as great, but still does the job. The lack of specific context means that scans are great for a more professional portfolio as well as a stylized online fashion shop thing, which is good to have.

your stuff would also look killer photographed with some crystals/geode type objects.

those necklaces with the skulls and chain hair/veil are to die for
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