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Dano
06-07-2009, 05:20 PM
OK so, you've just spent hours on your masterpiece, and you're ready to add it to your catalogue, so you whip out your snappy little digital camera and maybe pose it artfully on a pretty rock, and you take a photo, and it looks terrible!

I see so many jewellers let themselves and their skills down by showing off beautiful objects with absolutely terrible photographs, and i'm going to help you all fix that in this thread with some handy hints.

1. BUY A TRIPOD
i am not even joking, it doesn't matter if you're taking your photos with a pro level digital SLR or some 40 snappy thing you bought on a whim from asda, a tripod is essential for a good photograph.

2. BUY A GOOD CAMERA.
though this step is a lot more optional than you'd think, a good camera can help. if you're proud of your creations, why not get a proper tool for the job? a good entry level dSLR camera will run you about 200 nowadays, and you don't need anything but the standard lens that comes with it.

3. USE MACRO MODE
Macro mode adjusts the camera's autofocus to work with things really close up to the camera (like say... jewellery!) the macro icon looks like this: http://i43.tinypic.com/f1w07q.jpg sometimes it's on a dial on the camera, sometimes you have to hunt through the menus, but i have not seen a recent camera that doesn't have this. you can set it all up manually too but if you know how to do that then i doubt you need this guide. turn it on, use a tripod, and you'll get pin sharp images.

4. DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO AVOID USING THE FLASH
seriously. turn it off. it surrounds your piece with a horrible shadow and blows all the surface detail out. use other lighting sources, which brings me to:

5. LIGHTING
there's no real right way to do it, just get a couple of anglepoise lamps, or a torch, candles, heck anything that emits light and position them around the scene until you're happy with how it looks. bounce lights off tinfoil, white paper, any colour paper, shine it on directly from the sides, back. have a fiddle! i've found myself in the bathroom with my scene set up on a stool in the bathtub because of how the light scatters off white tiles but you don't have to be that drastic :D

following these tips can turn your photos from this sort of quality:
http://i44.tinypic.com/okdcsg.jpg

to this sort of quality:
http://i43.tinypic.com/aowcue.jpg

well, that's about it, i hope this was of help to somebody =D

agent_44
07-07-2009, 09:58 AM
Good advice - especially regarding the tripod and non use of flash, but I'd have to disagree about macro mode. I wouldn't say never use it, but I would say it might not give the best results on all cameras. For example, on my DSLR I use the Aperture Priority setting at ISO 100 and I'll adjust the aperture for the kind of photo I am taking, and exposure for the background I'm using. This gives me much better results than macro mode would on my camera, although I do use a good macro lens. I also use manual focus whenever possible to get the picture just as I want it. The best thing anyone can do is play around with the settings on their particular camera till they get what they like out of it.

Also with lighting, its often best to make sure you diffuse your light source in some way. I use a light tent which can be home made or bought quite cheaply, especially somewhere like eBay. Or there are other methods such as placing a difuser over the light source itself.

Good lighting with a not great camera will give you better results that a great camera and not so great llighting, so getting that bit right is especially important IMO!

ruthie
07-07-2009, 03:33 PM
Thanks for the lighting advice. I use the macro setting on my camera and find it works well, but some of my pictures come out a bit blurred because i hate using the flash. So I will definitely try and light the subject areas better. Common sense really, but sometimes its good to have these things pointed out.

Dano
07-07-2009, 03:49 PM
Thanks for the lighting advice. I use the macro setting on my camera and find it works well, but some of my pictures come out a bit blurred because i hate using the flash. So I will definitely try and light the subject areas better. Common sense really, but sometimes its good to have these things pointed out.

this is where the tripod comes in! even if you have low lights, if you can keep it steady on a tripod you can do longer exposures =D

Redkite
07-07-2009, 08:29 PM
What are your views on "Arty" photos for selling jewellery?

While I appreciate that artistic presetation is good to have, I think there is a strong case for a clear photo of the item as "zoomed in" as possible and all in focus. I think as a customer I'd want something in between Dano's two extremes!

agent_44
07-07-2009, 08:40 PM
I agree, I tend to try to present my pieces nicely but making sure I get as much detail in as possible. It's definitely a case of finding the balance. I have spent so much time on improving my jewellery photography over the past 6 years, and I am still not 100% happy all of the time!

Dano
07-07-2009, 11:08 PM
What are your views on "Arty" photos for selling jewellery?

While I appreciate that artistic presetation is good to have, I think there is a strong case for a clear photo of the item as "zoomed in" as possible and all in focus. I think as a customer I'd want something in between Dano's two extremes!

yeah i really did go a bit mad with the depth of field on that photo but i had just got that camera and it's my first DSLR so everything was all extremely depthed and oversaturated until the shiny wore off =D gadgets! you know what it's like

The Bijou Dragon
11-07-2009, 09:54 AM
I would say definitely get a camera you can control manually.

We have a point and shoot at the moment and are nowhere near affording even a halfway decent camera and it is absolutely infuriating to use for jewellery photography as 9 out of 10 times it will not focus in on the jewellery, you can't control depth of field and I find myself taking about 40 shots just to get ONE photo.

As for arty photos, they're great as long as you can get a good clear look at what you are buying.

Also if you're using them on websites... please, please, please make sure you take good, clean big photos. There's nothing more infuriating from a customer aspect than trying to buy something only to find a 200 x 200px photo you can't make any detail out in!

As for me... I'm just going to have to persevere with my rubbish photography and hope to make enough to buy a decent camera... I miss my old 35mm SLR!

EmmaRose
20-07-2009, 03:28 PM
Don't forget natural light!
Try taking pictures by a window or in the garden! A cloudy but bright day works as a giant diffuser/light tent! Bright days are not a loss either, use some old net curtain/ voile or translucent paper as a diffuser. Make a homemade reflector from white card or foamboard (foamboard is sturdier, find it in art shops). position it out of shot opposite the light source (sun) to reduce contrast by bouncing light back in shadows, you can see the effect as you move it around!
Emma

EmmaRose
20-07-2009, 03:30 PM
Oh and watch out for getting your own reflection in polished metal! have done that myself LOL :D

Ominicci
21-07-2009, 12:43 AM
Am always doing that!!! And always try to do my photos in daylight outside, haven't tried any diffusers yet even though eveyone says to do it - thanks for reminding me Emma - we have a local art & craft shop so may look for the Foam board.

EmmaRose
21-07-2009, 02:41 PM
only need diffusers if its sunny....and guess what LOL, this is England ;-) LOL!

The Dragon
16-08-2009, 12:24 AM
I'm not the best photographer in the world, although I have a reasonable digital camera. A lot of my work is marred by shadows behind the pieces detracting from the detail. At the moment I'm experimenting with a piece of muslin tacked to an old picture frame, I shine a bright light through this onto the piece, it does cut down on the shadows but I haven't quite got the distances right yet.

Has anybody tried anything similar - if so how did it go?


Annie
:Y:

bustagasket
16-08-2009, 07:36 AM
my little digital camera does struggle. It does have the little flower symbol but my eyes need testing badly, so thats not helping - gonna try and get an appointment next week :D

Matp85
16-08-2009, 04:53 PM
you can buy a light box for photography that diffuses the light and also has a small hole in the cabinet for that self relection!

or home made
http://www.studiolighting.net/homemade-light-box-for-product-photography/

Di Sandland
16-08-2009, 06:21 PM
I recently splashed out on a home lighting kit and it really makes my jewllery pics look the dog's whatsits. Eventually, I might get round to posting them on the site :(|

Caroline Foulkes
17-08-2009, 09:44 PM
I so wish I had seen all this useful advice before I took my pics for a website course a couple of months ago! I was dithering about on our stairs with a piece of white paper propped up on a shelf balancing things...tedious!!

Ominicci
18-08-2009, 05:51 PM
I've done most of my photos outside, but sometimes get reflections/shadows. May use a homemade lightbox set up at some stage, but for now am happy with outside.

Ominicci
18-08-2009, 05:51 PM
I've done most of my photos outside, but sometimes get reflections/shadows. May use a homemade lightbox set up at some stage, but for now am happy with outside.

Kalorlo
24-08-2009, 10:21 AM
I'm going to be trawling through the camera websites today (my boyfriend's old digital camera with no macro mode is not cutting it), but I was wondering if anyone had any particular models of camera they liked/would recommend? Just to give me an idea of what I should be looking for. Do I want a separate macro lens at this stage, or just the ability to add one later should I need it?

I should be able to have a go with a friend's DSLR this weekend - I suspect his will be a little higher-end than I'm looking for, but it's always good to have a comparison!

I'm not an experienced photographer, but I can read the manual and am willing to spend some time fiddling with settings to get things right.

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 10:26 AM
keepin a good eye on this one :D

Di Sandland
24-08-2009, 10:45 AM
I'm going to be trawling through the camera websites today (my boyfriend's old digital camera with no macro mode is not cutting it), but I was wondering if anyone had any particular models of camera they liked/would recommend? Just to give me an idea of what I should be looking for. Do I want a separate macro lens at this stage, or just the ability to add one later should I need it?

I should be able to have a go with a friend's DSLR this weekend - I suspect his will be a little higher-end than I'm looking for, but it's always good to have a comparison!

I'm not an experienced photographer, but I can read the manual and am willing to spend some time fiddling with settings to get things right.

I recently bought my OH a Canon 1000D - an SLRD. It is brilliant and we can put a macro lens on as and when we can afford it. Having said that, the pics on my site were taken with my trusty old Nikon compact digital and I'm very pleased with them.

For lighting I used this (http://www.stevesphotoshop.co.uk/light_tent_cube_30cm_small.html) little light tent, which I lit from each side with halogen lamps (only cheap ones). Halogen is good as the light is very close to daylight spectrum.

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 10:52 AM
or lighting I used this (http://www.stevesphotoshop.co.uk/light_tent_cube_30cm_small.html) little light tent, which I lit from each side with halogen lamps (only cheap ones). Halogen is good as the light is very close to daylight spectrum.

I bought one of those from ebay at about 7 am this morning lol!!!

Kalorlo
24-08-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks Di - it's on The List to check out :)

agent_44
24-08-2009, 12:14 PM
Canon Powershots always seem to produce good results with jewellery. They're Bridge cameras so sit between the point and click cameras and DLSRs.

I have and really like Fuji Bridge Cameras too, though never tried it for jewellery.

You will find though that a higher end bridge will cost more than a low end DSLR. Canon have a great selecton of entry level ones - I bought a 350D a couple of years back, but since my OH is into his photography I got a free upgrade :D Still have and use the 350D though, with a decent macro lens, though the kit lens will still give you good results.

It might even be worth looking at 2nd hand DSLRS? You could pick a 350D up for about 100 now I think.

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 12:17 PM
i only have a Sony Cybershot, perhaps thats why i struggle. We bought it about 4 years ago ready for going to Malaysia, and in general photos its brilliant, but does seems to struggle with my jewellery close ups :(

CyberPaddy66
24-08-2009, 12:18 PM
I bought one of those from ebay at about 7 am this morning lol!!!

We've had ours for about a year and we still haven't gotten the correct lighting sorted out :(|

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 12:22 PM
what i like is the fact that its not a permanent set up if you dont want it to be. Seeing as i have yet to get #2 to clear his ruddy room, i am still having to put everything away after using it. I am looking at the two halogen lights that Di suggested now too.

Charlotte
24-08-2009, 12:26 PM
I've just bought a softbox light tent off ebay... so am I supposed to just do this on a bright day, or do I need lots of lights pointing at it, or in it? Lol... that probably sounds stupid asking that AFTER buying something but hey:-"

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 12:28 PM
lmao we are all buying them now lol - we should get group discounts on these things lol

CyberPaddy66
24-08-2009, 12:33 PM
I've just bought a softbox light tent off ebay... so am I supposed to just do this on a bright day, or do I need lots of lights pointing at it, or in it? Lol... that probably sounds stupid asking that AFTER buying something but hey:-"

Daylight is supposed to be the best but if you don't take pictures outside you'll get a lot of directed light and shadow from the windows, in that case some daylight bulbs on stands is your best bet.

agent_44
24-08-2009, 12:36 PM
We've had ours for about a year and we still haven't gotten the correct lighting sorted out :(|

It can be fiddly gettingth elighting just right, I have 3 professional studio lights and used to get evry frustrated with having all the kit and my ohotos coming out with lots of glare. now I use just one light and it's muuuuch better.


I've just bought a softbox light tent off ebay... so am I supposed to just do this on a bright day, or do I need lots of lights pointing at it, or in it? Lol... that probably sounds stupid asking that AFTER buying something but hey:-"

They do work if you use them outside on a bright day, as long as the sun isn't too strong. Makes it easier to get suitable conditions when shooting out side anyway, waiting for just the right amount of could is a PITA!


i only have a Sony Cybershot, perhaps thats why i struggle. We bought it about 4 years ago ready for going to Malaysia, and in general photos its brilliant, but does seems to struggle with my jewellery close ups :(

Some of the Cybershots are very good, guess it depends how low or high end your camera is? Or it might just be a case of fiddling!

Di Sandland
24-08-2009, 12:42 PM
Charlotte - on a nice sunny day you don't really need the tent - the first pic was taken on the back doorstep. The second pic was taken in the light tent with a bright halogen desk lamp pointing at each side. My compact is a Nikon Coolpix about 4 or 5 years old

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 12:53 PM
Some of the Cybershots are very good, guess it depends how low or high end your camera is? Or it might just be a case of fiddling!

I am not sure what model it is i will have a look when i get home. I dont know much about the specs of these things tho i am afraid :(

Denice
24-08-2009, 07:01 PM
Thank you for the tips and advice on this.

I'm just starting work on my website and trying to get some photographs together for it.
I've already found that I hate the flash, but think a lot of my pics are a bit 'dull' looking - especially for shiny jewellery!

Looking forward to experimenting with 'bouncing' some light around.

Thanks again

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 07:22 PM
I am not sure what model it is i will have a look when i get home. I dont know much about the specs of these things tho i am afraid :(

ok so i have gt my camera in front of me its cybershot model DSC-P93A 5.1 megapixels 3x optical lens. f=7.9-23.7mm 1:2.8-5.2

now whether that means anything to anyone i dunno lol

agent_44
24-08-2009, 08:50 PM
That ought to take some decent pictures Su, there are lots of factors that can ruin a picture other than the camera. Can't recall any of your pictures offhand either, what do you think is not good about them?

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 09:14 PM
I just never seem to be able to get a really nice close up thats not out of focus lol, i have just had my glasses changed so lets hope that helps as i will be retaking some photos :D

Di Sandland
24-08-2009, 09:16 PM
Use autofocus!

agent_44
24-08-2009, 09:21 PM
I just never seem to be able to get a really nice close up thats not out of focus lol, i have just had my glasses changed so lets hope that helps as i will be retaking some photos :D

Do you use a tripod Su, might be worth getting one if not, to keep the camera nice and still. If you have a macro setting try taking the picture with or without too. If you have a very fussy background the camera might struggle to autofocus where you want it to. Plus its just an annoying fact that shiny things are just a pain to photograph as they can be hard to focus on properly.

Jewellery photography is not simple by any means! Shiny and reflective things are a bugger to capture nicely, took me forever to be anywhere near satisfied with any of my photos.

bustagasket
24-08-2009, 09:26 PM
yeah i been trying to find my old tripod that i had for the camcorder but its elluding me atm so i might just get another. and yeah i had nitoced its tricky lol

EmmaRose
25-08-2009, 12:41 PM
Good advice - especially regarding the tripod and non use of flash, but I'd have to disagree about macro mode. I wouldn't say never use it, but I would say it might not give the best results on all cameras. For example, on my DSLR I use the Aperture Priority setting at ISO 100 and I'll adjust the aperture for the kind of photo I am taking, and exposure for the background I'm using. This gives me much better results than macro mode would on my camera, although I do use a good macro lens. I also use manual focus whenever possible to get the picture just as I want it. The best thing anyone can do is play around with the settings on their particular camera till they get what they like out of it.

Also with lighting, its often best to make sure you diffuse your light source in some way. I use a light tent which can be home made or bought quite cheaply, especially somewhere like eBay. Or there are other methods such as placing a difuser over the light source itself.

Good lighting with a not great camera will give you better results that a great camera and not so great llighting, so getting that bit right is especially important IMO!

often macro modes set a low depth of field (amount in focus in front and behind of point of focus) which is why they don't work as well (they are assuming you don't have a tripod and can't hand hold a longer exposure) as d.o.f. is crucial!
Em

Boo
25-08-2009, 12:59 PM
Jewellery photography is not simple by any means! Shiny and reflective things are a bugger to capture nicely, took me forever to be anywhere near satisfied with any of my photos.
I've just written a blog that might have some tips people can use - with some rather inadequate photos that ideally need re-doing when I have chance - on photographing reflective surfaces - with a quick and dirty trick that works a treat for getting better reflective surfaces.

I can't post the URL as I'm new, but it's my most recent blog and the blog site should be in my sig.

agent_44
25-08-2009, 01:22 PM
Wow fab resource! Thanks, that'll keep me busy for a few hours!!

Di Sandland
25-08-2009, 03:58 PM
I've just written a blog that might have some tips people can use - with some rather inadequate photos that ideally need re-doing when I have chance - on photographing reflective surfaces - with a quick and dirty trick that works a treat for getting better reflective surfaces.

I can't post the URL as I'm new, but it's my most recent blog and the blog site should be in my sig.

Neat site, Boo. I've bookmarked it for later.

Yulian
05-04-2010, 02:02 PM
Well done!

Cathy at the Beach
19-04-2010, 01:20 AM
First off- I know nothing about photography. I really suck at it. But I have listened to a few people who seemed to know what they were talking about and here is what I do now:

I use a tripod
I use a black background
I use a light tent made out of white nylon with two lights on either side
I use my macro setting- no flash
I have a panosonic Lumix DMC -ZR1
I bought the above camera about 5 months ago and choose it because it had the best macro lens of all that I looked at.
I have photoshop elements and I don't know how to use it. all I know is how to use "levels" which I do religiously

I know my pics could be a lot better but they have improved immensely since I have followed the above procedure.

ShinyLauren
20-04-2010, 01:49 PM
I am by no means an expert on photography - I don't know what any of the f-stops etc mean on my manual settings, I just fiddle with the numbers and take about 50 shots of each piece until I find one I like!

But, my photography has got better since I built a little lightbox, use spotlights with daylight bulbs and a tripod. Also, using the 2 second delay timer button on my camera eliminates any camera shake which could be produced when you press the shutter button.

I use a fuju finepix 5700 (I think that's what it's called anyway...) but am looking to upgrade to a Canon SX20, having done a ton of research and asked pro photographer friends. I don't know enough to get an SLR!

Also, I have recently discovered Adobe Lightroom to retouch pictures, which is the bestest thing ever! I managed to turn the centre stone in a charm I made (attempting to attach pictures) all different colours for different birthstones without having to make and photograph each one separately. Brilliant!

jhpe07
24-07-2012, 05:38 PM
I saw a really great and cheap idea some time ago online, get a big plastic basin (see-through type) cut a hole in the front, crumple tin foil and then flatten back out, attach this inside te bowl on one side, on the other get some tracing paper and place this on the oposite side, place a bright light on the side that has the tracing paper, this will defuse the light, but will reflect back of the foil, then set the white balance, get the camera into macro mode, and shot through the hole in the basin.

James
personalised-jewellery.co.uk

SJEgan
03-03-2013, 09:54 PM
Ooooh just found this thread! Completely what I needed ebay never occurs to me! Going to get a light tent and see if I can get better pics! Kinda embarrassed of the ones I have at the moment!

SilverBouillon
04-03-2013, 02:00 AM
Going to get a light tent and see if I can get better pics! Kinda embarrassed of the ones I have at the moment!

Years ago I found a couple of articles on ganoksin site.

http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/photset.htm

http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/directory/library/subject/9/3

I built a very quick shadow box, did not really put much work in lightning (I should have), used cheap camera, no tripod.
I found the picture made in that box. Even with minimum efforts simple shadow box helps.
Here is the picture made back to 6 (or 7) years ago with now dead old cheap kodak :)