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Thread: Photography - How to make your product look the best.

  1. #1
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    Default Photography - How to make your product look the best.

    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: 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

    following these tips can turn your photos from this sort of quality:


    to this sort of quality:


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

  2. #2
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    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!

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruthie View Post
    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

  5. #5
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    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!

  6. #6
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    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!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redkite View Post
    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

  8. #8
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    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!

  9. #9
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    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

  10. #10
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    Oh and watch out for getting your own reflection in polished metal! have done that myself LOL

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