Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tips for photographing jewelry

I just saw on Beading Daily that I had missed an online class with Jim Lawson, who is a Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist photographer. Interweave put an attractive video online to give an idea of the course. I nearly regretted not having attended... read on.

Picture taken in the mirror
Being intollerant to light - call it allergy if you wish, I have a light tent which I cannot even use. Being photophobic has led me to live in an appartment on the not sunny side of a building, where I have what Art Academies call "the Glorious Northern Light", and with my white walls, it is not dark... enfin, not in all the rooms. There are many different colours in the light depending on the season, the weather - the sky is sometimes  very blue... the building opposite of mine is terra cotta... (And I must close the curtains when the sun is reflecting in the windows or other metallic parts of that building, or in clouds or in the snow on the roof... *sigh*.)

As a consequence, taking all my pictures in daylight, without spots, is really challenging. I've been told that my pictures are fair and from the person who said that, it was a huge compliment. But as Jim Lawson says, those shadows are not so - so... Ah, those shadows - you can see them on the left of nearly all my pictures... I had a very hard time making a decent picture of the set I am wearing on the picture above-right. I normally enhance my pictures with Paint Shop Pro, but here I did not; I only added my watermark to it, reduced its size, to show it 'as is'. No sunlight that day, so no blue from the sky, no terracotta reflections from the building in front... I used a mirror to bring more light to the piece and I am quite pleased with the result... but I am going to find or make reflecting devices to apply that immediatly to my future photos.

Sixagons Chain
What is so cool with Youtube, is that when one video is finished, they show a mosaic of other, related, videos and so I could see some more... There is the usual commercial stuff "buy Mybrand lamps,  lenses, backgrounds", which can be of interest for the photographer who wants to make the difference and has the budget for it. Which is not my case.
But there are also a few nice guys out there who give really useful tips for 'on-a-dime' photographers like me. The (really) nice guy I wish to applaud here is Michael Seto who has made a series of 22 videos with super interesting tips for light, settings (you know those secrets you would find out only after 10 years trying yourself), tripod - (what would I do without my Tripod!), presentation of the jewelry, etc... Not everything is useful for me, but there are many very intelligent tips and tricks and things I am definitely going to try! Check it out, you won't be disapointed.

I also like the two videos about presentation by Renaissance Marie Austin, who created "Fiber Style TV", showing how to take advantage of simple objects in her surroundings to shoot her jewelry.
Her tips are cool, see Video no. 1 and Video no. 2.

As for the use of Paintshop Pro or Photoshop - in addition to the 'help' menu of those softs, there are many online tutorials, videos, and even forums you will want to visit - some folks are real artists. I prefer beading and use only a few standard settings... 

Just another picture to show you the shadow...............

Thai Silver Tinkle Bell Jewelry Set

Last but not least, here is the website giving a loooooooooot of hints to use with a light tent... I hope I can use my light tent one day.


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