LightingProper lighting makes a huge difference when it comes to photographing jewelry.  This prior post shows the same bracelet photographed with poor lighting and then again with much better lighting.  In the past, I photographed my jewelry primarily for historical purposes so I had a record of the things I had made.  I took the photographs using regular household lighting and a flash.  That was adequate at the time because I sold most items in stores where customers saw the actual item.  So, it didn’t really matter how the photograph looked.

Once I began Internet sales and blogging, I knew I had to take better photographs because a potential customer would have to make a decision based on the photograph, not the actual piece of jewelry.  I made initial improvements by taking photographs outside.  Shooting in strong sunlight produced harsh shadows so I tried shooting in shade.  I got it to work if I was in the shade but close to the bright sunlight.  I got great results when the lighting was exactly right.  However, there were factors at play that I couldn’t control – weather and how light changed in different seasons.  So, I knew I had to take it indoors.

I searched the Internet and ended up purchasing a light tent and lamps designed specifically for the purpose of photographing jewelry and other small items.  It made a world of difference and has been totally worth the investment.  I’ve seen Internet articles on how to make a light box and I know people who have done so with good results as well.  The best thing about resolving the lighting issue (aside from not having jewelry blow away in the wind or looking with despair at a forecast calling for seven straight days of rain) is the freedom it gives you to then focus on the composition of the shot, not the technical aspects.

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when it comes to jewelry photography.  The funny thing is, back when I was taking bad photos, I didn’t even know they were bad.  I took them to have historical documentation of my work.  I’m glad I have them especially because I can see growth through the years.  But, back to the pictures…

Here is a bracelet I re-photographed.  I am very happy with the result.  I think the bracelet comes to life and think the rich colors of the bracelet and background complement each other nicely.

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This is a really bad photos of the same bracelet.  I didn’t have the lighting right.  I didn’t know how to get a sense of dimension.  I don’t know what I was thinking with the crumpled paper bag thing.  I have worked a lot of things out since then.

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Photography is not my field of study and I have huge respect for those who do it well.  I didn’t pay much attention before, but now, when I flip through magazines and catalogs, I think about the photographers, stylists, editors, and other people it takes to get great looking product shots.  They do it so well and make it look effortless.