Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning Curve on Photographing My Jewelry...

I'm finally applying myself to the task of trying to take better photos of my jewelry. I have relied on my trusty scanner for a long time which has pretty good results but tend to make the pieces look less dimensional and leave the way they may hang to your imagination.
Still hoping to develop a more cohesive "look" that exemplifies my style and at the same time makes it easier on me in the process rather than running around the house and yard experimenting.
This first photo was taken on my scanner  and then edited to make the background more white.
I like this background but the shadows are a bit much

ooh... macro and sparkly quartz. Maybe alright for a side pic on Etsy

so they do hang but not the best photo

Got that background in grey gesso? still alotta shadow
( future journal page BTW)

I made these with some old painted metal tiles from out on our  remote property
Javelina Trail, how's that for a name?

distressed background

Hanging but still not my favorite photo look

This is when it gets more difficult on the scanner. things don't drape exactly right but shadows are minimized

I like the color on this. I have no way of knowing how it looks on your monitor though.
greens and creams and copper here.

See, it's better to see these hanging because they're long ones.
I cut up those copper embossed metal bits I bought on the banks of the Ganges.
the long tube in the right is copper that I enameled long ago.
There is evidence of my headpins in all of these earrings you may have noticed.
I think they're a blast to work with.

Art shot attempt

 too much shadow..shadoobie

trusty rusty, hang 'em high

Stuffs for other earrings. My excuse to sit out on the patio and soak up some sun.
I'd better be careful and pick up EVERY metal shaving, else they get embedded in someone's bare feet.
( oops, shouldn't brag about bare feet weather, most of you are grey and frosty and cold still...Ok I will anyway, I see green leaves budding out here, so there!)

This lovely item is what my archaeologist husband dug up in our yard yesterday when he was planting a tree. Look closely, it's part of a motorcycle!
Our house was built in 1915. I imagine that this heavy iron toy might have been from the 20's or so.
There you have it today. Input and feedback is welcome on the photos (and the design too)


  1. Look at all of that beauty! I love it. I see what you mean about different backgrounds, and it was great to see how you went through the experimentation process. Thanks for all of the great pictures :)

    1. It's nice to see them all at once for me to figure out which works best. Thanks Juliette

  2. I have to say I like the white, leaves nothing but the eating to look at, but the long ones hanging on the rusted can are pretty cool too. Javelina yup those are swell! How about a piece of natural colored linen as a background? Maybe wrapped around a padded surface? Just a thought...xox

    1. Corrine, yess I was thinking that too. It seems like any off white backgrounds I use take on a bit of a pinkish cast.

  3. I like the picture for Etsy. Do you have a smooth pottery something to hang some from, perhaps, instead of the metal can? To me the metal is just a little lost on the metal.

    I find I am getting better shots of my art now with the digital camera, because more detail is captured and it takes two seconds to put them on my computer and convert to smaller jpegs. THEN I get rid of the larger file. Have you tried that already?

    Regardless, Kim, I DO think your pictures from the scanner even with the white background show off your jewelry beautifully. I found one site that also gave the length of the earrings, which helped me know how they would hang.

    I am coveting the earrings with the double strands hanging from the metal. A lot. UH OH...

    You surely are on a roll with your creativity!

    1. Yes, Jeannette, I'm resizing them and trying to enhance them, cropping lighting etc. Experimenting and then if I'm lucky they sell before I spend too much time on them!

  4. that second pair of earrings really rocks! all of them are beautiful, but that one is sublimely simple.
    have you tried photographing indoors - northwest light, window, textured cloth.
    have you got a tripod?, find a light source inside that gives you a soft muted shadow, and play angles into the light also
    sorry if you know all this


    1. Thanks Alek,
      No, I need all the help I can get, I appreciate it and perhaps you can tell I am inspired by your earrings.
      Thanks for your input.

  5. Kim,
    I love your new earrings!!!
    Although I personally can't have enough of shadow these days (because where there's shadow, there's light...), a piece of white cloth, placed between the sun (our other light source) and your jewelry, can help to avoid too much shadow.
    I gave you the Versatile Blogger Award. You can find more informations about it on my blog. xo Janna

    1. Thanks, I need to put together my award response now!

  6. These are beautiful, Kim! I understand your frustration...natural light and cloudy days are my friend...

  7. I
    Ike the all white background. I think stuff looks good with one thing in the photo like a side of a book to give it some perspective. I agree with Aleck. I now shot indoors at around 9:30 in a window . Find the right time and the right window for you that works..I get as much pleasure taking the pictures sometimes as I do making the jewelry. Take care.

  8. I never take photos of my work outside, the glare and shadows are to strong and you need a diffuser.
    I have two pieces of white board that is set up either in the kitchen, under the kitchen cabinets lights, great backlight. Or by the studio windows in the morning for my best light with the white board.
    I like photos taken on a plain white board shows off the pieces the best.
    The rusty can could be an extra photo but bring it under some shade/diffuser or inside.
    Somehow I think the scanner is better with flat items and not things with dimension. To much chance for shadows, or it could be just my scanner.
    Photographing art work is the hardest.

    Love the earrings made from the rusty tiles. Again try bringing the rusty can under some shade or inside. I think you will like it better. The sun is just too strong.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. Your earings are pretty cool, Kim! I especially like the earrings in which you have included old painted metal tiles. LOVE the mixture of grungy materials and beads.

    Have a fab day!

  10. First, fabulous pieces! (I want to eat them too;) I agree, somewhere between harsh sun & flat scanner. I also like contrast - I'd put my textile earings against a bit of rust, cropped & my rusty/metal earings (I long to make some like yours!) against textured linen or soft silk. Peope talk about consistency/cohesion alot - one pair should be photoed with a consistent ground but the next pair should have a different ground, I personally think otherwise the whole Etsy page might look too clinical. Have you tried a beautiful ear for the 'hanging' shot? ;)

    1. Thanks, Emma
      I read to many threads on the Etsy forums about people being "ooked out" by live ear models. (germophobes and such) And then that would require another person to do the shoot. I'm not sure that I want to be my own model either!

  11. Kim, these jewelry pieces are stunning. Great combination of new and old! It is quite difference between scanning and taking photos and I have similar problem but never enough time to experiment.
    Sorry I never got to say thanks for the comment on my blog.

  12. wonderful work Kim! I must say i like the stark white background.. it really highlights the subtle and marvelous details that your pieces have to offer. that motorcycle relic is uber cool!

  13. Gosh, Kim - I love these earrings. For my 2 cents on the photography, I like the shots showing them hanging, but feel like the rusty can is not the best background, (although I do love a good rusty can!)
    Good work, girl! -sus

    1. I agree but I think I may go with a softer lighter background for hanging shots as has been suggested.

  14. why dont you wear them then everyone can see how big they are and how they hang ...i still like the first photos on the scanner actually...x.

  15. Hi there. I'm pretty new around here, but wanted to say that you make me want to cut up some rusty old cans. ;) Your earring art pieces are great!

    And how cool is that piece your hubs dug up?! Awesome.

    Re: photography
    Seems like seeing the earrings hanging is a good representation of how they'll look hanging from the ear. Have you tried hanging them on a skinny branch outside and using a very shallow depth of field? That way they would be the only things in focus & it would still be a 'hanging' display.

  16. Me again.
    I should have added that you'll want the photos outside to be in heavy shade...never in harsh sunlight. And not in patchy shade...has to be complete shade.

    1. It's pretty harsh sunlight here in the desert for sure, Lela!

  17. Your earrings are wonderful! You have a great eye!
    I always like the arty shots and I'm a fool for props which, I know can compete with your work, but what about using some light colored, subtly textured slate to drape your earrings on? And I agree with the suggestions to hang them from a branch if you have a suitable one. I have a photo light box but don't use it much. I set up big sheets of white cardstock behind the item I'm photographing so that the light bounces back and brightens the whole shot, while minimizing shadows. Seems to work well here where we don't get alot of winter sun.

    1. You all have been so helpful, Thanks so much!

    2. I'll keep on trying, I am rather fond of my scanner, kind of like cheating though!

  18. I absolutely loathe taking pictures of my work - even with my new camera which, on occasion, I have come pretty close to chucking across the room (well nearly). Love the earrings in this post - particularly the painted metal ones. Kate

  19. absolutely gorgeous earrings! photography is fun, but can be so frustrating for selling... i use earlier morning or late afternoon light just inside of a window... i have my 'spots' in the house... i once read that if glare is too harsh, to put parchment on the window... i like that...

  20. I find that photographing on a sunny day is the worst for product. Try to do it on an overcast day so you don't get the harsh light and shadows. Your pieces are really lovely. Very cool piece that you found on the property!


You might have something you want to say about this!