Tag Archives: jewellery photography

Lifestyle photography for your jewellery business – free online video tutorial

If you have a jewellery business your photos are your number one marketing tool. But it can be difficult to get good quality photos, the right amount of light, the right props etc to show off your jewellery to the best advantage. If this is something you struggle with or you are hoping to improve on what you already do then take a look at this free video tutorial from LJS founder Jessica Rose on Lifestyle photography for your jewellery business

 

If you would like to learn more about jewellery photography then we have a great opportunity for you. You are invited to attend a FREE online masterclass all about improving your jewellery photography. Packed with actionable hints and tips and taught by LJS photography tutor and jeweller Karen Young there are 3 dates/times to choose from.

Click here to sign up for free >

Making the best of your Instagram pictures

Following on from our introductory look at Instagram as a great social media option for jewellery makers we have put together some tips for ensuring your account looks as good as possible.

 

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Having fabulous pictures of your work is important whatever ways you use to share your work and sell your pieces, so it is worth checking out our previous photography posts. But because Instagram is all about the images, picture quality is essential here.

Post the best images you can

Yes, it is possible to take a quick snap on your phone and post it to Instagram. This is great for workshop shots or a post to let people know you are setting up at a fair or market but not so good for shots of finished pieces.

For pictures of your finished work, you want to think in the same way as you would for your website or a flier. Use high resolution, well-lit pictures with neutral backgrounds or on models if that’s your preference. And follow these steps so that you can add them to Instagram on your phone or tablet:

  • Create Instagram copies of these high quality images, cropping them so that they will look good in a post.
  • Save the copies to a folder in a cloud service such as Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Dropbox so you can access them on your phone or tablet
  • Go to the folder on your device and export the picture you want to Instagram where you can post your image and message.

This may seem like a complicated process at first but you will soon get used to it and it will ensure you have as good and eye-catching images as possible.

Filters

instagram filters

When you add a picture to Instagram you are given a wide range of filters to apply to your picture. Each of these changes the look of your image by adding a colour tint, increasing or decreasing the saturation of the colours, etc.

When you start using Instagram, it is important to look at what changes each filter makes to your images and choose what works for your style of work.

It is important to be consistent and use the same filters each time. It may be that you think one filter is good for jewellery pictures and a different one for behind the scenes/making shots – in that case make a note of what these are and always use the behind the scenes filter of those shots and the finished piece one for your products. This will make you feed look smart and establish a visual style that will help people spot your posts.

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Behind the scenes shots

A great way of telling your jewellery story is to post shots of the process of making your jewellery. These could be quick working shots but you could also think of taking some still life type images of sketches, tools and materials arranged in your workspace.

Think about what might interest people but also images that shoe the work and time that goes into a handmade piece.

Inspiration collages

Another story telling technique that appeals to Instagram users is sharing images of what inspire your work.

These could be individual images or you could use a collage making app like PicMonkey to combine a picture of a finished piece with some of the images that inspired you.

Learn from others

And finally, one way to help you work out your Instagram style is to spend time looking at other people’s posts. Think about what type of images catch your eye and which are getting lots of likes. This will help you decide what is important for you to do to attract the followers your need.

Please follow London Jewellery School on the app – then we can follow you and see your work.

Jewellery Business Week Offer – 20% off all jewellery business classes

jewellery business week

As this week is all about you selling your jewellery and building your business, we thought we’d help by giving you 20% off all jewellery business classes when you book between 22 and 28 February 2015.

The offer even includes the Business Bootcamp, and the 6-day Jewellery Business Intensive as well as all business day classes and tasters, which includes:

Because of the range of classes included in the offer, you can only get the discount by booking over the phone. Please call us between 9.30 and 5.30, 22-28 February, to book or email info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk

Clever kit to take professional looking jewellery pictures with your phone

Most of us have some sort of camera on our phones now and many take quite high resolution images but it can still be difficult to take sharp, detailed jewellery pictures with just a cameraphone. This is where the Nimbus Cloud Dome cones in – it is a mini studio set up designed specifically for taking jewellery pictures with a phone. We were intrigued when we heard about it, so asked photography tutor Elaine Yeung to take a look.

The Nimbus Cloud Dome Starter Set consists of the photography dome and photography base, which can also be purchased separately. Using the cloud dome, you can get professional looking photos of jewellery without going anywhere near an actual camera or computer.

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Like flat pack furniture, the product requires an initial assembly but once put together, it is lightweight, portable and ready for action. The thick translucent plastic material of the dome and base diffuses the light surrounding it giving the object under the dome even lighting and no distracting reflections.

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You simply position your camera phone in place at the top of the dome using the elastic cords and put the dome over the jewellery, which is either on the base or any other surface you choose. It is that straightforward. No need to wrestle with the collapsible light tent, get tangled up with the wires for lights or endlessly adjust the tripod. With this setup, the photos can already be online in the same time it takes just to set up all that other equipment.

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The base gives an evenly lit background to the photos, though not quite the crisp white the product description suggests but this can be rectified by changing the camera settings or any editing the image after either on or off the phone.

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The hole in the base is for an additional light source which, in the spirit of mobile technology, we tested using the light from another phone. The light was concentrated in the centre of the background causing dark surrounding shadows, which may have been the fault of placing the light source too close. This may work if the item being photographed is small and you zoom in to take the photo. Otherwise, a suggestion would be to place the light further away or decrease the intensity of the light.

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Back lit statement necklace

Because we were backlighting the piece for this try we used the flash on the camera. The resulting image isn’t flattering as the flash from the camera is harsh and direct.

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Back lighting and flash

Instead, we tried using a studio light but the thickness of the dome meant the light needed to be close in order to raise the ambient light levels inside although this doesn’t spread entirely across the dome.

Over all we found it was tricky to get the lighting right and would need practice but if you were using the dome in a room with bright ambient lighting you shouldn’t need to use additional lighting and the dome will diffuse the light to reduce shadows.

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What can be achieved without harsh flash or too concentrated back light

 

The Cloud Dome starter kit is a good option for those who want photos fast without the fuss of bulky equipment and camera or the extra step of downloading, processing and uploading photos with a computer but you will be limited in how much you can edit your pictures and how big you might be able to print them at a high resolution.

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The Nimbus Cloud Dome Starter Set costs £95.99 (inc VAT) and is available from CooksonGold

Processing & developing photos of your jewellery

Processing and editing your jewellery pictures can be challenging but photographer and website creator Gary has advice to help you make a start.

Once you’ve got your well lit and nicely composed photos (see the blog post on taking great jewellery photos) it’s time to process and develop them using software. This involves adjusting things like exposure (if you didn’t quite have enough light or you had a tad too much) and white-balance (necessary to counter the yellow-ness of indoor lighting). You can start by letting whatever program you’re using ‘auto-adjust’ these settings (and more) and then refine the results yourself afterwards using the individual controls. Now and again auto-adjust doesn’t make the best decisions, however, and that’s when a human eye is needed.

Once these adjustments have been made you can then move onto bringing more detail out of the photo by lightening any particularly dark areas and darkening any areas that are too bright. You can also adjust the vibrance and saturation of the colours in your image. Take a conservative approach to all these adjustments, however, because it’s quite easy to overdo them, which can degrade the quality of the photo and make it grainy.

Here’s a tip. When you’re applying adjustments to your photos make sure your laptop or mobile device’s screen is on maximum brightness. This will ensure you’re not deceived by the darkness of your screen into overdoing your adjustments. It’s a simple thing, but it’ll save you the hassle of having to re-process photos you subsequently realise don’t look quite right.

 

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Software and apps

Many people use Adobe Photoshop for processing and developing photos, but personally I prefer Adobe Lightroom. I also use a third-party plugin called Topaz Detail, which does a great job of specifically enhancing details in photos, and can also work with Photoshop. In terms of processing and developing photos Photoshop and Lightroom are equally capable, and so which you use comes down to personal preference.

You don’t necessarily have to spend time and money learning how to use these sophisticated (and rather expensive) software packages if you don’t want to make the investment just yet or at all – or don’t have the time to. There are some capable and very easy to use photo editing/processing apps and web-based apps available for free, which will give good results but not as good as Photoshop and Lightroom. Here’s my personal favourites.

Picmonkey is a free web-based photo editing suite that has everything you need to make your photos pop. Just by using the ‘auto-adjust’ feature you’ll get a better looking photo. There’s also some impressive filters and you can add text to your images, which comes in handy for Pinterest. Picmonkey also has a facebook header collage which is automatically the correct size and shape for facebook – very handy!
Another good, free online photo processing site is pixlr.com, which also has an app and is particularly good for creating collages.

Snapseed is a free photo app for Android and Apple devices that has a clever interface which makes working with photos using a touch screen very easy. There’s lots of competing photo apps for mobile devices out there, but Snapseed is my favourite so far. I use it to process photos I take on my tablet and phone, and it has solid adjustment features that give good results.

Remembering why you’re doing all this

“Photography is one of the most crucial marketing jobs for designer makers – without amazing images your work will not be selected for shows, promoted in magazines or blogs, and go unsold in online shops.” Patricia van den Akker, Design Trust, UK.

The ultimate aim of making adjustments and enhancements to your photos is to create a well-balanced photo – in terms of exposure, colour, and contrast – which has detail in all areas of the photo where detail is important (i.e. there aren’t parts of your jewellery that are black due to excessive darkness or completely white due to excessive brightness). And the ultimate aim of photographing your jewellery is to persuade people to choose your piece over everyone’s else’s.

Web companies like Etsy have created the biggest arts & crafts markets in human history and a platform for designer-makers to sell their work in that market. The potential for sales is staggering because, if you think about, tens of millions of people are browsing through it looking to buy something handmade at any given moment. Great photos can catch someone’s eye, and make the difference between lots of sales and few sales – or worse, none.

Whilst free apps like Snapseed and picmonkey are great at making average photos look a lot better and definitely have their value in terms of ease of use and convenience, you’ll get the very best results by taking good photos in the first place; and then making them look awesome using digital photo processing software like Photoshop or Lightroom.

At the London Jewellery School you can learn how to take photographs of your work and how to use Photoshop to process them. You can also create your own website and learn how to use social media effectively to promote your business.

Gary is a photographer and website creator who runs craftywebsites.com, a company that works one to one with crafters to create an affordable website.