This blog is meant to be a record of my adventures as a new home-based business owner. Starting my jewellery business was one of the most daunting things I've ever done, next to giving birth. Especially since I was (am?) pretty technically stunted. In this blog I will describe the trials, tribulations and, hopefully, eventual successes I experience while navigating the world of (really, really, really small) business. I also plan to use this blog to talk about all the aspects of jewellery design that fascinate me, keep me addicted, and cause me to spend thousands of dollars (What, honey? No, I didn't say thousands...) on gemstones, beads, findings, etc. I welcome your input, ideas, and stories of similar experiences in beading, jewellery design, or running a handcrafts business.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best Backgrounds for Jewelery Photos

Experienced online jewellery sellers will tell you that the quality of your photos is the key to selling lots and lots of jewellery.  It's not necessary to have an expensive camera or to be a professional photog to get great pics of your work.  My photos really sucked when I first started out, but with a little research, and a LOT of trial and error, my photography skills have improved, and so have my photos.  Check out these before photos of my Trinkets bracelet.


These pictures are too dark.  The one on the left has uneven light that is unflattering, and there are too many things going on, which makes it distracting.  The background colour takes away from the colours in the bracelet.  Now here's the after photo.

This picture was taken outside, on an overcast day. I zoomed in, used the macro lens, and took several shots at different angles.  The background is a piece of driftwood that I found on the beach while camping last summer.  It doesn't distract from the bracelet, and it reflects the natural theme that I am trying to make part of my branding.

I use many different materials for my backgrounds.  I use ceramic, slate and stone tiles in brown, putty, and dark grey that I bought from Rona (the Canadian sister of Home Depot.) I love the natural feel and the texture of these tiles.  I used three of these tiles for these photo backgrounds.

This picture is taken on an off-white sandstone tile.  It looks like a sandy, Mediterranean beach, doesn't it?

This is a ceramic tile in a mottled brown colour.  

This is my slate tile.  The dark grey colour is a great contrast for many of my pieces.

Another handy and inexpensive background is scrapbooking paper.  There are hundreds of colours, patterns, and textures of scrapbooking papers out there.  They're relatively cheap, and can be purchased in themed packs or singly.  Here are some photos taken on scrapbooking paper.

You can use props in your photos, but you should be careful not to distract from the piece.  I like using rocks (also found on the beach while camping.) Here are some examples.

Lying on a rock.

Leaning on a rock.

 Books are also great props to use in your photos, especially old books with interesting text.
 Do you recognize the text behind this necklace?  That's right, it's Romeo and Juliet!  It's not a coincidence that the necklace is called "Juliet's Heart Necklace."

I still have a lot to learn about my camera, and about taking great shots.  Since I have no instruction manual, (don't ask--) I have to experiment a lot to get just the right angle, light, shadows, highlights, focus, etc.  I don't have Adobe Photoshop, but I did download the trial version and experiment with it for 30 days.  I will eventually purchase this program, once I start making more sales.  In the meantime, I can use Windows Live Photo Gallery to do make simple adjustments like exposure, colour, highlights, shadows, contrast, and cropping. 

I hope this post was somewhat helpful, or at least you got a good laugh at my early photography skills.  Since a good chuckle is healthy, here are some more of my early disastrous attempts at photography.

Too dark; too many props. Ugh.

Ugly distractions in the background. 

Hideous lighting.  I took this picture on top of my computer.  
Boring white background that doesn't even look white.

Harsh lighting. Yuk.

Adieu, readers.

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