Help! I’ve lost it!

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Jan 192015
 

We’ve all lost it before.

No matter how ‘with it’ we think we are – there are times when we’re moving so fast and we have so much going on that we just lose it.

Right?

Come on – you’ve had it happen – you’re scrolling through facebook and you see a really interesting link to a tutorial or website but you don’t have time to click right then and read/watch. When you try to find it later – no luck…..you’ve lost it!

Well, no more!

I have the answer for you – and it’s right at your finger, errr, mouse?tip. 🙂

Watch the video to use this overlooked Facebook tool.

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Jan 062015
 

Seems like many of us struggle with social media. We know we need to use it to enhance our business and many of us use at least one platform for personal enhancement as well. 😉 And MANY of us also feel overwhelmed at times.

Which ones to use, how to use them, pros, cons and how do we stop getting a bajillion alerts every day (hour?) (minute?)?

We’ll share some of our tips and maybe answer some questions, so please take a look at our first video about Facebook notifications and then comment below with any questions you may have.

Orangedivider

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May 032011
 

We all love to create. We all love to SHARE our creations with others. And why not? We work had and we’re proud of our work! Right?

After spending hours creating and more hours taking photos, nothing is worse than uploading them only to find out they are out of focus, or dark, or there is too much glare. It can be very discouraging!

After receiving many many questions about what camera I use and the set-up etc. I decided to condense into 5 areas that *I* think are the most important

1. KNOW THY CAMERA

Jewelry Artists Network Photography Tips

Those little dials help!

Seriously, this is number one. Its the main deal here folks. Get to know your camera. Read the manual or just experiment, but KNOW what the dials and buttons are for. Understand what they do and use that to your advantage.

General tips –

  • set the ISO at 100 or less
  • turn off the flash
  • use macro setting
  • adjust the exposure

And yes, the type of camera matters. I know many people get great photos with relatively inexpensive cameras, so you don’t have to spend a fortune for a camera like the Rebel. After going through many cameras, I finally have one that I love and it didn’t break the bank. I use a Panasonic Lumix. Its a point and shoot but itsa great camera with some really nice features for jewelry, like the macro-zoom. I thought macro was great, but macro-zoom takes it to a whole other level!

2. USE A LIGHTBOX

It does’t have to be expensive. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be store bought!

But it really can make a huge difference in your results.

Jewelry is a difficult shot because of the light reflection – it bounces off the metal and stones creating glare and out of focus shots. For crisp clear images – use a lightbox.

When I started I made a lightbox from a semi-transparent plastic tub. (ok, when I FIRST-FIRST began, I used a plastic gallon milk jug top cut off and the bottom cut out) Any semi-transparent container will diffuse the light. You can be more creative and use some sort of cloth over a makeshift frame or tissue paper (just be careful with your lights!! they can get hot!)

I now use this lightbox – it was inexpensive and I like that it folds flat. Space is an issue for me, so this works well. (the price has gone up but its still worth it!)


3. LIGHTING

This deserves its own heading because I can’t over stress the importance of lighting. You need to understand your lighting. Whether you  use natural light streaming in from a window (or if you take your party outside) or artificial light – halogen, daylights, whatever. .. . the DIRECTION of your light, any GLARE, etc will impact your photos.

I like to use lighting coming from all angles to reduce shadows.

If you don’t have enough light sources, use mirrors. Set them outside of the shot, opposite a light and they will bounce light back in the opposite direction!

4. BACKGROUND

Many people don’t realize what a colossal effect different backgrounds have on images. Again, it has to do with how the light plays off it.  I find that matte backgrounds work best. I don’t have a preference for light OR dark backgrounds but I can tell you that alter my camera settings differently if I am shooting on black rather than white. (refer back to #1!)

5. STEADY DOES IT

It pays to do all you can to reduce movement of the camera.

Jewelry Artists Network Photography Tips

Use the timer! Your finger pushing down the button to trip the shutter WILL move the camera, and even the slightest movement will have an effect on your images.

Don’t hold your camera – use a tripod or set your camera on a box or stack of books. Anything to reduce movement.

And finally #6 (I know I said 5, but I can’t hold back here!)

My best tip is to use a notebook. TAKE NOTES. Any time you alter your set-up, document it. Then compare the images against the set up. See what works best for you.

If taking notes is too cumbersome – take a photo. That’s right! Take a photo! Each time you change something, back up and get a picture of the set-up. When you load your photos on the computer there will be a photo set-up image prior to the new pictures. Delete the ones that don’t work – save photos of the set-up that does. It will make duplicating awesome photos very easy!

~*~*~*~*~

So those are the 5 (ok, 6) things that I often talk to people about. Next time I’ll share some of my favorite backgrounds, the use of props, setting up for illusions (floating jewelry anyone?) and more. I won’t tell you which way to go, as I think different situations warrant different set ups. I’ll just show you how to go about it. Then you decide what suits your purposes. 🙂

What are your best photography tips?

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Apr 262011
 

We all go through periods where we feel less than creative.

Typically we are either burned out or bored.

Some people have the luxury to wait it out.  But for others creation is part of their livelihood and waiting it out really isn’t an option.

So what to do?

Well, there may be a multitude of things that might work, however, we’ll present 10 that are tried and true according to our research and discussions in the forum.

10 Ways to (re)Charge Creativity


1GO FOR A WALK. Get out of your studio, change your scenery, let the different sights and sounds and smells help clear your head. By far this is the most often suggested solution.

2. – READ SOMETHING.

Anything.

Leave your studio and take ten minutes to read.

Many artists find that this focuses their thoughts to the point that when they return to the studio, they are able to direct their thoughts and energies towards creating.

Continue reading »

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Sep 222010
 

Color on Metal – Out of the grey and into the blue.

MANY artists use liver of sulphur (LOS) to create a black or grey patina on sterling. But that is not the ONLY color range that LOS offers!

With a little tweaking of the solution, you can achieve variations from reddish brown to blues and purples.

By varying the concentration of the LOS mixture and also the temperature of the mixture, one can get reddish colors – brown, and also blue to purple and adding other components to the mix achieves even brighter blues and purples.

LOS comes in chunk, liquid, and even gel form now. The following observations have been made using chunk form mixed with warm water to dissolve.

Dark grey or black – a strong mixture of LOS in relation to water is used. If the mixture is hot, the patina process will go MUCH faster, creating a deep black very quickly. (be careful, sometimes this can apply such a thick layer that it will flake off) When desired color is achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Reds and browns – a weaker mixture of LOS/water is used. AND a more ambient temperature solution. Dip metal quickly and don’t rinse. Wait and watch colors develop. Keep dipping and watching the process.When desired color is achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Blues and purples – a weak mixture of LOS and water. . . or day old mixture may be used. Add industrial strength ammonia to the mixture. (this is ‘professional’ grade cleaning ammonia, ensure proper ventilation when using) Heat metal. (can be done by running under VERY hot water). Dip quickly or paint patina onto metal. Watch CLOSELY as color develops. The metal will go through stages of color. Repeat the heating and painting process until the desired colors are achieved, rinse metal in cold water to interrupt the patination process.

Here is a picture of a sterling piece done in this manner:

Red, blue, green, maybe purple can be seen, and it has an irridescent quality to it.

Here is the reverse side with no flash on camera:

Patinas are not always stable. They can change over time. For this reason, a sealant is often used. Either wax of some sort – Renaissance Wax is a favorite among many; or a fixative spray (Nikolas lacquer has been highly recommended) to preserve color but note that anything placed over a patina will change the effect to some degree as it changes the way light plays over the surface of the metal.

Below you can see the same piece after about 7 mos in a drawer, in no protective wrapping and NO sealant having been applied. Unfortunately the photo itself is pretty poor, there is a lot of glare, however the blues/greens/reds are still visible in various places

and the back ‘after’ picture:

This pendant was colored using day old LOS soultion that had faded to a weak yellow/straw color.

Straight ammonia was added to the LOS solution. There is no need to be specific with ratios, one of the joys of patinas is in experimentation.

The room temperature mixture was ‘painted’ on with a papertowel very lightly, wiping dry, then applying more,then wiping dry until the desired colors were achieved.

The nice thing is if you go too far you can take it off and start again.

One tip – KEEP a notebook for patinas handy on your bench. Record your process including:

  • patina ingredients and amounts
  • meta used
  • temperature of solution
  • temperature of metal
  • method of applying (dunked, painted, misted, etc)
  • time left on
  • rinsing in between applications (if any)
  • repetition of process (if any)

General instructions for LOS in chunk form:

Use a heat tolerated container. Add a quarter cup of hot water. Add one small chunk (a little less than the size of a pea). Wait for it to dissolve. Swirl container to mix.

The LOS is ready to use. Mixed LOS solutions are not very stable. They will degrade over time and usually are not saved. however, for some of the color variations noted above, retaining your mixed LOS can serve a purpose!  LOS will weaken overnight, losing its color (turning more clear) and eventually have a skim or flakes on the surface. When the LOS solution gets to that point – it’s dead. ..inactive, and can be poured down the drain (from what we’ve read). If your solution is still yellow, it is ‘active’ and should be disposed of according to your local requirements.

More on patinas coming soon!

See more Tips & Tricks
Free Jewelry Making Tutorial – Dual Balled Ring

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