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
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!)
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!
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.
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?