So you’ve made a stunning piece that you need to photograph, but the pictures just don’t do it justice. Why not?
A lot of people jump to the conclusion that the problem is the camera itself, it’s too old, it’s not expensive enough, the lens isn’t good enough. I beg to differ. Chances are it’s not the camera, but the settings on the camera that haven’t been adjusted for the piece.
Initially I thought as most people did: My camera just sucks, I need a new one! Luckily, before I shelled out another $200.00+ on a new camera, I decided to browse the Etsy blogs to see if there were any tricks I needed to try. I am so grateful to those that took the time to post their tips and saved me the extra money! So I’ve complied my favorite tips here so hopefully others can run with these and take great pictures too!
LIGHTING– While I was reading through the Etsy tutorials on photographing, one thing everyone seemed to agree on was use of a light box, a daylight bulb and a pleasing background. So after seeing CRAZY prices for a light box, I decided to create my own, as I wrote about in my blog post.
If you’re not working with a stable lighting source, like a light box, it’s time to invest in one. I created mine for less than $10.00 and took less than an hour to put together! It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to work!
MACRO MODE– Macro mode is your best friend when photographing anything up close. “Macro” actually means large, so it’s unusual that you’d use a “large mode” to photograph something small and up close. However, what this mode is doing is it’s allowing the smaller objects you’re photographing to come into a larger scale.
This setting can be found in a number of places depending on the make and model of your camera, however, it is always designated by a flower symbol (pictured). Most cameras will have it along some sort of dial option, or else listed under settings.
Some older or cheaper cameras won’t have a macro mode. Now a days though, you won’t really find a camera that won’t have this option somewhere, even most camera phones have them now. My Android does, it’s actually my back up camera for when my Nikon lithium battery dies!
WHITE BALANCE– The white balance option on a camera allows for the camera to adjust the color contrasts in a photo. Most cameras now will have specific settings depending on the type of light: night time, daylight, florescent, etc. If you’re working with a light box and have purchased a daylight bulb, you may wish to set you camera to daylight.
However, I recommend that with any piece, set up you photo first using the positioning, background and lighting that you will actually be shooting with. Then turn on your camera and look through your view finder or screen while adjusting your white balance settings. You want to chose the setting with the LEAST amount of yellow tinting. You’re colors should be crisp and clear; your whites should be WHITE, not yellow or cream. If you cannot find a white balance that is completely color balanced, chose the best one, and you can edit it later using Photoshop or another photo editor.
PHOTOSHOP– Photoshop is your BESTEST friend in the business. I used to think that editing your photo in any way was sort of cheating. However, as I’ve begun to use Photoshop, I realized how great of a tool it can be to making your jewelry really pop and giving your photos that finalized professional look!
If you’ve never used Photoshop it can be a little intimidating. There’s so many settings it can get confusing! So here’s all you really need to know:
1. Adjusting your Levels. You’ll find this option under IMAGE>>ADJUSTMENTS>>LEVELS
2. With Levels open, you’ll see a mountain type arrangement showing your spread of black and white levels- Foreign language? All you need to know is the little white triangle (marked in red below) under the right hand side of the mountain needs to be moved until it is under the right hand side of the black mountain.
3. You’ll notice that you’re image has brightened up by a decent amount. The more you had to move the white triangle, the greater the different will be in your photo.
4. Now that your levels have been adjusted, it’s time to adjust the sharpness. Go to FILTER>>SHARPEN>> UNSHARP MASK.
5. Your amount should be set to 120%; Radius to 5.0 pixels; Threshold 8.0 pixels. You’ll get a preview of what your photo will look like after the sharpening has been applied.
6. Apply the changes by hitting OK.
7. If your photo isn’t as white or bright as you wanted it, try adjusting your levels one more time. You may also play with some of the brightness and contrast settings until the photo is exactly the way you like it.
I hope some of my tips and tricks help all my crafty beader friends in their journeys to creating better photos to really wow the crowd this holiday season and make the most out of your online store! Remember that while your pieces may be stunning in person and sell like hot cakes off your wrist, it’s harder to imagine the piece as YOURS when you view it online. Your photos need to tell the story of your piece and create an emotional connection with your buyer that makes them go “I NEED this!” Make your store stand out with stunning photos that speak volumes about your pieces.
Happy Beading Everyone!
Mandy of NiteDreamerDesigns
Handcrafted Swarovski Jewelry
Jewelry is More than a Pretty Piece