Photographing jewelry can be very challenging!

There are often reflective surfaces to deal with and, because most pieces of jewelry are not flat, there is the challenge of the image having razor-sharp focus in one area only to have the rest of the piece out of focus and blurry beyond belief.  The lighting also has to be just right…too bright and you get glare, too dark and the colors will not show properly.  Getting a photo that is “just right” often translates to taking many shots and a lot of editing.  I often photograph my work on a low luster Lucite™ surface that gives subtle reflection, but even that poses problems because particles of dust in the atmosphere are attracted to it and seem to settle in the frame just as I snap the photo!  I prefer that my photos look like gallery shots with no distracting props, but in the case of this mixed media bracelet I broke my rule and resorted to a “fashion” shot somewhat reminiscent of photographs you might see in a magazine.   While the beaded portion of the bracelet is able to stand on its own, the chain maille section in the center has fluid drape so I was unable to stand the bracelet on its side.  Shown on a round armature, only the front or back of the bracelet could be seen which would not do justice to the piece.  In order to show the bracelet with depth and drape, I resorted to using props.  I truly dislike seeing jewelry photographed against lace, burlap, and barn wood, to name a few.  So often jewelry is photographed on materials that are totally incongruous with the theme of the piece.  This bracelet is titled “Belles Fleurs” and was inspired by the opulent era (1890 – 1910) when Art Nouveau was popular.  I tried many different ways to photograph this piece and took over one hundred shots using all manner of props.  Ultimately, I used an antique dictionary and a flask of perfume upon which to drape the bracelet.  This would not be an acceptable photo for a juried competition, but as a “fashion” photo, it works very well and I’m rather pleased with the composition!

~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on November 27, 2011.

6 Responses to “Photographing jewelry can be very challenging!”

  1. Barbara your photographs are so professional ! I am wondering if you could share which system you use, or if you built your own set up.


  2. Thank you, Meg! I use a Nikon D80 camera and two 30 watt daylight lamps and a pop-up light tent available from Photoshop Elements 9 comes in very handy for editing.


  3. I too agree with your method of photography. While I like to look at pictures with props I prefer to use nothing but my light tent and have a white background. Having maybe one ‘fashion’ shot of the piece either being worn or with props can be a good idea along with gallery pictures. I love reading your blog 🙂


  4. Thanks, Jen! Taking good photos requires a lot of time, patience, and taking loads of photos to arrive at a great end result, but in the end, is so worth it. Thank goodness we’re not at the mercy of film cameras any longer!


  5. Love the piece. Really like the combo of chain maille and seed beads.


  6. Thank you!


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