Jewellery photography on a budget
If you want to sell your jewellery – or enter competitions – good photography is essential.
For many people a top of the range camera and access to a studio is outside their working budget. So photographer Elaine Yeung, who takes photographs for London Jewellery School, has some tips on how you can get great pictures on a budget.
1. If you don’t have a decent camera, ask your friends / people in your network to borrow one or consider renting one from a camera shop. A good camera and lens will allow you greater control in the photos you take. Equipment rental is also useful to try out cameras or other photography gear before committing to buying them.
2. To avoid camera shake if you are not using a tripod, use objects to rest the camera against to increase stability. Also use the time delay function on the camera, as even pressing the shutter button to take a photo creates movement.
3. For the surface and backdrop, a variety of materials can be used. These are easy to obtain and could even be found around the home. Experiment with white paper, card, stone tile samples and fabrics (such as bedsheets). For reflective pieces of jewellery, such as silver, consider using a mirror, translucent or opaque plastic sheets.
4. Consider taking photos in natural daylight, either near a window or outside on a bright but cloudy day. The clouds spread the light so that it is not direct and harsh but an even ambient light. If you are using natural daylight to take photos inside remember to turn off any other lights so that you are not mixing the different light sources.
5. You don’t need to buy lamps that are especially for photography. You can use regular task/ table lamps although make sure you use the same type of bulb so the light being emitted is of the same brightness and colour.
6. If you don’t have a light tent, you can make your own with a cardboard box and replacing the walls with tracing paper / tissue paper. Alternatively, use A4 sized photo frames, and using the frame to hold a sheet of tracing paper in place rest this infront of the lamp to diffuse the light.
7. Use the principle of reflecting light back at your piece to minimise shadows. Try using white paper, card or kitchen foil.
8. Last but not least, some cotton gloves or cloths are priceless to ensure your pieces are dust and fingerprint free in your photos.