Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tizzies Tutorial #6: How To Take Good Jewelry Photos

This isn't so much a tutorial as a few useful tips on how to improve the pictures of jewelry, accessories, and anything else that needs you to get close!

I am not a professional photographer, and my pictures aren't perfect, but these things helped me out a lot, so they should work for you too:

361/365 Lonely Apple
Make good use of the macro setting!

♥ Always use the macro setting on your camera. Usually the icon for the macro setting is a little tulip flower.

♥ When taking a picture, press the button only halfway down at first, this will make your camera focus. Once it focuses, click through.

♥ Select the right white balance for the light you are using. Not every camera has the same settings, but most cameras these days have at least the following options: Sunny, Cloudy & Artificial Light. If you choose the right white balance, you should be able to get true colors with any kind of light.

♥ If your camera has an option for "vivid colors", use it! This will make all colors so much brighter!

♥ Ditch the white background! Even when using the correct white balance, it's hard to get white to look white. So why bother? Just because a lot of shops use white backgrounds, doesn't mean you have to too! Besides, who needs white backgrounds with teams like The Crafting in Color Team around?

Just have a look at these 2 pictures:

348/365 Love Letter

349/365 Love Letter

The first image was taken on a white background. I spent a lot time editing it, and the background still looks greyish. The second picture hardly needed any editing at all, and in my opinion, looks a lot better!

♥ If there isn't enough light, pictures often turn out blurry. To fix this, you can either set the "ISO" higher, or use a Tripod. Setting the ISO higher can work out great, but it also increases "noise" in your pictures, so don't set it too high! A tripod is always great. I have a gorillapod myself, it can bend in all kinds of shapes, which makes it easier to take pictures from different angles.

♥ Talking about taking pictures from different angles: Do this! A picture that shows only part of the item, or from a strange angle, usually makes the picture a lot more interesting, and thus clickworthy. Most selling sites give you space for more than one picture, so you have plenty of space to show the item in full or in the other spots.

♥ After you finished taking your pictures, edit them in a program like Photoshop or Gimp. Gimp is free, and has some great tools that will really help your pictures look better. My Gimp is in Dutch, so I won't be able to post screenshots that would be useful, but I can tell you the tools I use a lot:

- The "automatic white balance" setting (Under "Colors").
- The "fade white balance" if it was a little too much.
- The "Unsharp Mask" to sharpen the picture. I usually set this to 1.1
- The "Curves" tool (under "Colors"), to make images lighter.
- The "Hue Saturation Tool" (under "Colors").

That last tool can do a lot! It can saturate colors (which makes them stand out more), change a color tone a little (like when pink looks a bit too salmon, you can change it with this tool), make colors lighter or darker, etc.

The one rule to stick to when post editing your pictures is: Don't overdo it. If you lighten a picture too much, the colors will get bland, if you sharpen it too much, it will look fake, and if you saturate it too much it will get blotchy. Also keep in mind that not all monitors look the same. What looks great on your screen might be eye hurtingly bright on another.

249/365 New Camera!

♥ Invest in a nice camera. I liked my old camera, it took nice, sharp and bright pictures, but once I got my new camera I noticed how much better this one is at taking macro shots. It creates a sense of dept, which makes pictures so much more interesting to look at.

A good camera does not have to be expensive. I have a Canon Powershot A720 IS, which is available for around $200.

♥ Get to know your camera. That new camera I am so happy with now, caused a lot of angry moments when I just bought it! Take the time to get to know your camera. Something that really helped my photography skills in general was doing "project 365", I took a picture every day, for a whole year. Something like that really helps you to get to know your camera, you can't wait for a sunny day to take the picture, you will have to make do with what the day offers you, so you figure something out.

I hope these tips were useful! Taking good pictures is tricky, but I hope these tips will at least make it a little easier for you!


  1. Your an angel!! ( I have been struggling with my pics) Such a helpful and informative post! Thankyou Sarah x

  2. Thanks for sharing! I may cave and try non white backgrounds!

  3. Thank you so much for your pointers! I get my husband to take all my photographs because I just have no faith in my skill, but you've inspired me to try again :)

  4. Awesome tips! If you look at my shop, you can see how my photography has evolved over time because of all the new things I'm doing to improve my photos. I really like your suggestion about trying non-white backgrounds. I think I'm going to try that next!

    ♥ xtine

  5. Good points! The background can make a difference. I try to choose the background so that it'd suit that particular item and my style the best possible way (not always easy job!).

  6. This is wonderful ideas. Thank you so much!


  7. very nice tips :) I usually use the curve tool to fix scanned or photographed art. it really helps with the values for me. We have a Canon too (A710IS) and it was really shocking the difference in the photos between it and our old camera. We are slowly killing this one I think though, take a lot of pictures with it lol

  8. Very helpful and you are absolutely right about the coloured background - never thought of it before. I also used white, but now considering what colour to use.

  9. thanks for fantastic tips, some of them I am already keeping in mind, but some I will have to start with!
    thank you again x

  10. absolutely great tips, tizz! photography is something i definately need to work on. thanks for the advise!

  11. Thanks so much for this. Very useful, love the idea of colourful backgrounds!

  12. Your comments are right on! Pictures can make or break an online store, and Canons are the best. I love my A1000IS!

  13. Oh Heck!

    Wonderful advice . . especially on the background colour . . but now I'll need to re-take over 160 photo's!

    Off to make a start now . . .

  14. Wonderful details on how to take good jewelry photos . Really detailed and fairly good tips. Cheers


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