Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Photographing Jewelry Is Hard

February 12, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 6
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Photographing Jewelry Is Hard
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode I am going to share my top tips for photographing your jewelry to sell and I will also be sharing inexpensive photography hacks that have been shared by our community over the years.

Today’s episode sponsor is Replica Surfaces, they make lightweight photography backgrounds you can use to get consistent photos of your latest jewelry collection. Use our code: Photos12 to save 12%: https://www.replicasurfaces.com/?ref=ASI4olCoqkWO10

You can find the Nikon camera and macro lens I personally use on the Metalsmith Society Amazon Storefront List Of Photography Tools: https://www.amazon.com/shop/influencer-24072660/list/3BI3VV6TXPTRC?tag=onamzcornelia-20&ref_=aip_sf_list_spv_ofs_mixed_d

Instagram tip using hot glue from: https://www.instagram.com/p/B0vcoVpHxB9/

Tip for photographing chain:: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqSEYfAH5j3/

Tip for propping up your work: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTZlJ-BnJL7/

Tip for photographing rings that are too big for your fingers: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt3MCHmg7Tv/

Try the Tip Search Page, you can type in “photography” or any other keyword to find tips we have shared on that topic: https://tips.metalsmithsociety.com/tips

Join me on Patreon! So many perks, exclusive discounts and a monthly giveaway from one of our sponsors! https://www.patreon.com/metalsmithsociety

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metals mith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metals mith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious, lucky lose eager to learn about jewelry making. Together, we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me In today's episode. I'm going to share my top tips for photographing your jewelry to sell, and I will also be discussing photography tips that have been shared by our community over the years. Before I get into today's episode, I want to tell you about our sponsor, replica Surfaces. Now, this is actually the perfect sponsor for this week, because Replica Surfaces sell photography backgrounds that I personally use for my jewelry business. There are these lightweight, durable surfaces that come in a huge variety of colors, so that you can find something that matches your brand and aesthetic. I've been using the white background and the cement for years. You can support the page when you shop through my link in the show notes and use code PHOTOS12 to save 12% off your order.

Corkie Bolton:

Replica Surfaces is a great segue into my first tip, which is to try your best to be consistent in your product shots. If one day you're outside and the next your work is on a crystal and then after that you draped it over your cat and you put all those images on your website, it will definitely be a vibe, but they unfortunately won't look cohesive. So one way you can get that cohesive look is by selecting and using two to three photography backgrounds. It could be something like a Replica Surface, but you could also use textured paper, fabric, linen. You can definitely find inexpensive options. Consider your branding and avoid anything that's crazy distracting. For example, if I place my jewelry on a ceramic dish that has beautifully painted flowers all over it, the jewelry might become lost and the customer might be pondering that dish more than my jewelry. My second tip is about lighting. Over the years I've tried pretty much everything, including expensive light boxes, and the conclusion I've come to is that my jewelry looks best when shot in bright, indirect light. Many jewelers have reported that a bright, overcast day gave them some of their best picks. Direct Sun will definitely create shadows, which most people are trying to avoid.

Corkie Bolton:

Avoiding reflections is another huge topic. Anytime we share any tips about photography, people are like how do I avoid reflections in my work? And I'm going to start by saying that if you buy a satin finish, you'll never have that problem. I love satin finish in my work, but I understand that many of us use a high polish. If your work has a large high polished area, it is going to be hard to avoid reflections. But here's some things you can try. What I've done in the past is I've actually taken a white poster board even like a foam board that has a little bit more stiffness to it and what I did was I cut a hole out for my camera and I shot through that hole to help avoid the reflection of myself, the camera being cast into my work. I've also used a white piece of paper as I'm shooting. If I didn't use the poster board, I've used a white piece of paper and held it in a position where it can cast that white reflection onto my work. This is a little hard to describe on a podcast, but you're kind of just moving the piece of paper around until you can see that it's being reflected in your work. And lastly, photography day is probably not the day to rock your hot pink metal smith society shirt, because that hot pink might show up in your work.

Corkie Bolton:

My biggest tip, which you may or may not like, is, if you're serious about your jewelry business and you plan to take your own pictures, invest in a camera with a macro lens. There are so many out there, but I will share the one that is linked in my Amazon storefront. It's the one that I use. It's a Nikon and since it's an older model, you can find them refurbished, but it's certainly not the only game in town. A camera with a macro lens set up on a tripod is gonna allow you to get really up close, and you can.

Corkie Bolton:

What it does that you can't do with an iPhone is it allows you to get a higher f-stop. The f-stop is the focal length. It's how much light is getting into the camera lens. The lower the f-stop, the less depth of field and the blurrier the background of your image is gonna be. If you increase the f-stop number, you're gonna get a greater depth of field and a sharper background as a result. So in the case of jewelry, you do want everything sharp and in focus. You wanna show off all those little details of your work. So when you do have a piece in focus as well, you can then remove the background more easily. If you want product shots on a pure white background, which is pretty popular in the industry For those that can't afford a new camera, both Android phones and iPhones are getting more and more amazing with every passing year. If you use them on a tripod and, better yet, get a little wireless remote, that can really help you take consistent pics. It's a little harder when you're holding your phone in your hand and maybe you're shaking a little, and that can definitely cause a little bit more blurriness.

Corkie Bolton:

Now let's talk about some of the community tips that have been shared over the years. This first one is from Zapt Jewelry, and she shared this back in 2019. And the tip showed using hot glue a very small amount to prop up jewelry. Hold a ring up, keep something from rolling, prop up a pair of earrings. I really like this idea and when it was shared, there were a lot of people that popped up in the comments with other materials that they use Tacky wax, beeswax, dental wax that's used for braces, museum putty. I think all of them work great and I just love that this tip brought about that concept of if something is falling over or not being held, you can think about a solution like this. So, whether you do use the hot glue gun or you use some sort of wax, you can prop up your work and get that really great shot.

Corkie Bolton:

One consideration is, if you are using the hot glue or one of these other materials and you're photographing your work on paper, it might leave a residue or rip the paper, so that is a consideration. Probably most of those solutions will work best on a harder surface, like a plastic background. You also wanna think about hiding this material, because, unless you're a wizard in Photoshop, you're not gonna want it to show up in your images. The next tip I shared in 2018, and I actually learned this at Pratt from my professors when you wanna get a chain looking really nice in a photograph, use a small paintbrush to guide the chain into the position that you want. You wanna make sure that your paintbrush is clean and isn't shedding bristles everywhere, because in photography we generally wanna minimize things that will distract from our jewelry dirt, lint, cat hair, et cetera.

Corkie Bolton:

I love the tip shared back in 2021 by Fifth Element Jewelry. In it, she's using a slotted wooden spoon, held with a knife on a tripod, to suspend and hang four pairs of her beautiful earrings. This was a very popular tip because it resonated with our community that we are problem solvers and we need to think outside the box. So, while you may not mimic this exact setup, you might consider what household items you have around to help you get the shot. The post is also a great example of shooting outside, not in direct sun but you can get some really great results.

Corkie Bolton:

What about when you need to photograph rings on your hand, or even take that shot for a story on Instagram, and your rings are several sizes too big? You can try this tip shared by NR Jewelry Design, where she wore these really large rings and she stuffed the back you know, on the backside inside the ring with blue tack to keep the rings from spinning around. This post had many people asking about the inverse what if your fingers are too big to wear the rings you've created? And I do have a suggestion or two for that. I mean, clearly, if the ring doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. But if you can fit it on the tips of your fingers, that's not bad. But I think what works really great is purchasing a ring cone and thinking about purchasing some other photography props. If you head over to Etsy there are tons and tons to choose from. You can support another small business. You'll want to consider your branding before you buy one. But yeah, ring cones, they're fantastic for photographing rings.

Corkie Bolton:

In researching for this podcast episode, I went back to tips. metalsmithsocietycom and I searched photography and I was able to see all the tips we've ever shared about photography and I'll link the tip search in the show notes.

Corkie Bolton:

But it made me realize that we haven't shared a ton of photography tips. I think they're not quite as sexy as some of the you know fabrication and soldering tips, but I do think they're very important. And so if you have a photography tip that you would like to share with our community, please shoot a video, take some photos and email me over at tips@ metalsmithsociety. com. I would love to feature you and share that tip with our community. I hope you found today's episode helpful and, as a reminder, I will share the links to all of the Instagram tips and products in the show notes for you to be able to check out. If you love the podcast, please consider giving me a rating and telling a friend. And if you want to support me on Patreon, you can check that out at patreon. com/ metalsmithsociety and as a perk, you're going to be automatically entered into a monthly giveaway and get exclusive promo codes from our sponsors. I hope you'll tune in next time. Bye.

Intro and Sponsor with Discount Code
Corkie's Photography Tips
Photography Tips From The Community
Tip Search and Outro