Monday 21 September 2015

Photography Woes

Like many jewellery artisans I have struggled with taking good photos of the pieces I make. There’s lots of advice online and much of it is good. I find though there are still some things I struggle with, good lighting, staging, and composition for example.

Over time I have been slowly developing my style and preferences for photos. I feel I have finally gotten to a point where I am satisfied with photos taken outdoors, and with the staging and props aspect.

Here are some before and after shots, with details of the differences:

Before – Spirit Waters Necklace

After – Spirit Waters Necklace

The before photo was taken indoors, in my handmade light box. My biggest problem is that I don’t have the correct bulbs. I even went out and bought a special bulb designed to mimic natural light. Only problem is, I purchased on in the warm light spectrum. It’s way too yellow.

The after photo was taken outdoors, on top of tile for our barbecue “kitchen”. The beautiful, true colours of the necklace can finally be seen.

This is the barbecue kitchen I mentioned:

Before – Floating Above Earrings

After – Floating Above Earrings

Again, the before photo was taken indoors in my light box. In the after photo, also taken outdoors like the necklace, the earrings were hung from the side of a hurricane lantern we’ve had for years, this one:

The lantern has aged and rusted a bit since the earring photo was taken, but it still makes a great background prop

Before – Flying Free Earrings

After – Flying Free Earrings

The before photo is one of my first attempts to improve my photography. It was taken outdoors. I used a special sewing pattern “paper”, a type of cloth made of fibres that cross in random directions and are fused together. The underlying surface shows through the loose weave and distracts from the earrings.

The after photo of the earrings was not cropped tight to give a perspective of size. The 3 inch long earrings are sitting on some pieces of slate from a broken roof tile. This perspective doesn’t quite work for these earrings and later on I figured out how to hang the earrings from the larger bottom piece and get it to stand.

And the final set of photos:

Before – Framed Splendour Necklace

After 1 – Framed Splendour Necklace

After 2 – Framed Splendour Necklace

The before photo of this necklace was taken in the days before I had a light box. Considering there was no proper lighting it’s surprising how well the photo came out.

The props for both of the after photos were just purchased on Saturday at an outdoor antique market about an hour away from home.

After photo number 1 uses an antique wood heating grate, which is apparently the type originally used for in floor ventilation openings. I was told that the grate would be placed into an opening in the floor just above a wood stove. Heat from the stove would rise to the upper floor through the opening. I took this photo wide in order to show off the grate itself.

After photo 2 is one of the first photos taken with my new to me bust of a young goddess or handmaiden. I’m not sure which she would be or even how old she is. I was so excited to find her I forgot to ask. Truth be told I don’t think she’s all that old. The status is extremely light and has been repainted to give a slightly worn appearance but the coat of paint is much too smooth for an antique or vintage item. She’s a little smaller than what I would prefer but I’m happy with her.

Except for the counter tile I’ll be able to use all the props indoors when the Ontario weather changes. Now I just have to find the right lights.

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