Sunday, 16 August 2009

My Jewellery Photography Journey

I think that taking photographs of jewellery is itself an art. It’s certainly something that I’ve not found easy. All sorts of questions and doubts have plagued me in my quest to show my work to others.

Should I aim for a picture that truly represents the piece or one that is staged like it could be out of a magazine? Is it ok to ‘doctor’ the final image with software or should you experiment until you get the perfect, natural, shot? And that is before I’ve taken the cap off the lens of my camera! Argh…

Eventually I summoned my courage and placed myself at the kitchen table in plenty of light from the patio doors and took some shots. They weren’t great and certainly would never make it onto the pages of Vogue, but they showed my jewellery as it looked in real life and that was good enough for me.

Hmm, first problem was how to show the earrings. (None of the males in the house wanted to model them.) Luckily the laptop lid covered that. Second problem was too dark, on came kitchen light. Third problem was camera shake. Oh heck they’ll do!!

Looking at the photo now I think it’s hideous, but I desperately wanted to show off my design at the time, so it served it’s purpose.

The next pair of earrings I wanted to have a better picture of and I scoured the internet for some tips and out came a glass from the cupboard and the snak.. err.. glass tank behind it gave some interesting background blur. Ooo nearly arty enough for a Sunday magazine!

Now I was really pleased with this photograph, but that layout wouldn’t work for every piece of jewellery that I made. How the heck would I get a bracelet, let alone a 20 inch necklace to drape around a glass? Back to the drawing board.

A life-changing move later, I was starting all over again with my photographing dilemma in a new house and minus all of my well planned props. But I had treated myself to a Wacom tablet and now had access to my mother’s angle-point lamp complete with daylight light bulb. I had begun an era of ‘mood’ photography. Dramatic sparkly gemstones on a silver background that faded to grey. Fantastic.

Except that some things are just too big for the tablet. Ok, so I will ‘doctor’ the photo and erase the lines. Nope, I didn’t have the patience. Well, sometimes you just can’t think straight and it took my kids to state the obvious.                           “Take the plastic cover off Mum!!!”

Yep, it’s better, but I can’t crop it anymore and the edges of the tablet are distracting. Also I’m not happy with the shine of the tablet at the front and the polymer clay beads are more shiny than they are in real life using the lamp.

It was time to bite the bullet and invest in a light tent.

Part 2 of this thread coming soon

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