18 October 2011

how to take great etsy photos - part 2 – the white box accessories

Welcome to the How-To Series about how I personally photograph my jewelry. My purpose is not to say that this is how to do all things. It is simply to give you an idea of how I do it so that you can improve your photos with ideas from me. Or, if you find something I do that is completely insane and you know how to do it better, please feel free to share.

Important to the light box are the lights. Here I have one desk lamp, without a shade and the other a shop light that clips to a PVC post I have (sometimes it just clamps to the foamcore or any near surface). I have placed them both near the edge of the box, allowing the light to fill the box. It also helps that they are not hitting the object being photographed directly, but instead have a 45 degree angle toward them. In the photo they are not turned on, but when they are they light up the box and the surrounding room with how bright they are. The bulbs I have used are not anything special; in fact they are the cheapest I have. The key is that I have them both the same type, out of the same box even. That way I can set my cameras white balance to accommodate the color of light they produce.

So, I have a box, and lights, but how do I get the effect that something is hanging? Simple, clear plastic blocks. Being an architecture student I come across the weirdest building materials. I actually found a pair of these in a garbage pile. I stack them up at different heights depending on the length of the object being photographed. I realize that you may not be so lucky, and have actually been able to find some nearly the same at Roberts. They sell them as material for some die-cut objects. But really, any clear material would work. I bet a chuck of glass would work. They key to having them work is to not allow the light to reflect off of it so that you can see it. Also, Photoshop, as the next part will explore. I also have a thin piece of plastic that I hang earrings off of. It has a slight curve so it stands by itself.

For white or clear items I have had a tough time photographing them. So, I decided that to back light them as well would work. It has had some success, but I haven’t perfected the accessory yet. I do have a sandblasted box that has a light in it. The key is to get something clear enough to see the light, but foggy enough to defuse the light. I believe there is a collection of such materials at your local home improvement store in the light fixture area. Think big sheets of it. I then have a light, same as the ones in front, that produce a light behind. The objects are then placed in front of the light source to create a bigger difference in the white of the object and the light source.

Come back next week for the next one!

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