25 October 2011

How to take great Etsy photos - Part 3-1 – Photoshop – Black

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.

Black items, what a lot of the items in my shop are quite easy. You will see that the photo I took has a lot of issues. A reflection of the light source, the back end of the necklace hanging, the side of the light box edge being seen creating a black spot. All of these can be fixed in a couple easy steps.

Step one: Levels. In Photoshop it is in the image > adjustments > levels. There will typically be a nice curve with leading and trailing places that are very close to nothing. Take the little slider on the right and drag it toward the curve, and put it where it starts to upswing. This typically takes all of the background from the white box and turns it to a nice clear white.

Step two: Magic Wand. There are tons of ways to select things in Photoshop, but I find this the easiest. I showed one friend it, after he had used other methods for years, and he was amazed at how much better it was. Do note: you need to have high resolution photos or it can start to select odd things and in that case you are better off using other methods (see next week for some). It is easy to use, click on the part that is suppose to be white, chances are, your background isn’t even if it looks it. Then, hit the delete key. CTL+D deselects so that you can move onto something else. If you get frustrated with this, you can change the tolerance to include things closer to the color you are selecting, or more variety. When all else fails, just erase it. I would just erase the black line from the edge of the box anyways.

Step three: Crop. Now, no matter how white I get the background, the end of the necklace is not leaving. So, I crop. Here is where you can make up for the mistakes of the past. Make the focus of the photo, in this case the charm, come fairly close to filling the frame. Now for the fun part. You will notice that the first photo is vertical and the finished horizontal. I like to keep all my Etsy photos at 1000 wide and 750 tall, for a variety of reasons, one being consistency. So, because I have that pure white background I can change the image size, and canvas size, adding or subtracting background as needed without having to make sure it matches. Perfect.

Come back next week for the next part!

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