Tips for photographing Jewellery using photoshop!
So it's that time of year again....the C word is coming up faster than expected! I can't believe another year has almost passed already! And with that, it meant photographing more stock, more editing, etc etc, which got me thinking...
Using photographers whose job is to take commercial shots, edit, make it look absolutely gorgeous are always going to come up on top of how to take jewellery photography. And if you have the cash and a good source, I would always advise going down that route, they are the best at the end of the day!
But what if you don't want to spend that cost on photographers to start, or need to have it quickly and not look too shabby? It is always good to know afew ways to improve your photo's yourself, take good shots etc, so I thought I would share afew tips I found out through multiple searches along the way. They're not a sure thing but they have definitely helped.
Now I use photoshop to edit my photography, it is amazing program that has all sorts of helpful features and these things help make my photos better, which is great considering silver jewellery is one of the hardest things to photograph.
TIP 1: Lighting:
Personally, I use an led light box with a reflective cover to photograph the jewellery. I have gone through many light boxes trying to find the best one for what I do. Whilst there are many expensive options, (believe me I tried them) this has appeared to be the best one for me. It comes as a travel kit and can be purchased on ebay for around £70. The size makes it quite diverse and creates an evenly lit background.
Photographs can be taken from the top or the side of the booth.
Most light boxes come with 3 different colours backgrounds. I mainly stick to white.
Make sure you have a dark room and your normal lights off to keep it as a single light source.
More sophisticated cameras have a setting to measure your white background so it gets the correct colour. If your camera has this option, use this.
Try to diffuse light. This light box comes with a sheet that goes over the lights to create a softer light. Also with some of my pieces, I will use a piece of black card either underneath, to the side, anywhere that can help make it darker where it needs to instead of having a high reflection.
Tip 2: Focus:
Macro shots are lovely, but can be not very helpful when you have quite a big piece. An ideal situation is to take multiple shots and use the photostacking mode in photoshop. Bear in mind, this either works or it doesn't! The concept is simple...
Take multiple shots, changing your focus on different sections on the jewellery, then merge each photo together. This means you can have the crisp photo of a total piece but all merged into one photo. You change the focus using a rail (a piece of photography equipment that means you slide the camera up and down, changing your focus on different sections, but not physically moving the camera yourself on a tripod to different spots.) Photostacking is great, but I personally, leave it to the pro's. They are the ones who can do absolute wonders with this option, it sounds simple, but in reality, it can be abit tricky if not done right.
In conclusion, just use a normal mode on your camera instead of macro if you wish for less to come across blurry. Its probably the easiest option if your going DIY instead of pro.
Tip 3: Photoshop:
I tend to overexpose my photos slightly, this helps when it comes to the background in photoshop.
Always duplicate layers, that way if you make a mistake you can just remove the layer instead of the whole thing. Also working with layers means you can blend them on layers below.
Filter > Sharpen > Unmask Sharpen
Make sure you have this on preview, that way it will show you before you accept the changes. Have a play with the settings of the radius and threshold to help sharpen your piece.
Duplicate layer > Filter > Other > High pass .....then go to your layers box, where it says normal, change your blending options to overlay. This filter can help enhance your stones if you have stones in a piece. I tend to merge the layer down after selecting this option (right click the layer > merge down)
Duplicate layer > Go the layer box that says normal, scroll down until you see multiply and select..
This effect will appear that your piece has darkened, without changing your white background. Use the opacity to lighten the silver/jewellery to create the darkness you need.
Image > Adjustments > Hue/saturation
This option can help turn the silver into a better grey colour and get rid of any sign of orange/yellows etc.
Image > Adjustments > Levels
Move the cursors to help lighten/darken areas of your jewellery.
And thats it! Like previously stated, these will not by any means replace actual photographers, but if you just wanted afew ways to improve your photography, these have definitely worked for me :-) Hope this helps!