Thursday, September 11, 2008

... More on long necklaces

Using a mannequin to show scale for long necklaces works really well. I shot several more necklaces today using this method. One thing that I noticed today is that I liked the necklace best on very simple clothing.

For consistency, if I had a jewelry website, I would try to shoot all of my pieces against similar clothing. If I chose white, I would purchase a few similar white tops, and alternate styles in between shots. Keeping the same color ties it all together.

Dressing the mannequin is getting much faster and easier. In these two shots I was happy I had purchased a long curly wig so that I could use the hair to cover the seams where the arms join the torso.

Tomorrow I will work on the close-up shots of the same items. If they were for sale, I would want buyers to see the mannequin shot for scale, but then a close-up shot to show the necklace detail. They are both quite elaborate in design, and have beautiful stones that will look great in a macro shot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Solution to photographing long necklaces?

In our last jewelry photography workshop we had a number of people frustrated with shooting extra long necklaces;wishing to have a way to show a sense of scale. I promised to get to work after the workshop trying out a few ideas I had, to see if they worked.

I purchased a life sized 5'9" female mannequin & wig, dressed her in my own clothing, and photographed her using two of our largest Kuhl Lite 120R softboxes, measuring 20" x 30". The photo I took today is shown here. Do you think she looks real? To suspend the belief this is a real model, I cropped her just below the chin. Her face does not look real, and is not needed for the necklace scale. I think this works really well for showing a sense of scale. If you used an image like this, you would still want a nice closeup to go along with it of course.

The upside is that a mannequin stands stone still, is always on time and allows even an amateur to get good results.

The down side is a mannequin doesn't dress itself and a quality mannequin and wig will set you back a few hundred dollars. Still, this is less expensive than a live model, who would need to be scheduled and paid every time you recieved new merchandise.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What is the best image editing software?

We recently received an email asking about software.

"I am currently using Picasa to edit my photos, but I am wondering if there is a particular software you recommend using?"

Here is my reply:

Picasa may be fine, I am not familiar with its features. Since I believe it is free, so I'm assuming you are looking for an inexpensive program. There are many good image editing programs on the market but we normally recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements. It is very powerful, fairly easy to use, and costs less than $80 (sometimes less than $60 with a rebate). Photoshop Elements has nice editing features, a very useful cataloging feature, and there are often local adult education or community college classes available to help you learn it. It shares many of the features of its more more powerful(and much more expensive) sibling Adobe Photoshop. So if you later outgrow Photoshop Elements, stepping up to Photoshop should be a smooth process.

The bottom line is if you already have a program that you like, and more importantly that you already know how to use, then you might want to stick with it. But if you are looking for a new image editing program, you should consider Photoshop Elements.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jewelry Photography Workshop with Brooks

The last Jewelry Photography workshop at Brooks Photography Institute was a big success. We are always thrilled to hear feedback from workshop attendees; and find some of our own TableTopStudio customers were there! This workshop group had some questions about ways to photograph long necklaces.

We will be exploring a few ideas this month, to see which one works best. One idea is to use a mannequin designed for clothing. This larger size form may work better than the small jewelry busts designed for store display use. The small busts are odd looking on the web because of their headless shape, and do not look natural. This detracts from the actual necklace on display.

The challenge is to find a way to achieve a more natural "drape" of the longer necklaces and show a btter sense of scale. Keep in mind you will always still need a close up photo to show more detail. We'll search for a better way to shoot your necklaces and let you know here. A special thank you from Tabletop Studio to Connie Myers {a student at Brooks Photography Institute} for providing the above photo.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brooks Photography Institute Workshops

We recently completed our fourth jewelry photography workshop with Brooks Institute. The workshop is a hands on experience working with relatively inexpensive lighting equipment combined with fantastic Brooks instruction. The last several workshops have sold out, due to the increasing popularity and class size restrictions.

For more information about the next workshop coming up in July please visit Brooks Institute of Photography workshop website for the full calendar and registration information.