Friday, February 18, 2011

Improving my Photographs

My photographs are much more miss than hit which has led me to the conclusion that I need to learn more about photography. 

On a bright sunny day I take a jewelry bust and a few props and head out the door.  On cold or overcast days, when I do not have time to wait for better conditions, I set up inside by draping a cloth behind my jewelry, focusing a few lights on it, and snapping away.  My pictures are washed out, have too many shadows, lack detail, and certainly do not do justice to my efforts. 

I am always hopeful that a bit of editing magic will make up for my lack of proper tools and my unpracticed photography skills.  You won’t be surprised to learn that hopes are often dashed. 

I need better photos in order to professionalize the sale of my jewelry.  The first step in better photos is to obtain a light box. 

I am creative, capable, and like to spend my money wisely.  My first choice was to build a light box.  The first instructions I found were how to make a light box out of a cardboard box.  The cost was perfect.  The product was workable.  I nixed this solution because of storage space.  I did not want to have to find a place to store a cardboard box big enough to work as a light box. 

I decided I needed something that I could take apart and put back together and that I could store in a small space.  I thought PVC piping likely as I had seen a similar light box in the past.  I discovered Bill Huber’s light box instructions. Again, the cost was great, likely to be under $10.00, and it was a workable product.  The construction did not seem to be above my skills or to call for tools that were not readily at hand.  The instructions did call for the pieces to be glued together, but I thought I could skip that step in order to make the light box easy to store.  Nonetheless, the deconstructed light box was still going to be awkward and a bit bulky.  I also had an inkling that I would not want to be taking my light box apart and putting it back together every time I wanted to take a picture. 

A commercial solution seemed at least worth researching.  That research was successful.  I purchased a pop-up cube that collapses into a flat disk for easy storage.  The price was still reasonable, $20.00 for a 20 inch by 20 inch cube.

The cube has not been delivered yet, so I cannot attest to the ease of collapsing it nor can I attest to the quality of the product. When it arrives I will let you know about ease of use and post some comparison pictures. 


  1. Hey there -- have you tried taking photos by a window in the morning? Check and make sure the light isn't making shadows across the surface of what you're trying to shoot -- if there are shadows, wait another half hour and check again.

    You can also bounce light with a piece of white paper facing towards the light, behind what you're photographing.

    Taking the photos inside, the glass acts as a buffer, whereas taking it outside, you kind of need a bright, cloudy day. Just a sunny day can cause heck with too harsh a light.

    That's just my two cents! :-) Keep a notebook each time you shoot with the time of day and weather conditions and see what comes out the best!

    Best wishes!

  2. Thank you Lori for the insight. I knew about the bright but not clear day for photos.

    I tried the morning light on my last set of photos and it wasn't pretty.

    I think the best advice is the notebook. It reminded me that the best gardeners keep a diary and season by season figure out what their micro climate it.

    Thank you also for responding to my inquiry. :)

  3. Hey KJ -- Wanted to comment on your latest on my blog. You should NEVER feel like your trolling for business. I was just thinking that when I go to a bead show, people aren't going to know me by my business name at ALL but by my blog name and I have mixed feelings about that, since I want to be known as well for the things I make.

    You should feel like you can name yourself KJ The Grand Poobah of all Things Bead Related if you want!!!!

  4. Hi I agree with Lori if people want to find your blog it's really hard if you don't give them the name to follow. After they follow they will decide if they want to stay. Especially in the overful online jewelry market you have to really work and put yourself out there to get noticed. Just because of the pure amount of traffic.

  5. Thank you Lori and French Elegant Jewelry. For those of you not following along I commented in Lori's blog that I debated whether to sign my comments KJ or with my blog name. I am old school, I want to be polite and not to forward, and although I will continue to think about it I will be a lot less hesitant to sign with my blog name.

  6. I agree with Lori on both of her comments. I am still learning how to take pictures. Let us know how the cube works!

  7. Thanks Kristen. I got the light cube yesterday. I am going to be taking pictures today. I am hoping that posting the pictures will be simple.


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