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How to Take Pictures

Bead Lovers Korner: How to Take Pictures

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Take Pictures

Glass European Bead Teal Blue with White Polka Dots

I have been selling online for 11-12 years and have learned quite a lot about taking pictures of products so that customers can see the detail and not be disappointed when they receive the item. I decided to write this blog post as a "Photography for Dummies" and share my process so that others can learn to take excellent pictures without having to be a professional photographer. When I began I would take a picture on a textured surface but I have since learned how to give it that photo studio look and I have been re-shooting everything.

Orange and White Lampwork Glass European Bead

A good picture is really important for getting found on Etsy, Ebay or Websites and helping to close the sale. I have read tons of blog posts on photography, have NEVER read my camera manual and do not know any of the technical stuff about light, shutter speed, blah, blah, blah.... but I DO know that natural lighting is THE best way to photograph beads, jewelry or just about anything.

Portable Photo Studio
My photo studio is in my driveway. I currently use this tackle box with a piece of tile to keep a flat surface and a piece of white paper covering the tile. If you watch the items that are seen on the front page of Etsy, they usually have a white background. The beach towel keeps me from getting dirty, LOL! This is portable, keeps me flexible (having to get up and down), and was totally free since I had these items.

Tackle Box with Tile and White Paper
Indoor pictures need special lighting or they will turn out yellowish, have reflections of the surrounding items, flash or annoying shadows. I take ALL my pictures outdoors on a cloudy or overcast day, sometimes I get good shots first thing in the morning before the sun comes out, but many times that is too blue. Light cloud cover is optimal!

I have an Olympus C-4000 Zoom, 4.0 Megapixel, Optical 3x Zoom/Seamless Zoom 10x Optical x Digital. Not sure what all that means, but the Optical Zoom gets super resolution and when I download the pictures onto my computer I can then zoom further with Photoshop. Both my camera and Photoshop are not the newest versions but they work fine for now. The camera is set to take pictures on a really large format (like a poster), it came that way and I have never changed the settings. This way I can have a picture with high resolution at any size I choose. I spent about $500.00 on this camera and have had it for about 10 years. So today you can probably get an even better one for less money.

Photo editing is a very important part and I have Photoshop which is quite expensive, but all editing programs have some sort of brightness feature I am sure, if the pics are a little gray you can lighten them. If they are too blue you can set the white point in your levels and adjust the picture.

Setting White Levels
In Photoshop you select image, adjustments, levels and then you get the setting box above, select the eye dropper on the far right (which is for white) and then touch the section of your image that should be white. This brightens the whole picture.

Sterling Silver Snowflake Charm or Pendant

I will end here for now, please feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I will plan on another blog post in the future going into more detail with photo editing.

So have fun and Happy Photographing!!

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At October 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM , Blogger MadScientistsDesigns said...

Great info! Thanks. :-) I've been re-shooting my pictures too.

At October 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM , Blogger Rayvenwoodmanor said...

Wonderful information! Thank you so much for sharing as you know how much I love your photographs:)

At October 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM , Blogger Mary Tutela said...

I have been looking for a way to enhance my jewelry photos with a white background. I am going to try your suggestions. They make sense and seems easy. Thanks for sharing you info.
I will be checking back for further instructions.

At November 5, 2012 at 10:03 AM , Anonymous Rachel said...

This post is helpful. I am embarrassed by some of the pictures on my blog but am slowly learning. I have learned to start taking pictures outside but will have to upgrade my camera later on. Using a white surface - also something I will start to do. Thanks for the well needed advice.

At November 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Gari Anne said...

Thanks for reading and commenting! I am so glad this was helpful!

At December 17, 2012 at 8:33 AM , Blogger gosialein said...

I share your views on photo-studio equipment, however I enjoy giving my photos a more "artistic" look :)
I'm a "free-style" bead collector, not attached as yet to the leading brands
feel free to look at my creations at:
and at my photos and things I find interesting at:


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