Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tips on Photographing Stone Jewelry - Staging

The first step in considering background and props for staging your jewelry shoot is figuring out what message you wish to convey to the viewer. That does not mean everyone must do the same thing. Reflect on the style, feeling, branding in your store and how the stone pieces fit into that. To whom would the piece appeal, when, where, what might they wear with it.

Most of the sellers queried use natural backgrounds in their shots of gemstone earrings. Many recommended using twigs as props for hanging the earrings. Julie of Our Front Yard recommends painting “the limbs to make them a little sturdier.” She also recommends using a Terra cotta or terra cotta look pot as a natural background to show off the color of natural stones. The Turquoise earrings hung from the rim in this shot really pop. Copper Turquoise by Our Front Yard

Many also like to use stones, shells, plants for props to put the stone earrings in perspective and/or to add interest. This fits with simple stone earrings because most of the time stone earrings are quiet pieces, providing subtle beauty, often acting as grounds to let more noisy garments/accessories do the shouting. A caveat brought out by Sally of SASessories, is “to use another object in the photo for a little more interest, just so long as it doesn't grab all the attention, but helps bring focus to the item (i don't know if there is actually a 'corner' rule w/ photography, but if the other object blocks one side/corner it will almost always bring the eye into the photo & to the object you are trying to showcase, almost like it provides a wall or barrier for an eye that would try to trail off the photo).
Smokey Quartz Drops by SASessories

Don’t give up, take time to consider your jewelry work, how you want it to look to customers, and what you want the thumbnail first photo to connote. Jennifer of Juniper Moon reveals ”I have worked VERY HARD to portray my work in the best way possible. LOTS of trial and error!! ...photographing stones is difficult. Photographing jewelry in general is challenging. I tend to have the most success with Gray toned or blue-gray backgrounds. Especially if my work has a lot of sterling silver in it. Gray lets the silver appear silver, rather than gold. I have found that less is more when photographing my jewelry. The simpler the background, the better. That is just what works for me.” MESA...earrings by Juniper Moon

Displaying the same tenacity and drive for excellence, Stephanie of Stephanie Gibson noted: “ It took me about 18 months of trial and error to get my photos to the point that I was happy with them. If you look at my first sold item, you can see how far I have come. My best advice is to use natural light, get to know the macro setting, and experiment endlessly with different backgrounds and angles.” Dancing Wine Berry Earrings by Stephanie Gibson

Thanks to these amazing artists for giving substance to the concept of staging backgrounds suitable to stone earring, sharing ways to think about how the earrings and the setting work together. And for reminding us there is no easy button. It takes much thought, experimentation and practice to get it right for your work.

Tomorrow's article will delve further into background ideas, with suggestions and sources offered. I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am. Thanks for following along.


Dolores said...

Thank you for this Jane. It's really helpful not just for those who have an Etsy shop but also just for photographing in general.

Moondog said...

more great advice!!

niftyknits said...

I wish there was an easy button. The photo of the dancing wine berries is spectacular, interesting article Jane, especialy the "corner rule", I shall think about that.

krex said...

Great tips Jane . Nice to hear how others have struggeled with this so I don't feel totally alone in how challanging it is to get a good photo . Practice, practice practice ...seems to pay off .