Friday , 31 October 2014
Learn how to get studio quality pictures of your jewelry on a $6 dollar budget. Our resident professional photographer will walk you step by step through this simple set up.

A $6 Dollar Solution to Photographing Jewelry

Etsy Photo tips

A  window and a piece of cardboard is all you’ll need to take pictures of  silver jewelry with brilliant, even tones.

Etsy Photo Tips

Move a table as close to a window as you can.

etsy photo tips

Make sure that the top of the table is a higher than the window sill.

etsy photo tips

Tape a piece of tracing paper to the window. Sunny or cloudy skies, the paper will make light coming in to be even and soft. Hang the paper so it goes down below the table.

etsy photo tips

When using white paper as a background put something white underneath to avoid the table coming through making it look dark.

etsy photo tips

I used a 2’ x 2’ piece of foamcore to bounce back light from the window, you can use anything that stands upright without bending. A piece of cardboard covered with sheets of white paper will work great.

etsy photo tips

Light will reflect from the white card and from the white surface as well.

etsy tips

Silver is like a mirror, it shows whatever is around. The light and white paper will reflect on the metal making it look light and shiny.

Pendant a courtesy of Roxy’s Jewelry on Etsy

product photography tips

If you pull the white card away from the window it will create a dark area that will also reflect on the jewelry.

etsy success tips

Different tones of silver make a picture have more depth. You may like the way it looks, or you may not. If you prefer the silver to have even tones make sure that the card is flashed against the window.

etsy tips

However, if you do want your background to have a gradation of tones try replacing the white card with a black one. Blocking the light will create a shadow with a clear edge.

etsy tips

Then you can play placing your jewelry where the background shifts from light to dark to see what happens.

etsy tips

Taking pictures of clay pottery in the same set up.

I am an advertising photographer living in NYC. My pictures help large companies sell more and to keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U! , an online studio dedicated to assisting artists selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

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56 comments

  1. thank you for taking the time to give such wonderful, useful tips. Most jewelry designers that work at home do not have the money for expensive studio equipment and this is logical and within most peoples budget too!
    thanks again

    • Thank you so much. I’ve been comtemplating selling my jewelry on Etsy but was extremely apprehensive about the photographic presentation of it. This is a tremendous help.

  2. What an awesome tutorial! Simple and easy to follow. I think even I can handle this one (my photography skills are a bit lacking). :)

  3. Great tips. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. I tried this method, however because all my windows have unremovable grids in them, alas life in a trailer, I get shadows going hither and nither. Any suggestion? Also, what time of day, and is this a north window?

    • Hello Sue.

      Rain or shine. Any season or any time of the day or, any compass direction, you should be able to take good pictures. As long as there some daylight coming in through the that window. However, with little light you will have to use long exposures. Then use a tripod to avoid blurry pictures.

      To get rid of the shadows try adding more layers of tracing paper until the shadows are gone. Consider that the more layers you use, the less light that comes in.

      m.

  5. Great ideas and super simple, thanks for sharing!

  6. This is great! I have to turn away so many shops that want to be featured because their photography is not up to par. I will definitely include this on my link reference page, which has links to shop improvement. (www.insideetsy.blogspot.com/p/must-look-links.html). It will keep company with some of your other wonderful articles.

  7. This is great. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  8. Excellent step by step, and great advice!

  9. Very helpful! Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. This was a wonderful and awesome tip! I was borrowing a light box, but now I can just use items around the house!

  11. Shirley Van Slate

    The timing of your tutorial couldn’t be better. My husband is the family photographer and always struggles trying to get a flattering image of my designs. We need to document a couple of necklaces that I created for a local Center for Visual Arts charity event so we’ll be using your tips this week. Thank you so much.

  12. Thank you so much. I make jewelry at home & struggle with good pictures. This should really help.

  13. This technique will help tons of people
    thank you

  14. Your technique is a godsend! I was using a corner of a room that has two windows which was working okay until the light/sun changed in one of the windows. This will work fine for me! Thanks ever so much!

  15. Thanks for sharing this information.
    For years I have used my scanner. I think this little bit of information will help!

  16. My question is what kind of camera can I get or need to get thats not some very expensive bunch of adjustments in a box?
    I know that cameras off the shelf for under $200 can take great pictures but what pixel, what focus, etc.

    • Hello Don.

      I am going to confess to you that I know next to nothing about equipment. Which is not extraordinary since I also drive a car quite well and know very little about how it works.

      I would suggest to narrow the search by first deciding on a budget. Then you can find online what you can buy for that amount. Don’t worry about brands, there is not much difference between them and all will work fine for you. There are hundreds of sites dedicated to the subject. If you come up with a term that you don’t know you can look up that too and in no time you will become an expert.

      m.

  17. This is a great idea! I do have one issue with taking pics though. It doesn’t matter how great the item looks or how white and crisp the background is, when I snap the picture, a gray cast is over the entire pic. This happens with or without the flash. I can’t seem to get that bright white background I see in other pics online. My camera is a Canon Powershot A630. Any suggestions to get rid of the gray cast? I’m currently using an inexpensive lightbox and daylight cfl 5500k bulbs. But this was happening prior to using the lightbox as well. Thanks for your help!

  18. Thanks for this great post. Photography my jewelry has always been a challenge. This helps tremendously. I can now take indoor photos without that bright flash or yellowish tones destroying the colors.

  19. WOW Thank You so much for sharing. I have been struggling with just this. I was looking at Digital Imaging Boxes this morning and they are currently out of my budget. However your solution should work quite nicly.

  20. WOW did I need this! I’m redoing all my pieces.

  21. i took commercial photography and i have to tell you i still learned from this! most of what i learned in the studio was pretty useless when i got home lol. thanks so much for sharing!

  22. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I am definetely going to apply it to take pictures of my jewelry.

    acupofsparkle.blogspot.com

  23. I tweeted this article today, hoping other people will get benefit from your article.
    twitter.com/#!/bindudesigns

  24. Always can use photography articles to up my knowledge. Thanks so much! You make it look easy & you do it so inexpensively it really is amazing.

  25. Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve never had consistent results with daylight and so I use a tent in my studio. I’m interested in the small tripod in the photos. Could you tell us the brand and where to get it, please? Thanks much!

  26. I love this tutorial. Good jewelry photos are absolutely necessary to selling online. It’s great to see simple solutions to common issues regarding indoor photography. I’ve already adopted some of these and the results are awesome!

  27. As a photographer I couldn’t give a better advice!

  28. Wonderful article! I can’t wait to try this technique :) I love to shoot in the sun but this time of year the shadows are so long I hate the hard shadows. Thank you!

  29. Great article! Thanks for sharing the tips.

  30. Absolutely an eye-opening post for me! I did half of the process (my table against the window and blinds open as much as possible, white paper on the table) but I hadn’t thought about the foam boards. Thank you for sharing!

  31. Wow, thanks for these great tips! I had some great results, and posted some of them to my etsy store– Rebeccanoelle.etsy.com. I also wrote about this is a blog and included a link to your site!

    http://lifeasrebecca.blogspot.com/2012/01/wow-factor-in-jewelry-photography.html

  32. Thanks so much for sharing this info and the great illustrative photos! Easy to understand and very helpful.

  33. Thanks for sharing this. It’s such a simple setup and will fit anyone’s budget. I also appreciate you showing how you stand the foam core board up with those clips. I have clips like that and probably never would have thought of using them that way.

  34. Great tips! I love making jewelry my self and have decided to start an etsy site. This is so helpful to me, please check out my jewelry on etsy my shop is Rikalane. Thanks!

  35. Hi,
    This is great stuff that you are doing. It helps a lot of budding photographers improve on their exposure control for product photography.
    I have a question. Can you show us how to photograph clothing? Especially light coloured which does not blend into the very bright white light that we get from the reflectors?
    Any ideas on this would be really appreciated.
    Thanks for doing a great job!
    Regards
    Ray

  36. Taking good pictures of my pendants is something that I struggle with a lot – I’m definitely lacking in close up photo department. I’ll have to try setting up something similar to what you have, it looks like it would work pretty well for what I have in mind. Thank you for taking the time to explain how you do it!

  37. Hi. Hope everyone is doing well on this cold Friday. I am getting ready to purchase a camera to take photos of my beadwork for computer upload. I am looking for an inexpensive digital, but one that will take decent pics that look good online. Could someone give me a few models that would do the trick? Inexpensive is key here. Thank you so much in advance. Keep beading happy.

  38. Wait, where did you get that cute little tripod?

  39. I loved the tips and the end result is fabulous!

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