Friday , 28 April 2017
Natural light is my friend for my jewelry photography, and besides that my life is definitely enhanced by taking pictures in the wonderful sunshine instead of a dark basement with artificial light.

Natural Sunlight Product Photography Tips

Article By: LeAllyson Meyer

Since I moved to Colorado, I have many more opportunities to take photos of my jewelry in natural light.  My key light sources through windows are to the east and to the west.  Both are good, but in different ways. When I lived in St. Louis, I took my photos for my shop, Plum Beadacious, in the basement with a homemade lightbox and artificial lights. I had everything set up for me to place my jewelry for the shot.  I did occasionally change background surfaces, and programmed my camera for the type of light I was using.  I think I got better over several years at doing this, but the pictures still had a harshness to them that I never did eliminate.

Now I have been playing with taking pictures in natural light.  I can get fresh crisp color that is not harsh, but I can’t get it consistently.  The light changes from hour to hour and day to day.  Take a look at the pictures of a beaded id lanyard I made for a special order.  These pictures were all taken about 5:30 PM after I got home from my day job.

The first picture is one that was taken in my east window, somewhat shady at 5:30, but it has been a beautiful sunny day.  I placed the lanyard on the white painted window sill.  The blinds were lifted to allow as much light as possible to spill through the window.

Nice, but a little blue looking.  This is because of the shade at this side of the house at 5:30 PM.  However, by adjusting the lighting level on Photoshop Elements, I can improve this picture dramatically.  I do this by using the Full Edit function and going to
  • Enhance
  • Adjust Lighting
  • Level

There you will see some icons that look like eye droppers.  I clicked on the white one and then moved my cursor over my photo to a place on the white background that is closest to true white and is not too close to the item or any shaded areas.  I then clicked my mouse, and magically the entire picture lightened up.

I then went to
  • Enhance
  • Auto Sharpen
This provided crisper edges to my jewelry photo.
Next I selected the crop tool and cropped the picture to a square.
Once I do all of this, I select File, Save for Web.  This allows me to tell the program what size picture I want.  Since Etsy recommends 1000 pixels, I type in 1000 pixels, and since the picture is square, and it is constrained to proportion, the picture ends up being 1000×1000 pixels.  I can then save it into my pictures folder in Windows.  It is ready to post on Etsy or anywhere else I would like, such as this blog.
Here is the edited photo – same one as above.  It is much brighter, but is it the best it can be?  Not really!
Let’s take a look at a photo taken minutes later at my west window.  The sun was quite intense there at 5:30 PM.  I lowered my nice honeycomb blinds about 2/3 of the way, and I placed my item on a table about two feet away from the window sill.  The light was more intense than the east window, but not glaring.  I also used a soft decorative floral background.Look at the first picture here taken at the west window, unedited.  Notice the crazy angle.  This is how I took the picture.

Now look at the edited version of the same picture.  I changed the orientation by going to Image

  • Rotate
  • 90% right
Then I did the same edits with the lighting level using the white eye dropper, and auto sharpened.  Don’t you think it looks much better?
These edits are quickly fixes to immediately enhance your photos.  There are more sophisticated techniques to make them even better.Natural light is my friend for my jewelry photography, and besides that my life is definitely enhanced by taking pictures in the wonderful sunshine instead of a dark basement with artificial light.

I invite you to share your experiences with photographing your jewelry, whether done in natural or artificial light.  We can all learn from one another.  I hope this is helpful to some of you.

Original article

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

29 comments

  1. great job!!! Those look really great! Thanks for the photoshop tips!!

  2. Thanks for the tips. I’ve just started taking pictures using natural light and your article was very helpful.

  3. Very interesting. I take my fused glass jewelry photos in natural light and will definitely try your tips. Thanks so much.

  4. I am glad you found this helpful. There is so much to learn about taking photos, and it is an art in itself.

  5. Thanks for this tutorial for Elements. I have Photoshop 6 and I can’t find the settings you mention eg. Full Edit etc..

  6. I thought I was crazy, walking around the house taking random photos, looking for the most favorable light! Now I will apply your great Photoshop tips and perhaps I’ll have something!

  7. For those of us who don’t have photoshop – try Picassa. It’s free and it works great!

  8. Great info!

  9. Great article! I think everyone can get better pics just by editing them in a photo program. Picasa and Picnik are free and they have very similar editing tools!

  10. Natural light is definitely , thank you for the tips!

  11. These are great tips, especially for jewelry. I do the photography for my husband’s items on his Etsy shop (http://RicksWoodArt.etsy.com) and right now I’m using the photo cube and artificial light. By the time I get home from my day job there’s no natural light to be found, at least until longer days arrive.

  12. Susan – Your photos are beautiful. Not only are you using artifical light, but you are taking pictures of items that are varying shades of one basic color brown. You do so well at bringing out the woodgrain and the soft glow of these woods. I wish you and your husband great success!

  13. This makes things much clearer now. I use natural light to photograph my cushions and can’t seem to get it right. I’m off now to see if I can get photo shop. Pam

  14. Thank you for showing “before and after” pictures. I often have a hard time understanding the intricacies of PS manipulation because of the lack of such clear images.

  15. Thank You.. just what I needed! I appreciate your simple explanations ~ I followed right along!

  16. In PhotoShop, I use Auto Color and then Levels to adjust the images.

    In IL, there’s no natural light by the time I get home either.

    Hope this helps someone.

  17. Your jewelry and your photos are beautiful. I mean all of the beautiful colors and the textures to each piece really do show up good. I’ve been able to now take all of my pictures by natural sunlight since we’ve moved. I either take my pictures by the window or out on the patio and I’m having so much fun and loving it.

  18. Great tips. I discovered, while taking photos in natural light(not sunlight) in the brightest window early afternoon, I get ny best photos.

  19. Great tips!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing them with us :-)
    It really helped me improve my photographs :-)

  20. Wow! I am going to work on my photos tomorrow. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

  21. Thanks for the great editing tips. Often, when I’m trying to edit my pics, they either end up washed out or garish but I’ve never tried those options you’ve mentioned so I will definitely do so. I’ve just built myself a light tent/box and have some photos of the process and results on my blog at http://blog.gr8jewellery.com
    Would love your visit and any comments! :)

  22. I don’t get very good natural light in my office and I always find it frustrating because it’s so inconsistent!
    I started to use FotoFuze (I found it through Etsy)a couple of years ago, and I love it. It’s so easy (I haven’t learnt Photoshop yet) and gives consistent results and sharp photos.
    Not as good as natural but it’s pretty darn good.
    Thanks so much for your tutorial, it’s nice to see how others work!
    Cassie.
    xx

  23. I used to photograph my clutches on the floor of my livingroom, because that’s where the best natural light is. However, our carpet is always fuzzy from pet hair, and there were couches and baby toys in the background. Not great for product photos! Eventually, I realized that I could prop my clutches on one of the posts of my balcony. It works perfectly because I get the natural light, the leaves of the trees in the background, and a rustic look to the photos with the wood from my balcony. :)

  24. I’m glad to have come across this post. I have been wanting a more cohesive professional look for my etsy jewellery shop which is lacking at the moment.
    Have struggled with getting bright photographs of my jewellery and it can be frustrating. I tried fotofuze but it didnt quite work for me, was considering building myself a light box but would try the window sill/picassa option first..thanks for this..

  25. Very interesting post, thank you for the tips, I will try to improve my photos using your ideas, thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>