Photography Tips for Jewellery Designers’ Websites and Blogs

Photographing Jewellery can be frustrating, and quite often a digital camera will still produce blurred and unclear pictures if the lighting and environment is not correct. Providing that the Fashion Jewellery being photographed is fairly two-dimensional, there is an easy and fuss-free method of photographing Jewellery for Jewellery Websites and Blogs.

How to Take Professional Looking Images With a Scanner

Few people realise that they can actually create very pleasing images to promote their Handcrafted Jewellery using an ordinary printer/scanner/photocopier. Most people have one of these machines in their homes or office. Scanners allow images of objects to be transferred easily straight onto a computer for simple editing and uploading onto a Jewellery Website or Blog. The images created are usually crystal clear and realistic, with little or no editing needed.

Photography Tips

Here are some important Photography tips to take into consideration before scanning the Fashion Jewellery.

  • Make sure that the glass of the scanner is thoroughly cleaned, so that there are no specks of dust or smears, as these will show up magnified when the Fashion Jewellery has been scanned.
  • It is a very good idea to use a clean clear sheet of plastic to place on the scanner glass to avoid any scratches or permanent marks from the Fashion Jewellery that is being scanned.
  • The background of the image should be carefully considered in order to create the best effect to promote the Fashion Jewellery. Pale colours tend to compliment Handcrafted Jewellery best as they allow the Jewellery to stand out against the background, showing the important detail clearly. Choose pastel shades which do not clash with the colours of the Jewellery. If the Jewellery is warm in colour, then a cooler background is more effective.

Design the Fashion Jewellery Image First

It is useful to have some idea of what sort of image is required. For example, if the photograph is intended to promote Fashion Jewellery, would a simple image depicting the piece of Jewellery alone be less distracting than an image displaying more than one item.

Alternatively is the intention to create an artistically-designed image for a portfolio or advertisement? In this case it may be more appropriate to include complimenting objects to show off the Fashion Jewellery in an environment it relates to. For example sea-inspired Fashion Jewellery could be photographed alongside sea-shells.


How to Scan Jewellery to create Professional Looking Images

Once the design of the image has been thought out, the Fashion Jewellery should be placed on the scanner in the chosen arrangement.

Chains can be coiled or arranged in swirls to create a more attractive image. Then Background pieces should be placed around the Jewellery, such as flowers, or even a hand, if the image requires the illusion of the piece of Fashion Jewellery being held.

Finally place your background sheet of paper on top. The Designer may want to experiment with textured background such as fur or material. Then cover the entire area with a dark black cloth to cut out any light that the scanner lid would normally do.

Editing Scanned Images

Once the image has been scanned into the computer, basic editing tools can be used to enhance the image ready for use. Google Picassa, is a very simple picture editing tool which makes the process very fast and uncomplicated.

Focus on eliminating over-shadowed areas by increasing the light, and highlights. Then add just enough shadow at the end. Images can also be cropped if needed, and special effects added, such as focussing, and tints.

These simple Photography Tips are particularly useful for aspiring Jewellery Designers on a budget, who wish to take professional looking images for their Jewellery Website in order to promote Fashion Jewellery. The crystal clear quality images that a scanner produces is ideal to show the intricate detail of Handcrafted Jewellery. Photographing Jewellery can be fun, and there are endless ways to experiment with image design for Jewellery Websites.

Photography and Memory

There is much debate about how photography has affected our view of the past. However, the fact that it has affected it in some way is beyond debate. The interaction of photography with the incredible complexities of the human memory open up many fields of consideration. The memory, not nearly so dependable or fixed as one would expect or desire, is affected in strange ways by the continued presence of images from events long past.

Barthes, Keenan, and Kracauer on Photography and Memory

Roland Barthes wrote that photographs can become a “counter-memory” which most people accept as the memory itself. Siegfried Kracauer’s writing elaborates on this theme when he says, essentially, that photography records space while memory records significance. The implication of this is that if memory is replaced by the photograph, the element of memory which determines what is significant and what is not is eliminated, leaving one with a non-critical view of the past, characterized by an undifferentiated and space-based quality.

Catherine Keenan writes that while a photograph can be “clearer and more durable” than memory, it can also “circumvent almost entirely the process of anamnesis”. In the same way that literacy can decrease the ability of the mind to remember long stories, the presence of photographs may have the power to weaken the visual memory by decreasing the perceived need for it. The presence of the photograph moves the site of memory outside of the human mind, in which it is subject to constant change and mythologizing, and places it in the material realm where it is more objectively “true”, but stripped of the archaic magic with which humans have viewed the world for most of their history.

From Myth to Literalism

Applying this argument to Jay Ruby’s writing about post-mortem photography, the implication would be that, while people who possessed photographs of loved ones after their deaths would perhaps have a more accurate memory of the departed on a purely physical level, they would be constrained by the presence of the photograph from mythologizing the dead, a practice which has played a central role in human culture.

What might be the sociological result of this replacement of dynamic, shifting folk history with the material objectivity of the photograph? A society shifting from magic to science, a transformation of alchemy into chemistry, the decline of art from revelation to representation. Perhaps a society of literalists who judge their surroundings and one another primarily by surface appearance, and who are increasingly unable to dream.

Photography Tips-Advanced Composition Technique: Top Tips To Improve Composition In Landscape Photography

Composition is one of the keys to successful landscape photography. Exposure and quality of light are the other two main keys. Composition falls in the middle of these, in that the photographer has more control over it than over the quality of light, and less control over it than over the correct exposure. While sometimes the photographer doesn’t have full control over the composition (its not possible to uproot mountains and trees and place them in exactly the best position), often just moving a little can change things dramatically.

Move! (Change The Perspective) And Fill The Holes

If an area of the image is empty, the composition can often be improved by the photographer moving their feet! ie the photographer should look around see if there is an alternative shot – perhaps by moving left or right, crouching down to bring more foreground into view, or standing on a rock to gain extra height. If it is a portion of sky that is devoid of interest, this can sometimes be filled by branches or leaves from trees in the foreground. Or alternatively if there are reasonably fast-moving clouds in the sky, it can be worth waiting for them to move to the right position to fill the gap.

Balance The Image

This does not mean put the main subject into the centre of the frame! But rather consider the image as a whole and ensure all the parts of it combine to give a balance overall. Consider especially:

  • how light and dark areas are balanced
  • that a large object in the front of an image is balanced by sufficient in the background
  • does any one object in the frame demand too much attention
  • is there any area that has nothing of interest in it, that makes an empty “hole” in the image?

Capture The Essence Of The Landscape In the Photograph

Photographers should often aim for simplicity. An image that tries to say too much, or has too many different subjects in it will distract the viewer from the important parts. Where too may objects are all vying for the viewers attention, this dilutes the message, and it is hard for the viewer to know what the photograph is trying to communicate. Consider what the important essence of the landscape is, and make the most of that, rather than trying to get everything in sight into the image.

Remove The Rubbish

Photographers should look around the area that is to be photographed. Does it contain unsightly rubbish`like sweet wrappers and take-away containers, plastic tubs and bags? Small items in the foreground can easily be tidied away before the image is taken. This will avoid distracting the eye from the important view that the photographer wishes to capture.


Composition is key to successful landscape photography. Key factors to consider include balancing the image, checking the edges of the image, checking if a better composition can be found by physically moving to a different position, choosing what the essence of the image is and concentrating on just that, and clearing up any rubbish in the foreground before taking the image.

Photography Tips – Introduction To Composition: Four Top Tips For Improving Composition In Landscape Photography

There are two key areas that photographers find difficult with landscape photography. One is composition, the other is exposure. This article considers composition and offers some top tips for improving technique.

Check The Foreground Contains Interest

One of the classic mistakes in landscape photography is lack of interest in the foreground. A bare space of grass, path or or bare earth doesn’t attract the viewer. Using an object in the foreground such as a rock, some flowers, a small path leading the eye into the picture can greatly improve the composition of an image and draw the viewer in to the picture. Ensure that the foreground object is free of unwelcome distractions such as several dead flowers, or ugly blemishes such as large blobs of bird guano!

Check The Edges Of The Image

Consider what is framing the edge of the image – are any trees or rocks cut in half, are there any awkward leaves, branches or parts of islands intruding into the edge of the image? Do the hills in the background have pleasing ends at the edges of the image? Often changing the zoom slightly, or just moving a fraction to the right or left can change this and make a much more pleasing composition.

Rule of Thirds

This is a simple “rule of thumb” to aid photographers who are learning not to place the subject bang in the centre of their images. Often overused, especially by judges of camera club competitions, it doesn’t suit every image, but can be helpful to remind photographers looking to move away from centred images.

The rule states that if you divide the image into thirds horizontally and vertically, and draw imaginary lines down those thirds, the best place for the subject is on any of the four points where these lines intersect. This usually does not work for images with strong symmetrical reflections, but can be very helpful where there is a single main subject in the image (it is often far more successful in people photography than pure landscape photography).


Graphic Lines Make Good Abstracts

Look for strong natural lines in the landscape – whether this is a line of trees on the horizon, lines in rocks, drystone walls at field boundaries, or an incoming wave on the shoreline. These can make fantastic abstract images in their own right, or can add interest to the image as part of the whole.

Composition skills are an essential part of successful landscape photography. Composition can be improved by ensuring the foreground contains interest, that the edges of the image are “clean” with nothing unwanted intruding into the image, not trying to centre an image unnecessarily and using strong natural graphical lines.

Organizing Pictures for Posterity: Photo Archiving Tips to Protect and Store Photos

Who doesn’t have hundreds of old pictures stuffed in shoeboxes or piled in plastic boxes around the house? But wait! The acid in cardboard boxes and the chemicals in plastic boxes can discolor and deteriorate photographs. It’s easy to start organizing pictures, and by using photo archiving techniques family photos will last a lot longer.

Organize Pictures and Decide on a Photo Archiving Method

Organizing photos is an entirely personal choice, but keep in mind how the family will want to access them. By year or by holiday? Perhaps the easiest way to organize pictures is to sort them chronologically by year. For older family photos where the year isn’t known, try organizing photos by holiday or season.

Once the organization is decided on, it’s time to pick a storage method. Boxes, envelopes or albums? Acid-free, archival photo storage supplies are available in all three, so decide which photos will be put into albums and which will be stored long-term in boxes or envelopes. Once the photos have been sorted, it’s easy to see how many albums, boxes, or envelopes will be needed.

Where to Buy Archival Photo Supplies and Photograph Storage Boxes

First and foremost, consider digitally scanning any old photos just in case something happens to the originals. Whether or not digital copies are made, the originals will need to be stored in archival storage boxes. So figure out how many will be needed.

There are several companies that specialize in archival storage supplies. Any of the following suppliers sell to the general public:


  • Gaylord Brothers: mainly a library supplier, but they also sell archival photo boxes
  • Light Impressions: offers a wide range of archival boxes and photo supplies, including portfolios and mat boards
  • Archival Methods: framing and photo archiving materials, plus an extensive glossary of “Archivery” terms on their website

This is just a small sampling of companies that sell photo supplies, even most craft stores carry at minimum archival photo albums. Supplies are easily found, so organizing pictures using acid free materials isn’t difficult.

Where to Store Photos?

The U.S. Library of Congress offers many tips for preserving and storing photographs on their website. While their tips are sometimes more appropriate for fine art and rare photographic prints, many of their tips will also protect family heirlooms. For example:

  • Store photographs in a place where humidity is below 60%. Too much humidity, such as in the basement, can cause pictures to deteriorate.
  • Keep photographs away from sunlight. The UV rays in sunlight discolor and “bleach” photos. If family heirloom photos are hanging in a sunny room, replace the frame’s glass with UV-filtering glass.
  • It’s okay to use archival photo storage albums with plastic sleeves as long as the album and pages are labeled “archival safe” or similar. Even still, the Library of Congress states photos may still stick to the plastic if the humidity gets above 80%.

Photo Archiving is Easy With the Right Supplies

Family photographs will last longer with the right methods of photo storage. By organizing pictures and storing them carefully, future generations will be able to access and enjoy pictures of their grandparents, great-grandparents, and beyond. Archival photo supplies are readily available so there’s no reason not to get started on a photo archiving project today.

Online Stock Photography: A Guide to Two of the Biggest Agencies Online

Stock photography has been around for decades and it is often a way for professional photographers or photojournalists to make a little extra money when their client roster is low. Now the internet has made it possible for anyone to sell their photos – not only do they give photographers the chance, but they also make it possible for designers to sell stock designs.

iStockphoto: Low Cost Royalty Free Stock Graphics

iStockphoto.com was started by Getty Images as an answer to the ever-growing market for low-cost royalty-free photographs and designs. Their price points start at $1 for still photos and $20 for most low-quality video files.

iStockphoto is based in Alberta, Canada and uses a credit-based system for purchases. They changed from the traditional flat fee per item system in 2006, to a subscription system. In the new system users can buy credits, or subscribe for a flat fee every year, to download.

One three month subscription is $909.00 which is comparably lower than most other large stock photo sites including Getty Images own express plan which starts at $399.00 per month.

Morguefile.com: Free Stock Photos for Freelancers

But what about those designers who are on a budget a little tighter than that? Freelancers and hobbyists for example might want to try Morguefile.com an independent stock photo agency which offers free stock photos on many different subjects including pets, portraits and objects many of which are comparable in quality to the photos found on iStockphoto or even Getty Images.

Morguefile.com gets its name from the files photographers and designers often keep in hard copy form for inspiration. In addition to the many images found there the site also features forums, a blog, contests and a store.

Unlike iStockphoto or Getty Images the site takes some time to navigate but it is organized with a minimalist design and all the features are available on the start page. There is also no registration necessary for downloads.

Benefits to Photographers of Free and Low Cost Online Stock Photography Agencies

Both iStockphoto.com and Morguefile.com allow any member to contribute photos and illustrations for download. iStockphoto has users submit three image samples in their chosen category field and pass a quiz as their application process.

iStockphoto.com pays 20% royalties on each file downloaded and there is a higher percentage possible for exclusive content. Morguefile.com does not pay for downloads because their files are always free. Contributors to Morguefile.com are there to be involved in the community and practice their photography and design skills.

Community is a big part of iStockphoto also and contributors have access to professional photographers who have been suppliers of stock photography for years and any user of the site can use the forums to decide if they want to be a contributor.

On-Camera Flash Food Photography Tips

The event is packed with people and the organizer gives you last instructions before you start shooting: “Oh, by the way, we need shots of all the food”. Here are some quick tips to prevent panic when there is no time to find, stage and photograph food at an event.

Staging your food can be simple

Use what you have. If you have to shoot on the fly, then treat the food like a person. Find your angle and get the shot. Sometimes you have to shoot while people are about to grab and eat the food. While no one is happy having their picture taken while eating, food on a plate with a smiling guest can make a great picture. If you are shooting events, you know that a person’s reaction can make a good candid shot into a great one. Look for those expressions and reactions.

We don’t need no stinkin’ flashes

It’s true. Ambient light can create a mood easily. Use more ambient light than flash if it is available and you have time. Introducing some motion blur can also enhance a food shot, especially if you get a chef or two in the picture.

 

Remember that in some events the food is already staged to it’s best effect, including lighting. If you can get there before the guests start sampling, you could have an ideal shooting opportunity. Try both with flash and without and get as many perspectives as you can. It is always good to give your clients more options for the photos.

Advertise on your photo?

Look at food photos in magazines or online. There’s always some space for text to advertise their product. Try and do the same thing. It makes the food look more professionally shot. If you read about “the rule of thirds” for advertising (any online search will help you), your photos will stand out.

Keep photo taking simple and fun

Don’t over complicate your photos. Some of the very best pictures are the simplest ones. The first rule of event shooting is to get the shot you are hired for. Then you can try for a better one. It is always better to give your client something rather than nothing so don’t lose an opportunity because you are overthinking your shot. Get your simple shots in first and then try for the more extravagant ones afterwards.

You will be surprised during your edits just how often the simple shots turn out so much better than the complicated ones.

Be creative and be patient, sometimes photos don’t turn out right the first time

This is one of those times when it is okay to play with your food. 🙂 Try some food art or food porn or just use your subjects in unusual ways. Think of all the different ways you can stage an item. Think of cliches or other sayings that you can demonstrate with food. Moving strawberries into hearts at weddings, or doing some creative writing on a white plate with melted chocolate are just a very small example of the many ways you can make ordinary food “pop” in your pictures.

Nikon Digital SLR Camera Guide: D40 D40x D60 D80 D300 D3 Compared

When choosing a Nikon digital SLR, buyers should concentrate on lens compatibility and other features instead of image quality.

All Nikon DSLRs can produce quality images. For example, outdoor photographer Ken Rockwell says that he uses the entry-level D40 more than his other Nikons.

Entry-level Consumer DX Format (D40, D40x, D60)

AFI and AFS autofocus only, no AF autofocus.

DX format image sensors are 24mm x 16mm in size. This gives the infamous 1.5x crop factor for lens focal lengths, because 24mm x 16mm is smaller than the standard 36mm x 24mm negative film size.

Cameras such as the D40, D40x, D60 can deliver professional-quality images; but lack full AF lens compatibility.

AF lenses can still be used but as manual focus lenses (manually turning the lens focus ring guided by the turn left/right indicators in the viewfinder).

Advanced Consumer DX Format (D80)

AFI, AFS and AF autofocus.

Older Nikon AF autofocus lenses (old design not old lens – new ones are still being made by Nikon) require a focus drive motor in the camera to turn and focus the lens. Newer AFI and AFS autofocus lenses have the motor built into the lens.

Many of Nikon’s shorter focal length large-aperture prime lenses (50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4, 105mm f2, 135mm f2) are not available in AFI or AFS (yet, if ever).

If any of the above is required, the D80 is the cheapest camera that will do the job with AF autofocus support.

Professional DX Format (D300)

AFI, AFS, AF autofocus plus AI manual focus support.

Auto Indexing (AI) manual focus lenses are still used by today’s professionals. Some, like the 35mm f1.4 or 500mm f8 mirror lens have no autofocus equivalent.

Exposure metering with manual focus lenses is difficult with the D80 and other consumer level cameras (no AI electro-mechanical sensor).

Nikon cameras aimed at professionals, such as the D300, include full compatibility (AI exposure metering) with Nikon’s extensive range of AI manual focus lenses.

The D300 also includes professional features such as

  • Tougher body, able to stand up to heavy daily use
  • Weatherproofing (not waterproof, only splash proof)
  • Higher frame rate (photos per second)

Professional FX Format (D3)

AFI, AFS, AF autofocus plus AI manual focus support.

The FX format image sensor is a full-frame sensor. This means that unlike the smaller DX, it is the same size as 35mm film (36mm x 24mm). There is no 1.5x crop factor.

The only FX format Nikon camera is the D3. The main advantage is better high-ISO noise performance. This can be crucial in low-light situations.

The D3 also has reduced chromatic aberration, supports memory card redundancy (RAID 1) and other advanced features.

Diminishing Returns

Each step up in the Nikon range of digital bodies represents diminishing returns, resulting in a higher price/performance ratio (and weight).

It is better to spend less on the camera, and more on lenses or a second body.

  • Photos taken with different Nikon cameras are difficult to tell apart. However a photo taken with a 50mm f1.4 looks very different from one taken with a 18-55mm zoom.
  • Changing lenses is slow and troublesome. Two bodies means that a second lens will be used more often.

Example two-camera configurations:

  • Standard zoom for general coverage, 50mm f1.4 for portraits
  • Standard zoom for general coverage, 12-24mm f4 wide angle zoom
  • 20mm f1.8 (from Sigma, Nikon only has an f2.8 20mm) for available-light general coverage (no flash), 50mm f1.4 for portraits.

Nikon and Canon Digital SLR Lenses: Best Large-Aperture Primes for DSLR Cameras

Members of the Wedding Photojournalist Association use a combination of zooms and prime lenses. Nebraska-based Eric Francis often avoids zooms entirely; using only 20mm, 50mm and 135mm primes.

Prime Lenses are Brighter

Prime lenses can be four to eight times brighter than zooms.

Consumer zooms typically start at f3.5 at the wide-angle end, which is practically an f4. Zooming-in will quickly decrease the aperture to f5.6. Even professional quality zooms are only f2.8 at best. In contrast, prime lenses can be as bright as f1.4

  • two stops (four times) brighter than f2.8
  • three stops (eight times) brighter than f4
  • four stops (sixteen times) brighter than f5.6

How to Use Prime Lenses

Primes can be used

  • For available-light photography: taking photographs without flash. This results in natural-looking photographs. Flash doesn’t work well beyond tens of yards or meters, so available-light can be the only choice for some situations.
  • To isolate the subject. Primes are used for portraits of people. The large aperture results in shallow depth of field. This causes only the subject to be in focus, with the background pleasantly blurred. Attention is naturally drawn to the subject, without distractions from details in the background.
  • To amplify bounce flash. Flash units are pointed at the ceiling in order to provide soft, even lighting. High ceilings (more than two floors high) can stretch the capabilities of powerful flashes. Primes allow the use of bounce flash even with high ceilings (churches, ballrooms).

Wide angle Primes (28mm to 35 mm equivalent)

20mm to 24mm on 1.5x or 1.6x cropped digital SLRs.

Camera and lens manufacturers have been ignoring this segment of the market, preferring to concentrate on zooms. Sigma is the exception, with f1.8 20mm, 24mm and 28mm primes.

In contrast, the fastest Nikon and Canon 20mm is f2.8, though Canon does have an f1.4 24mm. Nikon’s fastest autofocus 24mm is f2.8 (the 24mm f2 is manual focus only).

Wide angle primes need to be used with caution. With their wide field of view, some subjects can be disturbingly just slightly out of focus – neither in focus nor blurred out into insignificance. They are more difficult to use properly and should be avoided by beginners.

Normal Primes (50mm equivalent)

28mm to 35mm on 1.5x or 1.6x cropped digital SLRs.

Commonly said to approximate human vision, providing a natural perspective view. Some photographers disagree, preferring wide angles and portrait lenses and skipping this intermediate range entirely.

Sigma also supports this range best, with an affordable 30mm f1.4 autofocus designed for cropped digital SLRs.

Nikon has a 35mm f2 autofocus but the expensive 28mm f1.4 is no longer in production, and the 28mm f2 and 35mm f1.4 are manual focus lenses.

Canon does have a 28mm f1.8 and a 35mm f2.

Short Portrait (75mm to 85mm equivalent)

50mm on 1.5x or 1.6x cropped digital SLRs.

50mm (f1.8 and f1.4) SLR lenses have long been considered some of the best lenses available: cheap and producing sharp images.

On cropped digital SLRs, they become 75mm or 85mm equivalent portrait lenses, perfect for head-and-shoulders portraits.They make good first lenses for beginners. With a narrower field of view, their shallow depth of field is easier to use compared to wide angles.

Making a Pinhole Camera: How to Create Images Without a Camera

A pinhole camera or camera obscura can be made from an empty cardboard tube such as the tubes Pringles, biscuits or sweets come in. A hole should be made in the centre of the tube using a pin tool and the inside should be made light tight. To do this, black paper can be used to line the inside of the tube and the lid. A flap of black paper should also be made and stuck on to cover the hole ensuring no light will enter until an image is ready to be produced.

Loading the Pinhole Camera

Photographic paper can be brought from photography stores or online. A piece of the paper should be placed inside the tube opposite the hole. The shape of the tube should hold it in position however a small piece of sticky tape or blue tack can be used if needed. Ideally this should be done in a darkroom however if one is unavailable a dark closet is the best alternative.

Photographic paper is coated in silver halide, a chemical which reacts quickly to light causing the negative reaction which leaves an image on the paper. Silver halide continues to react with light for as long as it is exposed to light therefore it is important to keep the paper in a dark place to avoid ruining it and the image that may be produced.

Capturing an Image Using a Pinhole Camera

Once the camera is loaded it can be taken to a suitable area to capture an image. For best results the area should be well lit and the flap should cover the hole until the paper inside is ready to be exposed to light. When the camera is in position the flap can be opened and the paper inside will start reacting to light. It is important to keep the tube as still as possible while the hole is uncovered to reduce the risk of blur or ‘camera shake’.

Depending on the lighting conditions the paper will need to be exposed to light for anything between 30 seconds and two minutes. In darker conditions the exposure time will be slightly longer. It may take a few attempts to get the exposure time correct.


Developing and Improving the Image Captured using a Pinhole Camera

After capturing the image the hole should be kept closed until safely back in the darkroom or other suitable place where the photographic paper can be removed from the tube. The paper can then be developed according to the instructions on the packet.

If the resulting image is too light or over exposed the amount of time the paper is exposed to light should be reduced. Alternatively if the image is too dark or under exposed the paper should be exposed to light for a longer period.

Finally, an enlarger can be used to turn the negative image into a positive one.