Photo Set Up Tips!

The photo taking question was recently addressed on the clay list City O Clay and since that is #1 or #2 on my to do list I am tackling that subject today! Please weigh in and let me know what you think!

So you want to take good pictures of your jewelry(or insert your item here)…… items hunh? Do you have the cash to buy a set up?

The camera is something you are going to have to figure out yourself. Since a camera is on my Xmas list I am using what I have which is a HP Photosmart M525. This is going to focus on the set up you can work with to take great pics.

What is a small photo set up you may ask?
Here is a company that sells table top studios. If the link is broken I searched studio lighting setups.

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/Categories?category=LIGHTING:LIGHT+TENT

Basicly it is lights with a box.

Here is a way you can make one.
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html
I made that one I recommend if you make it please make sure you use only one large piece of thin white paper. I made it when no store around me was open and used 8/2 x 11 which left sections of the paper that met visible no matter how hard I tried to tape them so nothing would show. I also had the problem of the corners being visible in the jewelry pieces I was photographing. Hours wasted!
If you want to see one that is close up and somewhat focuses on that exact issue in my opinion try here!
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html
I think this is a really good table top set up you can make. For me unfortunately it did not work out it could have been operator error but I still want to take good pictures.
During this time the lighting set up I used was the ones you get from your local hardware store and I snapped them to the sides of closet doors and one from above like this.
(example of early lighting set up)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/82656386@N00/4138626061/
Okay so you have to picture the way they would look from the top set up this way. Just clip one onto the shelf and point it down toward the object your photographing.
Okay that didn’t work NEXT! This is what I got for Christmas last year.
http://www.obnphoto.com/
I chose the economy kit! It took real good pictures but honestly the box was a pita for me. I mean the lamps came with covers for the light so why did I have to use the stinking box. Why not get a back drop and take pics?? Got the lights, got the covers for them to diffuse the light sounds like a plan to me.
Kind of something like this.
http://www.diyphotography.net/homestudio/

Wow that is exactly what I tried so now I get to show you what I came up with! I do not have a garage so I used my table lights.
Like this! Please note for illustration purposes I am showing the marketing that was the piece of paper I used for the background.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82656386@N00/4139455192/

So here are some examples of the photos I took. I was amazed at how they differed by just a faint change in the lighting placement.

I will start with

2 lights diffused one on each side this one from a little further out.


2 lights diffused one on each side this one close in. I think that looks pretty good wonder what it will look like with 3 lights?

On the following set of photos there are 3 lights.
There is one on each side that is diffused ………..and one handheld that moves and is not diffused.

3 lights not diffused with one light on each side with the third light shining from the front of the piece. See the shadows!

3 lights not diffused with one light on each side with the third shining from the middle of the piece.

3 lights not diffused with one light on each side with the third shining from the back of the piece.

Nice now what happens if I take the two diffused lights on each side and then diffuse the third as well, of course while moving it around again?


3 lights diffused with one light on each side with the third shining from the front of the piece.


3 lights diffused with one light on each side and the third shining from the top straight down at the jewelry.


3 lights diffused with one light on each side and the third shining from the back of the set up.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82656386@N00/4138711257/

This is the same picture from the Flickr site I think it just looks better on Flickr. No I am not going to tackle the fact that the pics on Flickr look better than on the blog I am putting on the to do list though!


3 lights diffused with one light on each side and one to the front right of the picture.

Here is what I have come up with for a basic set up.

So thats what works for me! So far. Now just to decide which placement of the photos I like! What do you think?? I am still amazed at how the lighting changed depending on where I placed the lights.

This week was fun!

But did I figure the whole thing out or even come close to understanding?

Not really which stinks I wanted to have simple posts that have a begining and an end in one session. This didnt end for me I now have to face the fact that what looks good in Flickr may or may not look good in WordPress or insert your favorite program here.

My only other option is to save in WordPress as a larger image hmmmmm

That is what full size looks like.

Only other option is this

So here I am with no end, again, photos on the brain still.

Oh well this was a good blog post! Patting herself on the back and getting out her clay.

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