Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Photography for my Web Store

A well staged photograph can make all the difference

My husband has made it painfully obvious that he doesn’t adore my photographs of jewelry or other items taken with my trusty iPhone. He uses a real camera that takes really good photographs, especially when compared to my iPhone. But I like the simplicity of my iPhone besides, just about everyone I know doesn’t carry around a camera, even on vacation. They have an iPhone with a built in camera that actually takes pretty good pictures. I’ve marveled at the pictures I’ve been able to take with this little camera and it’s very convenient. This is probably why the iPhone and other cell phone cameras have become so popular, everyone has one and you can whip it out and snap a photo without having to search around for a real camera.

 Bolivian amethyst, white background, right facing

Another reason more people are using cell phone cameras to take pictures, other than convenience, is the pictures themselves. Many of the cell phone cameras on the market today have better cameras in them then just a few years ago. If you bought a camera just for pictures and it was a typical consumer use camera your cell phone probably has a better, higher resolution, more pixel thingies built into the camera. Your new cell phone camera has probably made your dedicated camera obsolete. While it maybe tempting to take a lot of pictures with your iPhone, these pictures should be reserved for sending to family and friends and of course, blogs. When it comes to pictures for a web site I have to take my husband's advice.

Odd man out, left facing

Pictures on a web store need to be consistent. It is one of the most difficult aspects of photography, achieving the same picture, lighting and background for each item in your store. This is particularly difficult when using a cell phone camera and nearly impossible when it comes to photographing jewelry. Jewelry is art, and the lighting and placement of the art differs with each piece. You wouldn’t use the same lighting for a sculpture as you would for an oil painting. Additionally, the color and reflective properties of each piece of jewelry will make the photograph differ. So how do you make your pictures consistent? It’s the little things. You will never make a diamond look the same as a metal cuff but you can make each picture resemble one another. Keep your background consistent. I’ve found that while black looks awesome, it doesn’t work for every piece of jewelry. It is probably best to stick with white or a very light background.

The black background really makes jewelry shine, but watch for dust

Another important detail I found out the hard way. Keep each piece of jewelry facing the same direction in your pictures. It is extremely tempting to move each piece of jewelry to get the maximum amount of reflection or brilliance when photographing, resist this maneuver. Once you put everything up on the web site one piece of jewelry that is facing the opposite direction then the others will drive you crazy. Take it from me, I have one ring facing the wrong way and I still obsess about it and need to change it. I will probably have to go through the website and redo a few of the pictures. It’s not my most favorite thing but it has to be done. Let us see how long I will procrastinate on this one. A website is never done and will probably be an ongoing endeavor. Like any store you can’t simple stock it with product sit back and wait, you must cultivate and constantly view. After all, Macy’s changes their window displays to match the season, a web store should also change or rotate their pictures for maximum interest.


  1. What a great article! Thanks for sharing your insights.