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Discussion. “Lets talk photography for websites”.

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  • Discussion. “Lets talk photography for websites”.

    If for example you were to do a troll of images using the Google image search engine particularly with a subject such as jewellery what do you think you would see?

    I know what I see, I see that 90% of all the images are of very low quality, totally unrepresentative of what the quality of the item is. The manufacturer of that piece of jewelley has gone to a lot of trouble and expense to manufacture a piece that is supposed to enhance the female form (or male, I am not sexist) but they then display the item in a totally unprofessional way. As a professional jewellery/packshot photographer it is my job to represent my clients best interest be it for the web or for print. Initially my prime interest is to raise the standard of web photography, print is another matter as this is at a completely different skill level altogether.
    Photography for the web does not mean a large investment in time, equipment or skill. It does mean a closer look at what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it and what you are trying to do it with. The basic point of this is to understand that you can achieve so much more by looking objectively at the image you may have just created. Is it good enough to represent the item I have created, are the colours represented accurately, do the items leap out and say buy me I am desirable. Or is it the reverse of all these. Is the image muddy, out of focus, poorly presented in other words totally unrepresentative of what you intended. So the question is, which one enhancers the selling power of that item. Discuss?

    I..
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

  • #2
    Well, I think it is quite obvious that the better the photo, the better the piece looks, and the more likely it is to sell....

    However, having looked into having pieces professionally photographed, I found it to be very expensive. The only way to reduce the cost was to send bulk amounts of jewellery at a time, and this causes a big delay in being able to add new items to my website.

    Feel free to take a look at my Starstruck Site and comment on my images - would love feedback.

    K xx
    I LOVE this horse. He makes me laugh every time I see him. He is mine.

    www.uniquebeads.co.uk - Swarovski components, including filigrees
    www.starstruck-designs.co.uk - Beautifully handcrafted tiaras, jewellery and other crystal accessories.

    Comment


    • #3
      Im going to face the other way now, and get slapped in the face!

      I like looking at peoples crafts that had been photographed on their living room table/kitchen top because it makes it all little more 'crafty' and 'homely'.

      The photographs are still light, as they have had a fiddle with the slidey controls on a photo program.

      But.. saying that... i do prefer seeing professional pictures on a big company website. They don't hand make things usually.

      Anyone understand what i mean... or am i just crazy? eek
      Av xx
      Sprinkles Sparkles

      Comment


      • #4
        It would be truely lovely to have all the photo's needed on our web sites to be taken by professional photographers, but given that many of us work with totally unique one off pieces, this would prove to be both an unrealistic expense and a time consuming thing. How much would it cost for example to get a photo of my latest tiara and necklace on a one off deal. The photographer would be setting up to take photos of two items.
        I don't think many of our perspective clients are looking to pay the then hiked costs we'd have to pass on.

        If you google jewellery then you are probably not looking for the products that we as crafters create. Try googling "handcrafted jewellery, handmade jewellery, bespoke jewellery and you'll come up with a much more realistic view.

        It would be helpful if you wanted to, to give us all hints, tips etc of the best way we can take photos, show us examples of good and bad photography and how we can improve.

        I'll set the first challenge, should you wish to take it:

        I noticed that starstruck has the same issue. When photographing Swarovski crystals on tiaras, there is always one crystal that catches the light more than others and gains a halo of over exposure. How can this be avoided?
        full time mum and very very part time crafter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Ian, I agree that if you're selling on the web then the photo is the most important thing.

          I may 'talk the talk' but not 'walk the walk' as they say! cos' I have many of the same difficulties as others who photograph crystal and pale coloured transparent beads or reflective surfaces

          Perhaps learning a lot more about how the camera works, and how light acts would help me a lot

          Debbie
          www.beadservice.net
          On-line bead supplier and bead lover

          Comment


          • #6
            General Comment.

            General Comment.

            As a professional photographer I should be advocating that you should send all your work to Joe Bloggs Images but this is not what I am trying to do. What I want is for you the crafter and I mean crafter rather than manufacturer to improve your images so that you can be proud to display your excellent work in a way that is representative of the care you have put into it in making it.
            Some aspects of photography can be technically and artistically difficult to accomplish well. Other aspects would also include spending wads of cash in buying equipment that you would have to understand and learn to use to get the best out of it. In these notes I am trying to encourage you to experiment and go back to basics. Basic photography is not about spending money or having lots of knowledge but it is about using what you have around you to get a good image. An image that is clear, well lit and sharp will benefit you and your customer; a poor image just turns people off.
            Even the cheapest camera is capable of producing acceptable images with a little knowledge, why be complacent we can all improve what we do.

            I..
            www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

            Comment


            • #7
              For Starstruck

              Hi Starstruck,

              Where do I begin? Your work is obviously quite delicate and so therefore the images should reflect that. Black may be good to show off the item but it is very heavy and hides a lot of detail. I personally would shoot against white or in your case possibly pink! The lighting that you are using is unbalanced and one way round this is to have the flash further away from the jewellery, this will give the lighting a better spread. This may not be possible if the flash is built into the camera but you may be able to obtain a separate flashgun which you can run remotely. If you are determined to improve the images then invest in a couple of flash heads off Ebay, you can get these for less than £200 with soft boxes. These will improve the images dramatically and will with some practice allow you to display your items in a much more professional way. If you need more information just let me know.
              I..
              www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd love to know how to photograph red acurately!
                Blog Website Flickr

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                • #9
                  I like starstrucks consistancy in that her photo's are uniform and well presented.
                  full time mum and very very part time crafter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Photographing Red with a digital camera

                    Hi JBJB,

                    Ha, yes, Red!

                    I am so glad you asked me that question! Red is one of those colours that digital cameras like a bit too much. Depending on your cameras image sensor and all manufactures have similar problems though the problem will vary with colour. The image sensor is sensitive to the frequency of a particular colour of light and for some colours that sensitivity is quite acute. I use Nikons and they are particularly sensitive to red wavelengths. There is not a lot you can do about it as it is the way the camera works and really the easiest way I have found to get the best results is to de-saturate the red. Unfortunately there aren’t that many software programs around for the amateur market that are cheap and have the right filters for you to just de-saturate all the red in an image. In photoshop it’s not a problem and very easy to do but not everyone has access to photoshop. There may be a possibility that you can change the way the camera sees different colours but you will have to look through the instruction manual or go onto the manufactures web site and look at the help lines to see if there is a fix you can apply. I know this is not very helpful and if anyone else has a fix could you let me know please, I am not infallible.
                    I..
                    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Professional Photography

                      Hi Ian,
                      Having read all your posts I am getting curious about what your own photogaphy looks like and who your clients are. Do you have any examples so we can see what to aim for?
                      Chris W.
                      x
                      Gemstone Jewellery and Gifts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Professional Photography

                        Hi Chris,
                        I suppose someone had to ask at some point in time. I don’t have a website as yet but I am working on it as time permits but when I have sufficient posts I will slip a few images in for you to view.

                        I am not sure whether naming my clients is a good thing, it probably will be for them though. I tend to work out of London and for some of the more recognisable names. I don’t just shoot jewellery as I also shoot packshots and print images. My client list includes Lola Rose, Dower & Hall, Harrods, John Lewis, Lloyd’s, Harvey Nickels, The Natural History Museum, Woburn Abbey and quite a few more besides. If you need any more information just let me know.

                        I..
                        X
                        www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the comments Ian. I must admit though that I have always found white backgrounds behind my work hides more detail than the black. It is too reflective and washes out the jewellery. Whilst I appreciate that this is to do with flashes and light intensity, I simply don't have the hours of time I would need to play around. (Having already spent hours and not come up with anything that I prefer to the black).

                          Also, when photographed on a white background, there is a lot of cleaning up needed (I use PSP8) to remove shadows and this can take literally hours for each image, which again I don't have time to do.

                          Once I move into my new workshop (yay - only a couple more weeks to go!), I am hoping to have a permenant area set up for photographing my work, at the moment everything has to be put away each time and so I end up being rather lazy about it! I do have 3 lamps, and a light box, acrylic stands etc, but I just can't seem to get it good enough to want to change the set up I currently use.

                          Thanks as well, Beads by Design - there are some photos on there that don't "fit" with the style of the others, and as soon as I can I will re-make the pieces and re-photograph them.

                          K xx
                          I LOVE this horse. He makes me laugh every time I see him. He is mine.

                          www.uniquebeads.co.uk - Swarovski components, including filigrees
                          www.starstruck-designs.co.uk - Beautifully handcrafted tiaras, jewellery and other crystal accessories.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Images

                            Hi K,
                            I understand where you are coming from and to some degree can accept your argument.
                            My clients want images that can be transposed into print, which is something you can’t do with a black background. One of my concerns with black is that it changes the colours of what you are trying to represent, this is particularly noticeable with subtle colours. I always take my images at the largest file size I can and then reduce as required, jpg is only for the last resort so all the files I produce are stored as Tiff files. I always, unless told otherwise, shoot shadow free images; this again is a pre-requisite of the advertising industry.

                            I..
                            www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?saved=1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Why do magazines want hi-res images - and does hi-res just mean a really big file-size? Why when I've touched up in adobe photodeluxe is it no longer hi-res and can I do anything about that?

                              Currently, I am sending (what I assume) are hi-res shots but having to leave the background on, which isn't always that "clean". (That's why I like to cut out my images, so it's just product and nothing else.) Which means I have to rely on the design department at said magazine to do it for me, which means I have no control over the image.....?
                              Blog Website Flickr

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