Now that you know how to use your camera to get accurate pictures, you need to learn how to play with lighting to create dramatic photo’s.
Many people prefer natural lighting and will wait for the perfect, sunny day to go outside and take pictures. For me that just doesn’t work with my schedule, and I don’t want to go out in the heat or the cold. So I invested in a light box. A light box helps distribute the lighting evenly so it reduces harsh shadows. You can make your own lightbox easily or buy one fairly cheap on sites like ebay. They come as kits with the lights, and several backdrop options.
Here is a great article on how to make your own box if you would prefer that:
I have my lightbox on my kitchen island and two table top lights setup on each side of the box. The bulbs are daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs. The table top lights can hold 5 bulbs total, and each bulb is 5000k. This type of bulb is low heat and creates a nice natural light. Most setups are 3 main light sources, with 500 watts on the top and then 250 watt bulbs on each side.
Another important note is that other light sources can interfere with the colors in your photos. So it is important to only use the lights for your setup and no others. For instance, my light tent and light sources are on the kitchen island but I never turn on the overhead light in the kitchen while doing the photographs. I learned that tip in the forums a long time ago and I think it is one many don’t know about, but if your light sources are mixed it will affect the colors of your photograph.
You should experiment with where you place your lighting in relation to your product. For instance, when shooting pearls if you place your light on top it will actually help create more dimension. The pearls will appear more round and full with that type of lighting and only one light for pearls.
Did you know you generally shouldn’t you flash with your product photos? The flash tends to create harsh shadows, and reflections that are distracting. Especially when shooting close ups.
The key to getting a photo you love is to have fun and play around with the setup. Take 10 or more photo’s of each item. You will want to use 5 of those for your etsy listing so having a lot to choose from will help. Look at the shadows and reflections. Maybe you want a soft reflection of your piece in the shot, so experiment with that.
Here is a great tip, once you learn the best set up for yourself get a log book out and take notes on all of the details. If you have certain angles for rings, and other angles for necklaces write it all down. This will save you time since you won’t have to experiment every time in the future. Write down where you set the lights, how many lights you were using, where you positioned the camera etc.
The next blog post is going to be longer. It has a TON of information on how to position your items, ideas on props, backgrounds, how to play with angles and create movement. Should be a lot of fun. Please comment on your ideas, and experiences so far with the tips.