Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Photography 1.1, March 2017

It's Been Awhile. . .

Since I posted here — for several reasons.

First, we have had an unusually cold and snowy winter (for Vancouver). It wasn't that I had to shovel much (very short driveway), but I felt the cost of electric heat for the studio would be excessive.

The next reason: the old lock on the studio door malfunctioned (i.e. jammed) and I could not get in!  Once the weather moderated, a local carpenter was able to cut a hole, access the lock, and remove and replace the door. Whew.

The final reason was a short, but utterly wonderful, escape to CannonBeach on the Oregon Coast. I adore that place.

The photo was taken from our balcony at the SurfSand Resort, looking north toward Ecola Head. I loved walking along that beach every morning, listening to the surf and admiring the patterns of wind, wave and cloud. Almost as good as Maui – but certainly not as warm😉

No Bench Time = Lots of Camera Time

I have been planning to start updating my product photography for some time. Being locked away from my other tools inspired me to get started on that project. Over the years since I began selling on etsy, I have tried many approaches to photography. I experimented with studio lights — best left to professional photographers, I think. I bought a white box. It's cumbersome to work with but essential for domed silver pieces as they will reflect everything around them.

Photo Setup

Eventually, I realized that natural light works best. Our dining table on a lightly overcast day (or a sunny one with blinds set to keep direct sunlight off the table) is ideal. Several years ago, I invested in a good Canon camera and a inexpensive, but perfectly adequate, tripod. Everything else is super cheap.

Here's the setup. A large square of white card for the overall background cancels out the dark oak table. Happily, our ceilings are white. I use an off-white piece of ceramic tile (left over from our shower installation) to place the items on. That chunk of cardboard, wrapped with aluminum foil on the right serves as a reflector when needed. Sometimes, for an extra pop of directed light, I use that mini reading lamp.

A Closer Look

With spring and summer coming, I am using a spray of white and yellow silk flowers as a photo prop. Sometimes, I use a sea shell.

One of the reasons I bought a good camera was for the micro photo function. As you can see, jewelry photography is closeup photography. Today, of course, even my iPhone can shoot up close and personal. I use it for my work in progress shots for this blog when I am working in the shop.

The End Result 

Here is a sterling pendant, set with three purple iolite cabochons. I used Photoshop Elements to brighten the shot a bit (the sky was a bit too overcast for ideal results) and I selectively brightened the bottom stone. In real life, all three are a close match but the shadow of the pendant itself kept some light from reaching the underside of that one. The adjusted photo is much closer to reality.

I have a couple of projects on the go. Next time I come by, I will post some silversmithing.