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Shooting Jewelry with an iPhone

Lesson 10 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

Shooting Jewelry with an iPhone

Lesson 10 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

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Lesson Info

10. Shooting Jewelry with an iPhone


Class Trailer

Session 1


Introduction to Craft Photography Fundamentals


What Your Visuals Say About Your Brand


How to Become a Photographic Author


How to Use Natural Light for Your Product Photography


Setting Up Your Photo: The Basic Rules


Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos


Shooting 3 Setups: Creating the Backstory with Images


Lesson Info

Shooting Jewelry with an iPhone

So what happens when you need to photograph multiple pieces, but you want them each to stand out in a really beautiful way? And if we're shooting on -- This was like a challenge to me. I usually shoot on marble or white or wood so it's neutral. But I felt -- I saw this and I was just like "I think this would be really, really beautiful "with gold jewelry." So we're gonna try it. Might work and it might not. And that's what's fun about photography. If that stresses you out, then you're gonna have a rough go. (laughs) Okay, so I'm going completely reflective here. And someone might say, like "Gold on gold?" And I would say "Yes. Can you ever have too much gold?" No. I'm always looking for things that can frame my product. Because, if I want a main character or a main subject within an image, One of the easiest ways to do that is by framing it. Because what's important in our house? What do we do with our artwork that we hang on the wall? We frame it to tell other people that that's what'...

s important to us. So when I do that within an image, when I frame something in an image, whether it's in a doorway, a person in a doorway, or an item in a frame, I'm literally telling people "This is what is important in my image." So I just took the glass out of these and I would probably just choose a card stock that I feel like is the closest. I kind of like the brown. I think it's like a pretty neutral. But I like the blue as well. We don't have a lot of time, so I'm gonna set it up maybe without that. And we'll just see how the overall composition looks. Let's trade. A little bit of stuff on it. Okay. So three. Three things again. I'm going with an odd number, and I'm going with different sizes and shapes to keep them all a little bit separate. And because I know I have different sizes of jewelry and I want to show that. Okay, so I'm gonna start out and all this jewelry is by my aunt. My aunt is a jeweler and she owns a jewelry shop called Lucky Lotus Jewelry Company. So if you really like it, you can find it on Etsy. And I'm gonna hang these right over the edge of the frame. Kate, I might have you just cut a piece of card stock for me to slide in. 'Cause I don't even know if I can pretend. It might bug me in my heart (laughs) to have it not right. Just to fit in here. Oh yeah. And maybe one for there. So, because I'm not going to be showing, the full length on these. But people always want to know what the length is on jewelry. If one of these was longer than the other, if they were different sizes, I would just lay them out so you can clearly see that two of them were one size and the other one was shorter. It's gonna be smaller. And then, in my listing, I would make sure that it had the exact sizing. We're gonna take this really beautiful piece. So this is super long, and I feel like long jewelry is some of the hardest to photograph and style to show the length. So I would actually do this in two different ways. I would show it as a styled image and then I would show a second image of it, which we'll do probably tomorrow with the ruler. Or like a cool measuring tape next to it on white or just on a solid so that people can literally see how long it is. And they can take the tape measure at home and say "Yep, that's how long I want." [Kate] - (mumbles) Measured? Yeah. That's okay. So I will hand that to you. Okay, so because this is longer than the tray, what I would do with this is just kind of rotate it and put it in there so it just is arranged pretty. 'Cause people know that that's the clasp and I actually might, kind of, arrange it up at the top like that. Then I felt like this was a perfect feature -- I'm gonna take of the backs of these - for earrings. And they fit right in the holes to stand them up. But if I didn't have that, I would either punch a hole though the back ... Thank you. Do you want me to grab that one? I think it's okay black. I wanna leave it black for now. I would punch that through the back, and just pop it right through. Or, a lot of times, I use Sticky Tack. Just to stick it right in and hold it so it's standing up. I'm a little bit shaky today. There we go. I wanna make sure that everything is straight and pretty. Now I had tried earlier leaving these frames open, but because the fabric is so busy, it really did start to take away from the shapes that we're seeing here. That's why I filled it in with a different card stock. But if you were using a neutral fabric, it'd be really cool to just leave the frame open and have each item styled inside of a frame. We're just gonna come above, and I actually set it up upside down. (laughs) So we'll get it upside down. Here's where reflection really comes in. Do you see how hard that reflection is on this? This is when I would take something small and start to move around until I see that I've covered that light a little bit. And I would keep adjusting. Now you have to be careful, because I don't want to block the main piece. So this may be another time where I'm like "Okay, with this light, right now, "this tray just isn't going to work. "I need a softer, more even light." That's okay. Then I would just switch it out for a different piece. Maybe something wood, that doesn't have the reflection. We'll just play around with it a little bit. I can adjust it. This is hard to do by myself. I can adjust it by just turning it's direction to the window. This table's on wheels, so I can just turn that slightly. Right? See how if I turn it away from the window more, now I'm taking away ... It's not quite as reflective. It's also just playing around and moving things around and seeing. Let's go back. I need to get in tighter. How do I hold it? I need to get in a little bit tighter because I'm getting the edge of the fabric. But I think it works. I think as a styled shot, it'd be really pretty. This could be the ad I send or an Instagram image. And how I show how all of my pieces coordinate and look beautiful together as opposed to just "Here's a necklace." I wanna move on to the next shot, because I wanna be sure that we get it. So we're gonna move this. And we're gonna use the same item of jewelry. I actually pulled this out because this is another thing that I really like to show with earrings. Frame them out with the back of a canvas. 'Cause it's neutral, but it looks really cool. A little Anthropology-ish, right? So I'll leave three or four of these and compose those. And then the earrings just fit right inside. Look at the backs of things. I do that all the time. I'm in stores turning everything over looking at it. The other thing about this is I could layer a different fabric on the inside. I could paint the inside to complement. I could paint the inside blue to complement the gold. There's so many options in framing out jewelry. Just be open to them. Another thing I really love is using clip boards to show the length of necklaces. I'll layer three necklaces and clip them on the clip board and shoot the clip board. Super simple, but very styled and really cool. While you're setting up the next shot, could you talk a little bit about one question that came in "Should you worry that people will start to "know your props? Or do you have to keep them fresh?" Is that something that you're concerned about? I'm, not concerned about that because then they recognize my props. It means they recognize me. If they're looking at my stuff enough to know that I'm using some similar props, I'm okay with that. I don't want everything to be the same. The pair of scissors in the last shot. I love those scissors and I use them all the time and they're a pair of scissors and they're beautiful. I don't care. You don't want things to start becoming so dull that everything looks the same, but at the same time, it helps create some consistency. There's a balance there. What I kind of like to do is, I do change my styling slightly per season. I'll get a little bit darker in the fall and the winter. A little bit richer and warmer. And I'll change out props a little bit based on that. We're gonna talk about how to start a prop collection. What to look for that matches your own brand. And how to mix and match price range so that no one can tell exactly how much you're spending on your images. We will definitely get to that. And that's great because one of the big questions was "Should you be buying all these props? "How do you gather all of these props? "Do you use, and such like that." So stay tuned, everyone (laughs). Come back later. This is another thing that I love to do with jewelry, which is, again, I'm thinking of my customer and what I think they want to know, which is "How do I wear that necklace? "What would I wear it with? "Would it look good with my jeans and my sweater? "I don't know." You're literally showing them and telling them "You can wear it with a fuzzy sweater." You wouldn't normally think that you can, but it looks really beautiful. This is my own. It has my hair all over it (laughs). Use what you would want to style your own product with. How you yourself use it or how you see your consumer using it. I would literally just set up the shot. I live in San Antonio, so this is not how I would wear it. But this is how I could see someone wearing it in the winter. Then I would literally just layer it in. In exactly the way I would wear it. Then I would photograph it like that. I'm gonna come in close on this one and get a nice close because I love the textures of it and how it looks on the texture. Because someone might say "Oh that's so delicate. It wouldn't work with a fur." "It won't show up." but it does and you can show them that, right? We're seeing it upside down. Let's see if I can hold it this way. Now this is another thing I actually want to show you. If I'm getting nice, soft light in my window, I can stand in front of it and it's not gonna shade it. That's a sign that it's a great window to use. We're gonna come around. I love a little bit of asymmetry there. It's feeling a little bright. I might darken it up a little bit. There we go. See, I want that shadowing to really show the texture. I'm gonna move it up a little bit. If I was laid out on a larger white piece, I might just show the whole outfit too. But we're not right now. We're just gonna get in a nice tight. This, to me feels like this is what I want to wear to my holiday party, right? Be careful, because right there, the way that it is, I am loosing it a little bit. I always want to watch that and maybe I even want to pull it up directly onto here. I'm always smoothing things out and adjusting to make sure that the product really looks as beautiful as I know it is. There we go. See that? See the difference of just getting in a little bit closer? Alright, let's play around with that a little bit 'till we get the angle we like. So that is how I would show people the way I would actually use the piece. And you could do the same thing in the summer. You could put a pair of shorts and a tank-top and shoot it. This is another thing I hear from people "I don't have a model to show how you would wear that. "I just don't have anyone that has the time "or that looks right." You can create that yourself. I have also literally put padding underneath so it is in the shape of a person and when you're shooting here, no one's gonna know it's not a person wearing that necklace. Yes? One of the questions that came in from Karen Forsythe, "When would you use live models for jewelry?" If you could, is that better or is this a better way to go? I think a mix of both is good. I think having some stills that are really beautifully styled that you can use as a header or as an Instagram to send out is great. Like I said before with clothing and with jewelry, I really love to see it on a person because then I know how it's gonna look on me. If you have that option, I would definitely use it. In this classroom we're mostly just focused on table tops, we're not bringing in models, but if I was to bring in a model for jewelry, I would definitely make sure that we're either cropping in on the face. Okay. Just below the nose, probably, or just above. Not right at, but just above or below. I get that hint and I would probably have them turn to the side a little bit so I see the shape of their face, I see the shape of the jewelry but I'm not looking at their eyes. I'm looking at the jewelry. And if their eyes are in it, then they need to be looking down or to the side but not directly at the camera. Great. Yeah. Do you have any other questions? We do and grab a mic if you have any in the studio. So a question that has come in and has lots of votes, remember, everyone at home, you can actually vote on the questions that you see by clicking on the little blue arrow. This is from Aresandra, says "Could you do these types of photos outside for good light?" Yes. The answer is yes. So let's talk about if you were to do these outside, where the best place outside would be. What you don't want is direct overhead light, especially if you're doing top-downs. Because what is that if the light's coming right down here? Front Light. We need to figure out a way outside that we can get side light just like we do with a window. Basically that means anywhere where overhead is blocked off and light can come in from the side. Whether that be a thick tree, we don't want the spotty leaves, although, how cool would this be with a leaf shadow on it? As long as the shadow isn't over the jewelry, and it's just over the sweater, that'd be cool. I mean look at it. Try it. For beginners, I would say start out with nice, even light. So your garage, a car port, a porch because it's covered overhead, but light can come in from the side. A big, thick fluffy tree that's really blocking out that light and light's coming in from the side. What you don't want, and what most people do, is to go up to their house that's in deep shade, put their thing up against the wall of their house and take a picture in deep shade. Because they think that means even lighting, right? But what that really means when you get in really deep shade, And what I'm talking about is like, when you're outside and there are big buildings and you can literally see that line of shade, if you're gonna be using that line of shade, be right at the line. Because you're getting more light coming in and you're getting more highlight-to-shadow, Whereas if you're just in deep shade and there's no light coming in, it's just flat. That's pretty much the same as Front Light, it's just boring. It's not gonna add in texture. If you are gonna use the edge of the shade somewhere, use the edge. Instead of walking in to it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Creating Visuals For Your Brand Assignment
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 1
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 2
Prop List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class taught by Candice was amazing. She teaches in such a step-by-step, easy to understand pace. She shares so much of her own tips and tricks she uses to create beautiful images without spending a fortune or having all kinds of expensive equipment. Having the DSLR lessons included was really great for anyone who wants to do more than the camera phones are capable of. Learning the basics of how to use a DSLR is confusing for most people, but Candice broke it down in the simplest way possible. Social media is all about imagery, so if you want to put out the most beautiful eye-catching photos, then you want to learn how to use more than the camera phone. I don't have a business where I need to take photos of things I sell and I still enjoyed her class so much. As a photographer, I am going to use her ideas and insight when I photograph things for fun. There is so much to gain from this class. I would highly recommend taking her class. She is a wealth of great ideas and information and has that friendly personality of someone you'd want to sit and have coffee with.


A wonderful class to get you going with craft/product photography. Candice provides (and shows) fantastic examples and it's really fun to watch her work through a shoot, moving items, etc. to create the final image. She also covers some basic photography tips which is very helpful. Great class! I definitely recommend to others!

Melinda Malamoco

I loved this class! Candice is so personable, clear and relatable. I would want to hang out with her and be creative! I have been taking pictures for YEARS, and for my Etsy store for over two years, and I still learned a lot in her class. The lessons are set up in a way that you can follow, take what you want and don't worry about what you don't need. I will say that I got a TON of ideas for how to better display my brand, what my personal style is and how to be consistent with it. I so recommend this class for anyone who has small business or just wants to be able to take better pictures of their products. Okay, off to build a prop kit!

Student Work