Behind the scenes: how I take my photos

With so many new members (welcome!), I thought this would be a good time to share tips and some behind the scenes information with each other. The idea is to let others know how you do what you do, and promote your art at the same time. I will start with something everyone can do — photos — but it would be cool to get other artists to write something on the special techniques you use or specific, unique methods to your art. Email me at if you have something you want to share!

People often ask me about the photos I take for my jewelry website on Etsy. Some friends who want to have Etsy shops worry that the photos are too much work. While pretty pics can be a bit tricky, I don’t think they take up too much time or are too difficult, once you find what works. I don’t think mine are the best out there by any means, but I am happy with them and I feel like they show off my work in a good way. Here’s an example of one I like. It’s simple, straight forward and didn’t take long.

The main thing people want to know is about my photo studio. I don’t have one.

Here’s a photo of where I shoot most of my pics.

Yes, that’s a table outside and a bunch of pots. Of course I crop out the pots and everything but the earrings.

I shoot almost all my earrings hanging from one of the pots you see. After experimenting by hanging the earrings from different things, photographing them on the ground, etc, I found I like the pots best. They are easy to place the earrings on and the light is usually good enough on all sides. In a perfect world, I’d toss in some lighting or at least a light reflector card to even it out a little more. To get the most even light, I only take the photos in the afternoon when the sun isn’t directly over head, which eliminates harsh shadows. Again, they aren’t perfect, but they get the job done.

I also experiment with different backgrounds. Almost all my backgrounds look like this:

Today I decided to try this. It’s a plastic bowl. When cropped in close, you can’t tell it’s a bowl. I’m not sure if I like the bowl yet, but I needed something to make the browns in this pair pop out. I might try something else later.

I have also tried close ups with the earrings laying flat. I do this mostly to avoid problems focusing, because when it’s windy out, the earrings don’t hold still. I don’t like it as much as the hanging earrings, however.
Here is an example:

The other day I also tried this:

I wasn’t too happy with it, but I thought it might have potential for another pair.

The other thing I tell people is to not be afraid to experiment.
I needed a good photo of this bracelet I made. Hanging it didn’t work, so I took the saucer from underneath my pot, turned it over, and rethought what I wanted to do.

A shot from above wasn’t going to work. So I changed angles and took this close up, which I like better than any overall shot.

I don’t use a fancy camera, just an old Canon G-9, a point and shoot that has a macro function. The macro makes all the difference. I use an aperture with a large depth of field, like f 2.8. That gives the photos the ability to have one earring in the foreground in sharp focus while the background blurs out, like this:

That’s it for today. I look forward to learning about other behind the scenes techniques you are using.

Blue Quail Crafts


One response to “Behind the scenes: how I take my photos

  1. Very helpful photo tips! I like the particular style of photography that you have developed for your jewelry. Your jewelry is earthy and beautiful and I really love the natural backgrounds as opposed to the usual sterile white. Great article…thanks for sharing!

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