Photographing your Jewelry, how I learned to take better pictures

I have been making jewelry for several years and I have finally found my style and what makes my heart sing.

I sell very well at the small trunk shows that I do, but I knew that to get to the next level I had to up my game in taking photos of my jewelry.

I have taken some great pictures, but they were hit and miss. I love taking pictures in natural light, but I needed to come up with a consistent way to take great photos and spend more time creating.

I first went to a photographer friend’s house for pointers and she convinced me to nail down the indoor set up with my tent and lights and stick to a gray background.

Pictures definitely improved, but I did not quite have my settings right.  I went  back to the shop where I bought my camera and finally got my settings and the light set up figured out.

What a game changer.   The texture and the color are spot on. Often times our pictures don’t do our handmade jewelry  justice and if someone is buying online they need to.

So, my top 3 tips would be to

  • set up your tent and lighting
  • use a gray background
  • get to know your camera settings

There are plenty of diys on making a light box, which I did initially, but when my camera broke I purchased a pop up light tent. I bought my camera and light tent at Ace Camera in Ashburn, Virginia. I highly recommend this store they have great staff and were helpful with all my questions when I bought my camera and last week when I was trying to get my lighting right.

My pictures were taken with a Nikon D3100,  ISO 400 f/5.6 with 1st picture  1/60, 2nd  1/40,  and final 1/50.

I still love taking photos outside on a cloudy day, but love the results I got after putting in some time to learn what settings to use. What are your favorite photo tips?

 

Simply Sterling Pendant

One of a kind enamel pendant

Pink enamel earrings

Focus on Life Week 38- Quiet Moment

I finally had a quiet moment to get back in the studio and create, no music no email just quiet to think and make.

I made a simple swirl of sterling hammered for texture.  I will be exploring making more swirls and see where it takes me.

Thanks Sally for letting us each share a peek of our world each week and I can’t wait to see where everyone else found a quit moment.

Have a great week.

 

Sterling Swirl Earrings

 

 

Round Nose Pliers…a review and why a good pair will make wire wrapping easier

When I started making jewelry I bought a set of pliers from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon. I really wanted to learn how to wire wrap.

I started taking classes and my first wire wrapping class was with a fantastic instructor. I had my Michael’s round nose pliers and was having trouble. My instructor said let me show you why you are having trouble…the jaws do not meet, there was too much space between the round nose jaws. I really could not get a good grip on the wire to make a decent loop. I tried my instructor’s pliers, Lindstrom Rx and had an aha moment…better pliers equal better loops.

I ordered the round nose, flush cutter and chain nose Lindstrom rx and my wire working improved ten fold.

Long, multi-step, bail making, Revere and Lindstrom Rx round nose pliers

I have since bought bail making pliers, a multi step wrapping pliers and most recently a Revere round nose pliers….oh my goodness….love them!!

I still love the Lindstroms, but they are on the small side which is great for tight spaces and small loops.  The Revere pliers  give me larger loops and have no spring which is nice. Deryn Mentock, a fantastic instructor recommended these pliers in one of her classes and I finally got a pair on sale from jewelry tools.

My advice is to try different pliers and see which one feels the best in your hands and helps you  make loops. Bring some inexpensive craft wire to your local bead store or o a class and try out different pliers before you buy.   Buy the best pliers you can afford,  but buy one that feels comfortable and is easy for you to make loops. Which round nose pliers do you like?

 

Revere and Lindstrom Rx round nose pliers

 

 

 

Bead Table Wednesday…metal smithing and torches

When I started beading, I wanted to learn metal smithing and I have taken classes from some amazing teachers. Nick Barnes teaches at Stars Beads in Vienna, Virginia.

I took my first class with Nick and still wear the bracelet I made most days. I took a second class with Nick and the bracelet and earring set below have a new home, thanks to a fellow soccer mom.

I kept taking classes both online and in person with Stephanie Lee, Deryn Mentock, and Richard Salley through ArtBliss and most recently at Bead Fest with Melissa Cable, more on this class  in a later post.

I love working with metal and used my mirco torch successfully for my projects. The torch seemed to not be as hot as I would like, so I ordered a new one a Lenk pro, recommended by Deryn and I  love it.  I wish I had gotten a stronger torch sooner, it is so much quicker to do what you want with the right torch.

 

I also, jumped on the Painting with Fire train during the book tour last year and I have not looked back. I use Mapp gas with the torch kit I bought from Barbara Lewis. With Barbara’s book, the Painting with Fire Ning site and watching the videos, I have been able to enamel beads and hope to take a class in perosn with Barbara in the near future. A sampling of my enamel beads and a favorite pair of earrings that I made.  What tool have you upgraded and wished you had purchased it sooner?

 

Sterling Silver Ear Wires…tips for making

I have a love for making jewlery and the more I learn the more I want to have creative control over each piece of jewelry I make. I do this by buying handmade from other artists  and making my own components.

I love making my own sterling silver ear wires and hoops. I always made them  with 20 gauge half-hard wire so that they are comfortable to wear and not too thick.

When making sterling the wire can be soft which is easy to work with, half-hard which is a bit more sturdy beacuse it has been work hardened or full hard.  For more information on wire read the article Denise Peck, Editor of Step by Step Wire wrote for Jewelry Making Daily.

In this article Denise recommends half -hard for ear wires, but more recently in a tip from Denise,  in an edition  of  Step by Step Wire, Denise recommends  20g  full hard for making ear wires, .

What a differnce it makes using the correct wire, now my ear wires are sturdy and easy to make since the wire is already hard before I start.

Finally, I always finish my wires by using a  a wire rounder  also called a burr cup that I bought from Beaducation.

Please visit Beaducation for a free video on making ear wires.

The greatest benefit of making your own ear wires is the ability to design them in different ways. In this pair I needed to add some bulk to the wire to balance out my design.

Enjoy and let me know how your handmade ear wires come out!

 

Busy working on Bead Soup today.