Monday, 4 February 2013

Photography tips & Tricks * EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

This month's EtsyMetal blog carnival is about photography tips and tricks. Here are some things that I learned either by trial and error or by searching the endless sources of the web.

1. Use a white box
The shadows and the shiny surfaces of silver usually were very harsh before I started photographing inside a white box. With the white box they look soft and natural. I made it my self, using a cardboard box and transparent paper. It's not high-tech, but it's very effective. It's very easy and I found the instructions online. Use the terms "diy white box" or "make your own white box" to find instructions like this

2. Natural light
I find it much easier to photograph my pieces in natural light rather than artificial. I put the white box and the piece in a position so that the light comes from the side and not facing the object.

 3. Use a reliable camera
I use a Canon PowerShot G11. I use it for some years now, and it has saved me a lot of time of corrections in the computer and has made these tasks simpler and quicker.

4. Color correction
Most photos need some color  and contrasts correction when I upload them in my computer and I usually use basic photoshop settings for this job.
To correct the color tone I use: Image → Adjustment →Auto Color.
To correct the lightness I go to: Image → Adjustment →Auto Levels. This is many times enough. If the photos need more adjustments I do them manually, using: Image → Adjustment →Curves until the lights and shadows of the image are balanced.

5. Backgrounds and styling
Well, this is a matter of personal taste of the maker and the result of experimentation with different ideas and materials. I prefer the settings to be neutral, so I have an assortment of different papers, from pale to deep grey.  I lay them inside the white box and curve them towards the top as they touch the back of the box, so that the background will be uniform.
I place my object on the paper and then I try to photograph it from different angles and show the back or any other detail that gives a more full picture of it.
If I need to use another object, as a support for example, I try to use something simple that does not distract from the jewelry or that enhances its idea (it can be an apple, a stone, a pebble or a pine cone).

Valentine Heart Earrings *

Sweet House Earrings *

I usually end up with 20 - 30 photos for each piece, from them I choose about 10 and then 3-5 which I finally upload.

6. Pieces on the body
When I can, I try to photograph the pieces worn, so that there's an idea of the scale of the piece and how it looks on the body. I take many shots (trying not to be very close ups) from which I chose 1-2 in the end.

3d Rose Earrings *

These are the things that work for me. I'm very interested to see my teammates' tips and ideas and learn some new things:

Lou Hunter:
Laura Jane Bouton:
Mary Anne Karren:
Deborah Lee Taylor:
Abella Blue:
Evelyn Markasky:

Monday, 21 January 2013

Brooch a Week Challenge 2013 BAW52/1, BAW52/3

It has been a really long time, 3 or 4 years since I made a brooch. This is because I never wore them and never had an order for one. But since the beginning of this challenge I started to think about design ideas and the "brooch project" became more and more interesting. Until now I was thinking mainly rings and earrings, but brooches offer new possibilities. The brooches that I'm going to make will be more like test pieces (about materials, design and process) than finals. I'll try to explore them and continue this challenge each week until the end of the year. 

Since I didn't post my first brooch when I made it, I will write a few words now.
BAW 52/1 - Leaf Brooch
On week-1 I made a leaf inspired brooch.  I used silver and plexiglass and used rivets to connect the two parts together. I like how it turned out and I love the transparency of plexiglass but I'm not sure if I will use it again many times. The reason is that when plexiglass is sawed or filed it produces a very thin dust. It sticks everywhere. And even if I wear a mask for protection I feel a little cautious about it and not very comfortable working with it.
This is my first brooch:

Leaf BroochJewellietta
Sterling silver and plexiglass.
Soldered and riveted.

BAW 52/2
I missed this one grrrrrrr

BAW 52/3 - Tiny Garden Brooch
For this week's brooch I continued to use plants and flowers as inspiration. Also this time I wanted to make a 3-dimensional piece. So I built a rectangular metal fence (or wall) and I put little copper flowers with swirling stamens to crawl on top of it. For contrast I oxidized the fence and left the flowers with the natural colour of copper and silver. I enjoyed making this brooch very much, I like 3-dimensionality in jewelry and I'll try to incorporate it more in my pieces.

Tiny Garden Brooch Jewellietta
Sterling silver and copper.

BAW Challenge is a year-long project for 2013, created by the EtsyMetal Team
It is open to everyone! See what we do and join the flickr group: Brooch a week