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Photographing beads, jewelry and other small objects for eBay

April 2nd, 2011 by Skip McGrath

The MyStudio Complete Tabletop Photo Studio Jewelry Kit and 12-Piece Jewelry Photography Toolkit, can give anyone GREAT RESULTS with just a little effort and practice. However, there are some things you have to know before you start.

First of all you need the right camera. Not every camera will work for photographing jewelry and other small objects. Your camera must have the following features:

  • Optical zoom lens –an electronic-only zoom lens will not work.
  • Macro setting that allows the camera to focus up close
  • Manual Focus – The highly reflective quality of jewlry will fool the laser focusing system in most cameras almost every time.
  • Exposure Compensation – This is a setting on the camera that allows you to adjust the automatic exposure setting + or – in steps such as +1, +1.5, +2, etc. Once again when you are shooting jewelry against differently lit backgrounds, it can fool the meter in your camera.
  • Manual Exposure or Aperature Priority Setting – When you focus up very close with a camera you lose what is called Depth of Field (DOF). Depth of field is the distance that is in focus from the front of the object you are shooting to the rear. If you shoot a senic shot of someone standing on a senic overlook and they are in focus as well as the mountains in the background you have huge depth of field. When you are outdoors with lots of light, your camera will stop the lens down to a very small opening. But if you shot someone indoors with just the surrounding light (no flash) you would see that they are in focus but perhaps a lamp or a painting on the wall behind them would be out of foucs.This is because the camera needs more light so it opens the lens wider.Professionals call lens openings, F-stops. The smaller the lens opening, the higher the F-stop number and the more depth of field you have. The larger the lens opening, the lower the (remember lower and larger both start with the letter “L.”) F-stop number and you have less depth of field. Now here is the problem with jewelry. When a camera focuses up close such as within 6 inches of an object, the depth of field can be as short a one inch. This means if you are shooting a piece of jewelry such as a bracelet that is two inches in diameter, part of it might be out of focus.If you buy a camera with an Aperature-Priority setting, you can set it to a high F-stop, which will increase your depth of field when you shoot up close. Sorry that was a long-winded explanation, but this is very important.








So what does this all mean to you. If you buy the MyStudio Complete Tabletop Photo Studio Jewelry Kit to shoot jewelry, and you don’t have the right camera, you will be very unhappy because you will not be able to get professional-looking photos. If you are going to sell jewelry on eBay or through your web site, you are going to have to invest in a camera with all of the features described above. This means you are going to have to spend about $300 or more.



Comment from TomH
Time April 3, 2011 at 3:43 am

Absolutely re the camera. Being slow, it took me at least three months back in 98 to realize I had the wrong camera and needed to purchase one as you described.

You didn’t mention it, but I will. Don’t even think of trying to hand hold the camera. The tri-pod is a must–and use the delayed shutter release all decent cameras have.

Comment from Andrea
Time April 3, 2011 at 4:52 pm

A perfectly timed blog post!! I was about to start taking some photos of a silver charm bracelet to sell on eBay that is similar to the one you have shown in your post. You’ve saved me heaps of time getting the settings right.

Comment from bag
Time April 7, 2011 at 2:02 am

I was about to start taking some photos of a silver charm bracelet to sell on eBay that is similar to the one you have shown in your post. You’ve saved me heaps of time getting the settings right.

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