4.28.2010

Behind the Scenes: Choosing a Background for Photographing Jewelry

silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm

Ahhhhhh, figuring out the background for your jewelry photographs...this could be a fun adventure! I do hope it is or was for you :) I recall it was a frustrating struggle -- me and the camera squared off like two sumo wrestlers.

There doesn't seem to be a simple formula for choosing the right background for your jewelry photographs, but here are some ideas that helped me make a final decision:

1. Think of your shop like a stage in a theater and you are the set designer. What message, mood, feeling do you want your shop to convey? How would you translate this into designing a setting for a play? Inside or Outside? City or Country? Earthy or Urban? Color or Neutral? How are you going to make your customers feel at home? How will they know they have arrived in the right place?

2. Is your jewelry colorful or primarily metalwork? You may want the color of the jewelry to stand out against a neutral background and the metalwork to have a hue to play against.

3. Think about who you are and make sure the background is an expression of your style. These photographs are usually the first way you greet a customer, so make sure it is a reflection of your personality. Are you simple or complicated? Are you modern or shabby chic?


silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm

I chose a simple textured color paper background for these reasons:

1. My shop Hint Jewelry is in reference to the whiff of fragrance you experience around flowers. I wanted my shop to be like a garden so I needed more color then my silver charms would offer.

2. I love paper. I am paper. If I could marry paper, I would. I'm a printmaker at heart and paper reminds me of skin -- seductive and tempting.

3. My taste and style is tends toward Zen so keeping the background simple and letting the jewelry and charms speak for themselves was essential to communicating my personality.


silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm

Choosing the type of background was one hurdle in figuring out photographs, but the hardest choice is deciding what color to use with each of my charms and necklaces.


silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm

I purposely photographed this Eclipse necklace on a bunch of different colored backgrounds so you can see how each one conveys a completely different feeling and mood.


silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm


Is my necklace sunny and happy?


silver charm eclipse necklace moonEclipse, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
ruby, sapphire, spinel, peridot, and silver eclipse charm


Or sporty and powerful?

It's hard to choose, and often I go back after some time having a piece in the shop and photograph it with a new background if I decide it doesn't work. My best advice is to keep evaluating your photos and be honest with yourself if they don't work. Be willing to do it all over again.

For more blog posts on running an online jewelry business or making metal clay charms check out my whole Behind the Scenes blog series.

3 comments:

  1. I do love the simplicity (but texture) of your backgrounds. I'm terribly bored of my white backgrounds and I too have stacks of paper (I hoard it though) so I really must begin experimentation...my camera and I have quite the volatile relationship!

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  2. Many thanks for sharing this, Beth! Your postings are always so insightful!

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  3. Haha, Mellisa what fun to know you wrestle with your camera too! I wish you lots of giggles on your photographic journey.

    Catherine, glad this was helpful!

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