Photography for Your Jewelry and Craft Website
Not only is it important to take good photographs for your website, it is equally important to make sure that your pictures load quickly. In this article we will cover a number of important issues:
Photography set up
Photography set up:
Your backdrop is your first concern. Where will you take pictures of your product, craft or object? Outdoor light seems to be the most recommended background. The outdoor lighting helps to create beautiful pictures. For jewelry, this option is not the best. It is harder to photograph jewelry than other crafts. For jewelry there are many other options for setting up a small photography studio.
How to Make My $15.00 Photo Studio
Lapidary Art: Basic Jewelry Photography
Photographing Jewelry for Print and Web
Each camera comes with their own terms. You will have to read your manual to decide what term they use for each of these settings. There are a few settings that you need to make on your camera.
Quality - I use the middle setting. This takes really nice pictures, but does not use up as much disk space.
Picture Resolution - My camera has either High (1760 x 1168 pixels) or Standard (896 x 592 pixels). Use the Standard setting.
Using a scanner to take pictures - Use the highest setting for you scanner to scan your pictures. Then edit as you would pictures that you have taken with a camera.
Editing for Website:
Do NOT save your photos in JPEG format until you are DONE editing. JPEG files do not take any changes very well. If you save it as a JPEG, then change the size, the picture quality goes down. Each time you open and change it, the quality keeps getting worse. Save all of your original files in your photo editing programs format such as .psd for Photoshop.
Save all of your website pictures in the size that you will use them on your site. Do NOT change the size of them once you get them onto your website. This will cause them to lose their quality. I like my "thumbnail" pictures to be 125 pixels x 125 pixels. The smaller the picture, the quicker it will load.
When you use the "thumbnail" tool, you are VIEWING the picture smaller, but your file size is still large. This causes your pictures to load just as slow as when you put the large picture on that page. This is why you save your picture the size that you want it to appear on your website. If you want a "thumbnail" sized photo, save it that size.
I recommend Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (the less expensive version approximately $80 at Buy.com) photo editing. There are many more products out there that are less expensive.
Following are the steps to take to edit your pictures for you website.
1. Once you have taken your pictures, download them to your computer. Save these files in your photo editing programs format. Since I use Photoshop, I save them as .psd files.
2. Open your photo editing program and open your picture. Crop your picture two sizes.
-Crop one picture for the "thumbnail" sized picture. I crop at 125 pixels x 125 pixels for square or 140 pixels x 125 pixel. You will have to decide how large or small you want your pictures. Just remember that the larger that they are, the slower they will load. (crop, save this file, then click "undo" to crop your next picture)
-Crop one picture for the larger picture that people will see once they click on the thumbnail. I use 300 pixels x 300 pixels, or 300 pixels x 275 pixels.
3. Use your photo editing tool to sharpen, and adjust brightness. These are all tools that you will have to play with to get the look that you want. I suggest that you read the tutorial on the photo editing program that you are using. Once you have the setting that you like, write them down and use them for most of your pictures.
4. Once you are happy with the appearance of your picture, it is time to save it for your website. In Photoshop they offer an option to "Save for Web". Once you have clicked Save for Web, it will take you to a tool that allows you to save it at the quality that you want. You can save most pictures for websites at 60%-80%. You will also have to play with this to find the right balance between picture quality and load time. For example:
- Picture saved at 60%, not real clear, loads in 3 seconds
5. Always keep a copy of your original (saved in your photo editing programs format). You may decide to go back and change it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Jay is a freelance writer and the jewelry designer behind Lantana Designwear. You can visit her websites at http://www.LantanaDesignwear.com and www.JewelryMakingHQ.com