Like most crafters who sell online, the most tricky part of the process is taking a fantastic photo of your product. After struggling for years, I think I have finally figured it out. Here is how I take close-up photos of my jewelry and other items for sale online.
The most difficult part of the process is getting professional looking lighting. You can purchase a collapsible box for this purpose, but ever the cheapskate, I wanted to create one for very little cost. I started with an old plexiglass box my office was throwing away. I think this one was used to store paper, but I have also seen them used for store displays. My friend picked up a larger one at a store-closing sale that was used to display shoes. My box is a little too short for some products, but it works for my jewelry and 5×5″ collages. Make sure the box you select will work for the products you will be shooting.
I covered the outsides with old onionskin typing paper I had lying around the studio. Connected with masking tape and scotch tape, it may not look pretty, but no one usually sees the outside of the box.
To create an ‘endless’ curved background, I tried poster board & cardboard, but they were either not sturdy enough, or too sturdy. I had an old cutting mat that was just a little narrower than the plexiglass box. I covered it with neutral fabric, to match the neutral jewelry busts I purchased at the store-closing sale. This background should fade into the background. So an old white sheet would work well too.
I apologize for not including more step by step photos, but I figured you were smart enough to figure out how to tape paper to the outside of a box. Plus, depending on the box you use, it will vary anyway.
I tried to use clip lights and desk lights to light the box, but the difference in bulbs and heights made for uneven lighting, which defeated the whole point of using a lightbox. So, I actually had to break down and spend some money on the project. I saw these lights on the Target website for $6, but when I got to the store, they were on the clearance rack for $2.50! Better yet, they use standard 60 watt bulbs, so you can use the compact florescent bulbs if you want.
I placed the lights with two on the sides facing in, and one on the top facing in to create a soft wash of light.
As I mentioned before, the box doesn’t look terrific on the outside, but it takes great pictures. Here is one I took using the new green Target lights. I shot in Macro mode with the flash turned off. Jewelry & beads get washed out and glaring when you use the flash, so just use the soft light of the lightbox.