In the fast moving, competitive world of online selling, product images play a vital role. You need to create thumb-stopping visuals that catch a customer’s eye, stop them scrolling and draw them in to engage with your product.
When it comes to selling jewellery, high-quality staged product shots are extremely important for helping customers see the finer details of my jewellery however, these types of shots are actually quite difficult to create because of the challenges of lighting and shadows.
As well as staged shots, it’s equally important to provide images of jewellery on the body that show dimensions and fit. Not being able to see body shots can be a deal breaker for many shoppers. People want to physically see how long the drop of an earring is, or how a statement necklace or bracelet looks when it’s worn.
When it comes to shooting body shots, I would much rather leave it to professional models and photographers because, trust me, it’s much easier to get a great image that way. But the reality is I don’t always have models or professional photographers at my disposal, which means I need to have a plan B.
Embracing the unforgiving lens
I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have told me I should model my own jewellery. I know what they’re saying makes sense, after all I am the brand and I know how to naturally style each piece. Plus, my customer demographic is generally women like me who are 40+.
The problem is that while being in front of the camera is the most natural thing in the world for some people, for others it feels like a fate worse than death – and I fit into the second category! I’ve never liked taking pictures of myself or wanted to jump on the selfie bandwagon, it’s just not my thing. Sometimes though budget and circumstances mean I have to get over my resistance and find ways to embrace the unforgiving lens.
Creating product images on your phone
With the camera on most phones now being nearly as good as a professional one, taking a great shot myself is more achievable than it’s ever been.
When I photograph a bracelet for example, being right-handed, I’ll wear the bracelet on my left wrist and then use my right hand to hold the phone and capture the image. Or, if I have a friend with me, I’ll ask them to take the shot – there’s no point in struggling if you don’t have too right?! Great lighting is always crucial, so I position myself near to a window to make the most of the natural light.
When I’m taking ¾ or full length body shots to show how to style the jewellery, I set up the shot using a tripod with a remote control. Again, I’ll use the natural light from the window and will keep adjusting the position of the shot until I find the perfect light with no shadows on my face. Then, remote control in hand, I’ll take a few shots from different angles and sometimes add a filter to bleach out any extra shadows – thank the lord for filters!
It takes a little patience and a few shots to get one I can use, but guess what? It always takes a few shots, even when you’re working with the flawless beauty and expertise of a professional model and photographer. On a photo shoot a good photographer knows to keep shooting, but a great one adjusts your hair a little and suggests slight adjustments in body movements to capture the best light.
If you want beautiful, high-quality headshots and you have the budget, I recommend working with a professional photographer and, where possible, investing in a stylist, makeup artist and hair designer.
I recently paid to work with a professional team. It took us some time to get any usable images because, as I mentioned before, I’m not really comfortable in front of a camera. The photographer kept saying, “Big smile!” Now, some people smile beautifully on demand, but me – not so much! Nevertheless, we ended up with some great images that I could never have produced on my own, so it was well worth the investment.
But sometimes you just don’t have the time or the cash to work with a professional team, in which case you can definitely do it yourself. There’s been many occasions when I’ve created a new piece of jewellery or I particularly like how a piece looks when I add it to an outfit, so I’ve produced my own headshot to capture it.
I hope this has given you some encouragement and confidence to create your own product images.