Saturday, April 24, 2010

Studio Saturdays with Designer Lorelei Eurto

Welcome to Studio Saturday!
Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This weeks winner is Erin of Tesori Trovati!
Congratulations Erin!!
You have won a fun "Off to see the Wizard" necklace from Tari Sasser of Claybuttons!
Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

This week we visit the studio of Lorelei Eurto, Jewelry designer.

This week, I have gone outside of my studio and down to my Dining room to show you how I take my photographs of my finished jewelry pieces. Photography is a vital step in showing off your art beads.  I utilize a large North facing picture window in my dining room, along with a small wooden bench, and some kooky props. Watch this little video below, I'll show you what I mean.

I took a photograph of the bracelet in full sun. This is something I try to avoid, as I don't think it really shows off the piece of jewelry very well. There are shadows, and overexposure of light can really affect the true colors of the beads.

Below you'll see the photographs I took while I was shooting the video! 5 different shots to get a variety of different angles, plus a photo to show scale of the piece when it's worn.

To enter to win THIS BRACELET, yea! this exact one!
Please answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What photography tips do you have? Do you find
that a certain prop works better or a certain setting on your camera is key
to your jewelry shots?

Any questions about
my process can also be posted here!

A random winner will be picked next Saturday, here at Studio Saturdays on ABS!
Thanks so much for stopping by!


Mermaid Glass said...

Great tips! Your photos are always wonderful and I love the collage. I shoot almost exclusively lampwork beads which are really hard. I always use a lightbox, with filtered light and - if shooting on a light colored background - up my exposure time to make sure the colors stay true.
I think hollow beads, though, photograph best in sunlight. It really helps shows the 'bubble' effect.

Shaterra Clay said...

I use a piece of gray, handmade paper for my backgrounds. If I have conditions of full sun and need to take a photo, I have a translucent plastic pitcher with a piece of paper on the bottom for a liner. I put my piece in that to photograph it. It cuts out the shadows.

Malin de Koning said...

Hi, the photography of my jewellery has been a kind of worry and stress for me ever since I started making jewellery. I know how very important the presentation is from my background as a Graphic and Industrial Designer.  Yet I have been so unable to take good photos myself so there are still quite a few of my jewelleries I haven't any picture of. That is a big shame! Anyway, lately I have figured out that I can take good photos myself with just my iPhone (bless it!). I place them on a suiting surface on a shaeselong (spell?) in our living room. It is placed just by a north facing window. There is spare light coming from other windows aswell. This creates a very good lighting condition. And it is an easy enough set-up for me to get around to actually take my photos. Thanks for a great post! I will go and look at the video now.

Alice said...

Lorelei, that's a gorgeous bracelet!

I absolutely dislike taking photos of my work. I have a lightbox and a great camera, but still can't find that perfect photo. Some pieces are shiny, or dark, or large, so each photo taken requires an adjustment of some sort, and then more tweaking with a photo editing program. I believe I need to save up so cash for a lesson in photographing jewelry!

I love to use a somewhat textured white background for continuity in my photos.

Thanks for sharing!

Malin de Koning said...

Hi again, I just wish to add to my previous post that the trick with taking photograps with your iPhone is to experimenting with tilting and turning the camera in different ways to get nice angles. You can come fairly close to the object. And since the eye is in the corner of the camera it makes a difference wheather it, the eye, is up or down. Tilting creates different effects too. Good look! This works for me because it makes it so simple.

The video was great Lorelei!!!!!

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Thank you Lorelei for your tips on taking photogrpahs! I usually take lots and lots of photos of the same piece and then go through them all to look for the right one. Be patient, which is why I take the photos and my mom doesn't. The macro setting is the key, but I play with all the different settings. If you are like I am write down what settings you use so you know what you did with the fantastic photo that came out so you can use that setting in the future. Have a great weekend and happy beading! Beth

Lois Moon said...

Thanks Lorelei! I'm trying to develop better photo skills for shooting my jewelry so you video answered some of my questions. I usually go outside and shoot either early in the morning or in the evening, both times being when the light is diffused. For me this is because I haven't found the perfect window yet. I use macro and or super macro too. I also have just gotten a mini tripod. It has bendy legs and is only about 6 inches tall.

My favorite tool I can no longer use with my current camera - a shutter release cord. I used this when I shot film, but haven't yet gotten one for my digital. You use it with a tripod (or rest you camera on a stable surface) and remotely release the shutter. You will have no problems with camera shake. It is the greatest for crisp pics. You can get them for around $15...and I think I just talked myself into actually ordering one.

My pics aren't great because I frequently do not follow my own advice, but you can see some at


Spirited Earth said...

love these tutorials you're doing..
i have an old rusty cast iron pot lid that is a current fav backdrop..have also used a sheet of grey charcoal paper from the hobby store , it's readily available and inexpensive..the slate is a fabulous idea though..can't get wrinkled, creased or chewed up by the cat..
by the way couldn't really see the surface you were working on in this video.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Lorelei! Thank you for sharing your tips!

I love shooting my jewelry on slate/tiles, also. A great place to find them is at Home Supply stores (aka Home Depot). You can buy individual tiles without buying the whole case. Just ask! Most of the tiles I bought we under $2, with some only being 50 cents!

In Beads and Happiness,
Suzann Sladcik Wilson

Lois Moon said...

Here is my second tip: get a slave flash for indoor shooting. These are great if you want fill light or to brighten a shot. Sometime you might be shooting by with available light and still need a little boost.

The first link defines this type of flash.

The second link is to a $39 Sunpack slaveflash.

Hopemore Studio said...

What fun to see how others do it. I also use natural light when I can get it and my macro setting.

I have to use a tripod with my shaky hands, I even set the timer for 2 seconds, long enough for me to get my hands off the camera to eliminate blur.

I love scrapbook paper for my background, usually something muted and gray with some shading for variation.

Thanks for letting us see how you do it.


Boston Baked Beads said...

That was a great post! Nice video - I always love to see the face behind a name. I like to shoot on an overcast day or outside on the side of the house where the sun hasn't hit yet. Sometimes I place the piece in a large drum lampshade to diffuse the light and minimize shadows.

peacockfairy said...

I love these videos you are doing Lorelei! They are so helpful. I use the macro setting on my camera, but I think I am still trying to find the best light in my house and I want to get some better props.

Doreen said...

I don't really have any exciting tips for taking pics, because I'm still working on figuring it out. I never use flash.

Ann said...

Lately I have been using a white chinese paper umbrella to shade our harsh Arizona sun. I photograph out on our south facing patio, so the umbrella diffuses the light nicely!

EmandaJ said...

Hi Lorelei, Great post! When I photograph my pieces, I always have a piece of white paper outside in the area that will be cropped out but within the photo frame so that I can use the white as a "control" when I edit for color (I use Microsoft Picture Manager). I also set my camera on the Macro setting to get the clearest and most focused photo.

Now, please enter me in the drawing for the fabulous bracelet!

Happy Saturday!

Unknown said...

Great post Lorelei! I have a really great Sony camera with macro...nothing like macro! I need some better props tho. Props make the pics too! Thank you for your tips and have a wonderful weekend too L!

Jen Judd said...

Photography is definitely frustrating! But, I feel like I've come leaps and bounds thanks to advice like yours. :)

I use a tripod most of the time because it keeps the focus more true.

The macro setting is a MUST! I have a plain old Canon somethingorother and that little tulip is the trick.

Plus, I try to do a bunch of pics all at once and then have a session in my photo editing software to tweak them--usually it's just a quick adjustment of exposure to lighten them up.


Take care


Gardanne said...

I photograph glass, which is always a challenge, if the glass is transparent, whatever prop or background you have can alter the color of the bead. When I took a workshop on gallery submissions the advice was, only use white, gray, or black backgrounds.
I also manually adjust the exposure on my camera, sometimes if I have a dark bead the details will not show up unless I do this.
Down the road I will have to blog about the process, I have no photography background and I would love the input.
I would love a tutorial on how to do that collage, I alway enjoy that feature on your blog.

Julie Sakai said...

i'm a beginning beader but have been taking pics of my knitting for a couple years. jared flood (knitting designer/photographer) suggests shooting in natural daylight through a window with the light coming in a 90 degree angle from the camera lens. i'm going to get a piece of slate and try it out for my jewelry!

Maneki said...

Lovely bracelet!

As someone else said above, I too do not always follow my own advice, but here are a few of my tips:

*KISS. Especially if you're a newbie it's better to focus on getting a good, crisp shot than trying to add props and stuff.

*Get to know your camera and experiment with different settings until you find what suits you. Don't be afraid of changing the WB etc, even if you haven't tried it before. Also, using someone elses camera can be a disaster even if the camera is of better quality, but if you aren't used to the settings etc...

*Macro setting (the tulip). I love the super macro on my camera. Especially for photographing bead mixes: I can "dive into" the beads and get lovely close-ups.

*Good lighting. I use a far from ideal DIY light tent or take pics outdoors when the weather allows (though not in direct sunlight, better be overcast or in the shadow).

* Take many, many pics. Also, try different angles.

*Scrapbook papers are fab backgrounds. I use mostly papers in one colour, but sometimes patterns can add a nice touch. I've also combined papers.

*No flash.

*Work in a cat-free environment. Cats love attention, being in the centre and the heat from the lights.

* You can get nice effects by lighting transparent coloured beads from beneath.

*Suspend pendants, earrings etc from transparent fishing line, Illusion cord etc. They look much better photographed like that, compared to laying flat on a piece of paper.

*Get a photo editing software. I like my Photoshop Elements, but nowadays I use free programmes like IrfanView, Picasa and Photofiltre. You can resize pics and make collages in Paint.

*check the focus! When taking pics you should have the front of the object in focus or place it 1/3 from the front end. Sometimes you need to push the button halfway down to fix the focal point and then "rearrange" the camera, moving it sideways or up/down to get all of the object in view. There are different focus "modes" to choose from in the camera settings, check you manual or tips on what mode to choose.

SarahM said...

my top tips :)

I have found that shooting on a white background is best, for a number of reasons.

I find that photo's come out with colours that are more like the original. If you know and use photoshop, adjusting the "levels" works much better if there is white in the picture (while still keeping colours realistic).

For showing buyers the scale of the items, and i don't want to use myself as the model, i just use a key or a coin... or any object that people are familiar with.

I also try and use a tripod as much as possible in order for the image to be really clear even close-up. If you don't have a tripod you can also prop up the camera, but remember to use the timer to avoid catching the movement when you press the shutter button. The timer allows the camera to be perfectly still when the shutter opens.

If you're shooting outside and don't want shadows then use a flash. It might sound strange but it really does work. Just make sure that you shoot from the side on which the shadow falls.

GailW. said...

I had a hard time learning to shoot good jewelry shots.I blamed the camera,then the computer.Well,husband bought me new ones for Christmas,and my pictures were still horrible.I was at my wits end,so I asked Heather for help.She advised me about what natueal sunlighty worked best for her,and for me to take 100 pictures of each object.I also found some colored craft sheets in a book around the house,and after doing all of this,I think my pics are getting much better.
This is a great subject you've brought up,Lorelei,I'm sure there are others who are camera shy.

lunedreams said...

Thanks for sharing your tips Lorelei! Man, I could never take focused photos just holding my camera out like that--you must be steady as a rock! So glad I got my tripod. $14 at Walmart. I love your slate background, always wondered what it was, it's such an even-toned perfect piece. I love my slate too but it's much more weathered looking. We don't have enough sun here in winter to use only daylight, so I use full spectrum daylight bulbs diffused under a plastic tub with some thin, white flour sack towels for extra diffusion. The light is very nice, but I usually have to correct the color in Photoshop. I've always admired the lighting in your photos. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I continue to learn about photographing my jewellery. I have a "fancy" camera (digital SLR) as I am a bit of a camera buff, particularly outdoor and travel shots. I have even taken a course. BUT I think this has put me at a disadvantage as I am by no means a "pro" and I tend to over think my shots. I have a light box, but have recently decided to try the natural light in my living room and see if I like that better.
The video was great because it showed exactly what you do. Thanks.

Mellisa said...

I really don't love doing the photography part of things...enough that I actually scan all my pendants rather than taking a picture. For jewelry or beads the macro setting is a must, like everyone else has said!

Kylie Parry said...

great tips
I like photographing by a pic window (similar to yours!) on a slightly overcast day. Not too sunny...or too cloudy. Perhaps I need to find a more reliable method!

Gemstone Jewelry said...

I really like your blog so much,i also wanna make like this blog.but i will add something different jewelry information.

MoonRae said...

I take terrible photos of my jewelry, so there's nothing to learn from me except what NOT to do....haha I've learned a few new things just reading the others' tips and techniques!! Thanks!!!!!

Jan Thomason said...

I enjoyed reading everyone's comments - thanks, y'all!

i like to take my necklaces and drape them over a chippy white picket fence.

i really liked the idea about putting white paper behind the piece to help with aqdjusting the coloring of the piece...and, taking the pictures in natural light.

fyi - i have a digital camera and keep the setting on automatic then there's no mistakes. LOL

Tracey said...

Hi Lorelei I just found this blog and it's totally awesome:) I make beads and jewelry. Usually always take my photos outside and find mid day sun the best. I like to use beachy props, i.e. sand, shells, starfish, etc. Love the bracelet up for the contest (hope I win:)

FrankandRox said...

great discussion point. everyone has added some more great tips to the video starting point. I'm still working on finding the right groove, but someday. I like to have a large sheet of vellum to diffuse the light a bit when it's stong.

TesoriTrovati said...

Wow! I won! How cool is that?

I love your photographs, Miss Lorelei. Thanks for sharing your tips!
I avoid direct sun.
I use a slate tile from Lowe's.
I set my tile up near a window with indirect sunlight.
I always take many different angles and closeups.
I love Picasa and use it to bump up the color if necessary (but most of my photos don't need any monkeying around) and I love the collage feature!
I never use props as I think it detracts.
I love that you use the wearable shots. That is something I need to work on.

Thanks for sharing!
Enjoy the day!

Shannon Chomanczuk said...

Thanks so much for the video tutorials. I am new to taking photos of my work and really needed the tips. What has worked for me in the past has been to pick a shady spot on a nice day and take photos that way. Your tips will be great for those NY winter days. Thanks so much.

Betty said...

Wow, you make it look so effortless. I have previously used white fabric with a slight texture as a background to disappointing results, so think I'll try your idea of a slate/grey background. Also, guess I better check out the macro focus on my camera. Thanks to you and everyone for sharing this info.

Erin S said...

Lighting lighting lighting! I use professional soft boxes set up in the garage. That way you can control it anytime of day in any type of weather.

Claire Maunsell said...

Photography has been the hardest hurdle for me.
I use 1 halogen flex lamp and 2 translucent washing basins for diffusion screens. One has a cutout in the front, and the other has a cut-out in the top. Like Lorelei said, Macro is your friend... and don't use too much light so everything is glary. I use the two second delay and hold my breath and/or a mini tripod from the $store. And then if they aren't perfect, I edit them in Picasa which is quick and easy...

Lori P said...

beautiful bracelet! I have tried the light box but in the end, I take my photos using natural light only, a little away from the window (seems to help with shadow issues) and I put my jewelry on a piece of dark gray pastel paper, which is about 22 x 30 and can be used flat or propped against a table to use as both the base and background.

Linda Landig said...

I am enjoying your tutorials, Lorelei! Photography has been a real struggle for me, but it is slowly improving. Lately I have put a board across the tub in the master bath, because the tub is in a corner with big windows on either side! I photograph on white card stock laid on the board. I use a tripod and go off of manual by over-exposing the picture to bring in more light. Discovering the levels adjustment in Photoshop Elements has made a huge difference for me--so that now I am in the process of switching out all the old photos from my website and replacing them with the lighter ones! A big job!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

Glad to see you doing another video, Lorelei! We love them! Thanks for the helpful tips! I can't imagine how your photos turn out so clear without a tripod or at least holding your breath. Good job. I need to set the timer for a 2-second delay to avoid "shake". I use a tripod and a 2' square light box (the Wisconsin winter requires an indoor shoot). A friend who photographs crime evidence helped me with some basic camera settings. Camera is aCanon PowerShot A85, 5 pixels, not new or fancy, but certainly adequate. I like your north window and have noticed your props in many photos, they look just right for background. Thanks again!

Lynn said...

I also place my work by my north facing window - and I love to set the piece in one of my (too) many dishes of rocks or shells. Definitely the macro setting!

Love your work!!

Eve said...

BEautiful work, I really dig it.

sasha + max studio said...

Thanks for video tips Lorelei - really helpful -you must have a very steady hand - I usually use one of 2 types of tripod depending on the scale of the piece. I struggle with light - we have some very "big" daylight in Australia so if the photos are done outside they get washed out. Inside is good on fine day when the sun has moved on, but we live in a apartment with very tinted windows, so there is often a grey cast to my photos which I have to touch up with a bit of post production work. Picaca or even good old basic Microsoft picture manager.
Prop wise - love my plywood tree ! Vicki

SummersStudio said...

I am stunned and amazed that you can take such great photos without a tripod! The sun is very harsh here so when I do use natural daylight I do it in shade. Otherwise I use daylight bulbs shining from different angles to get rid of shadows. That probably doesn't make sense.

Susanm said...

Thanks for your tips. I have just started photographing my jewelery - actually my husband takes the pictures because he has a better camera. But I am anxious to start taking my home. I have a beautiful linen table cloth which is working well as a background.

Regina said...

Enjoyed your video. Fortunately, my husband takes the pictures of my jewelry, how cool is that! Every two weeks or so, we spend a morning (usually saturday) together photographing my pieces. I set up the scene and he takes the pictures. His hobby is photography and this way we both get to do what we like. He uses a light tent, tripod, lights and a fancy camera. And afterwards we spend quality time together editing the pics for uploading to my site. I love to use props for my main picture and it is usually fresh flowers. But I do have a collection of knick knacks that I use depending on the season or theme. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa Martin said...

Hi! I'm a total amateur, and a wanna be! I don't take very good photos, I'd like to. I can appreciate a good photo. I don't really have any tips other than I grabbed a paper towel once to photograph jewelry on and I think it worked quite well. It was one of the more expensive brands I think as it was rather like cloth. enjoyed reading all the info here on photographing jewelry.

Marie Cramp said...

I imagine everything has been covered but I will just say what I normally do. I use the macro setting, no flash, natural light but not direct sunlight. I will however occasionally use direct sunlight for Boro glass beads because it does show off the movement and colours in the bead in a different way :) I have a canon powershot 12.1 megapixel, with 6X optical zoom. This camera does allow me to be literally on the piece to take a nice clear closeup picture.

Anonymous said...

I take my pictures on a marble window sill that makes a nice neutral background - if I ever move, I'll definitely have to buy a marble tile. The place also has good natural lighting (most of the time). I try to get pictures taken at a time during day when there’s no direct light shining through the window (I don’t always manage, though). I have a very simple digital camera and no tripod, but I do well enough without one. I use the macro setting and try to avoid flash, especially for glass beads, because it tends to change the colours and make them glow (though sometimes I experiment with it on mostly metal pieces, to see what looks best). If the weather is too dark, I sometimes have to slightly correct the lighting and contrast in photoshop, having a light box for those days would be cool. But usually the only thing I do in Photoshop is to play around with a sharpening mask (makes a great difference in sharpness!) and remove any distracting light reflections or dust specks on the background with the clone stamp or healing tool.

Kym Hunter Designs said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I don't have any success tips yet. My husband says that I have a small jewelry shop supply of pieces that I've made, but I don't have pictures of anything on my sites. I don't know if I'm being too picky, but I haven't been satisfied with any of my pictures so far. After watching your video, I'll try again today.

*~tabby~* crooked heart art said...

oh how i hate to take pic's of my work!! but i do wait for natural light and use macro on my camera-i also use fxfoto to enlarge the piece in order to see the bead work better
many great tips here in the comments!! this was a great question for many of us
thank you

Unknown said...

I have only been taking pix of my jewelry for the past 4/5 months.I use a simple point & shoot digital set on text & micro. I have a covered patio for outdoor light, but my brother's dining room table is my fave spot to shoot. I bought a light tent, but don't love it as much as I want to. It is SO big it's hard to set up! I have a couple of wallpaper books that I pulled pages from for backgrounds. I can try 2/3 different colours w/ pieces for different effects.I have always admired Lorelei's photos, I have tried a few shots w/ an old dictionary because of her, & I plan on looking @ tiles soon.

Lorelei Eurto said...

Thank you all, for your great tips! I have been learning so much just reading through these!
Yep, no tripod. Sometimes I do suffer from the shakes, especially if I'm trying to take a shot one-handed. But typically with both hands, I can hold it steady enough for a clear pic!
This summer I'm on the look-out for something wood, with chipped paint, maybe in a teal color- for another photo prop!

Elizabeth said...

I like to photograph on denim and wood. I like the way those materials absorb the flash and yet leave the sparkle in the focus piece.

Thank you for your generosity!


Anonymous said...

I had lots of trouble with pics when I started. My husband would scan my pieces on the scanner, which worked pretty well, until I really started getting into the chunkier 3D pieces. I finally invested in a Cloud Dome, which is set up in our garage. It came with a lot of stands, etc, but I like to use a leftover piece of ceramic tile flooring. It's a little earthier. GREAT bracelet Lorelei!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I really struggle with taking good photos, and your tips were very useful! Also, thanks to everyone else who has commented... even more great ideas :-D

Nicki said...

I really should not leave a comment here as I have no tips to give. I should basically take a class in photography. Next thing on my list. But thank you Lori and all you other beaders out there for this great post and the very helpfull comments.

S said...

I, for one, actually really enjoy taking photos of my pieces... at least, pieces of them- I have a supermacro add-on lens for my p&s camera, that can make seed beads look HUGE, and really show off the work that goes into a piece. I generally like to shoot in direct light, outside, because I want my beads to glow. I've recently acquired a light tent (shooting outside in new england in the winter is NO FUN)but its taking a bit of futzing and changing of lights to get the light cover the way i want it to emulate natural light as best as possible. I have a small mosaic table top in neutral colored shell pieces that I now use for all of my photos, to give them continuity- its the perfect size to bring inside and plop into my light tent.

heather said...

It is so nice of you to share your knowledge. I also like a north facing window for natural light. I came across a great tip from somewhere though incase you have a dark day and must photograph. I use my Ott light which has the more natural light bulbs. Sometimes I can eliminate shadows by placing it opposite the direct light too. This is really helpful with larger reflective beads; polished polymer and some glass beads. Love your new videos!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lorelei,
Pretty much what I was going to share has been covered including how well you shoot one handed and no tripod! Hats off to you !

I love your work and your blogs is so great I subscribed to the RSS feed!!!

I also love your bracelet very much too!!

Thanks you for the tutorial!!


Sissy and Jack's said...

As always Lorelei has great info. My workbench is by a window with great light and that is what I use.
I have a super Macro setting too and that is what I use.

Sissy and Jack's

Chelsea Girl Designs said...

Thanks for all the info here! And your great video, Lorelei!

I struggle with pictures way too much! I'm getting better with practice. Best prop is a white melamine placemat and piece of bark! Camera on super-macro, adjust ISO for light and use my manual setting on my Canon. Some days are good, some bad! :)

Anonymous said...

love,love your piece,it's quite original,as well as, breathe-taking. i would love to win it...
the answer to your question from me is a couple of things< first i like things that pop!, immediately grab your attention,i find if you use a color wheel with 1 or 2 of your colors in your piece the contrasting color on the wheel is the perfect background. i'm very artsy, and probably strange or weird to people who don't know me,but, if the piece i want to photo has a theme i try to connect it with something indoors or even outdoors. sounds, crazy,well it really works... another thing i like to do is similar to dbl. exposure but i use a black and white with a color,it will surprise you. i have actually hung some as art. well, those are my answers. hope they are something you might like to try...

barbara hopkins @

Carols place said...

Thanks so much for the information.. Is there a usual time of day you take your pictures? And, what photo program do you use to down load your pictures to?

Carols place said...

Thanks so much for the information..
Is there a usual time
of day you take your
What photo program
do you use to down load your pictures to?

Carols place said...

Thanks so much for the
information.. Is there
a usual time of day you
take your pictures? What
photo program do you
use to down load your pictures