Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Beadwork Photography Tips

Someone asked me recently if I had any tips and tricks to suggest for getting good beadwork photos so I thought I might as well post them here on my blog. The tricks I use have been learned through trial and error because I've had no photography training. I have a nice camera, thanks to my son, and I just leave it on the "auto" setting and let the camera do its thing. The only setting that I changed was turning off the flash. Never use a flash to take jewelry photos.


Natural light is the way to go so I try to only take photos when there is at least some sunshine coming in through the windows from outside. Otherwise my photos come out too dark and require far too much editing later. Bright sunlight is the best of course but I do close the blinds so that the light is indirect. Leaving the blinds open is almost as bad as using a flash.

Here is an example of a photo that was taken when the light in the room was very poor:

 Another trick that I've learned is that colors come out more realistic when I place the beadwork on a background image that's close to the same color or a slightly lighter shade of the main bead color. I never use a white background and rarely use very dark backgrounds. Matte, muted colored backgrounds seem to give the best results for me.

Here are two examples where I did use dark backgrounds to get the best results:

Black is a very difficult color to get right. Here is what the last sample looked like on a pale background:

The black came out pretty well but the dull, bland background caused the bracelet to fade out too much. The dark background allowed the black to be pretty good and the bright blue really pops.

Here are two examples where placing the bracelet on a background that is almost the same color as the main bead color was very effective:

Below are two more examples where you can see how using the wrong background color greatly effected the outcome. The blue beads aren't really as bright as they appear in the first photo. The second example has the correct bead colors. Actually, the seed bead color is probably more true in the top photo because they're closer to the background color than the rondelles. Getting the blue correct in the second photo resulted in the seed beads being a little too red. Sometimes I will manually edit the main color beads individually when that happens but I didn't in this instance even though it would have been relatively easy to do.

I use Paint Shop Pro for my editing and I just play with the settings until the colors look as close to real life as possible even if that causes the background color to be off. That's often the case and I've decided that it doesn't matter if the background color is wrong as long as the beads look the right color. There are no set steps or settings when editing photos because each photo will require something different. Just experiment with the settings in your graphics program. Keep a backup copy of the original photo and Undo is your best friend.


  1. good pictures of my work is an on-going challenge for me- thank you for the tips!

  2. thanks, some great tips! i would never have thought of putting the beadwork onto a similar coloured background but I can see why it works.

    1. I think that works well because the camera doesn't have to decide which color to emphasize. It also makes it easier to edit without making the background look way off.

  3. I hate photographing my jewelry work. Living in a climate where it's cloudy nine months out of the year makes it an extremely difficult proposition. lol

    1. Believe it or not, I hate it too! I just try to be thankful that I can take photos of my beadwork otherwise I wouldn't be able to have this fun blog.