Dramatic Photo… Amateur Set-up!

16 08 2010

Over the past year, I’ve improved my photo taking abilities alot – I look back at some old pictures, and the difference I see is really obvious. The one thing I just never got was taking photos on models.. Now I know it’s important – it helps folks see the size of an item, and it shows how a piece lays. But I never felt comfortable about using real people. So I recently bought a jewelry mannequin, and I just love how my new photos are coming out!

Pink Ice and Crystals

I think this looks so cool…. of course, I love my jewelry (Simple Pink Crystal Earrings, Triple Crystal Necklace, and Pink Ice Crocheted Necklace), but I am so impressed with the dramatic look I got! But I am NOT a photographer…. I am a jewelry designer, and creating a professional shooting location is not something I can do now.

So I am going to embarrass myself and show you all the “great” set-up I finally created, which gives me such dramatic shots!

The Photo Set-up!

Lucky for me, I have great light in my bedroom, from the window on the left…. But I had a problem, since all my surface areas were against the walls, making it impossible to shoot with the light behind me (I close the curtains with the light behind me, which gives me diffused, but bright lighting). So, my TV has become my photo shoot stand!

Adding the Dramatic Black Background

I had a piece of heavy black board from years ago, and I just stand it up behind the mannequin – it’s a bit of a balancing act, but it works for me! I make sure to turn the TV (the stand is on casters) so that the light hits the surface straight on, which reduces the shadows and keeps the color bright.

Three Strands

I am so thrilled – the colors look so true on the white, and the whole thing just pops against the black, and I don’t even have to do any adjusting to the photos… Who would have guessed that I could get this result while balancing the mannequin on top of my TV?!



8 responses

21 08 2010
Sherry Ball Schoenfeldt

I am so happy you shared how you did this. These photos are VERY impressive. I was just showing my hubby that I’m finally taking some good photos of my purses but I STRUGGLE with jewelry and collages. I have several mannequins but things don’t hang the same way as on a real person. This mannequin and the black background – WOW!!! I’ll have to go see if I can hunt one of these down.
but what will I do since my tv is on the wall? hehe

21 08 2010

Glad you liked it! I was really surprised at how crisp the photos came out, and I figure if I can take pictures that look this good, anyone can!!

7 09 2010

Very nice — found your blog through the Etsy forums and had to check it out!

16 04 2011

Your photos are amazing with that mannequin. Do you mind if I ask you the place you bought from? I have an online jewelry shop and trying to find this kind of mannequin for a long time. Do they have an online shop for me to buy from?

Thank you so much in advance,

all the best,

16 04 2011

Thanks Suwanee… this style mannequin is sold thru a few of the major jewelry suppliers. I think I got this from Rio Grande or Nile Corp – both have online sites. Although I love how it looks also, please be aware that it is NOT life sized, but is a bit smaller. I don’t think it’s a concern, but some people prefer life sized. Good luck!

9 04 2015
Gloria B

Great advice, and thanks for showing the pictures. They make things so clearly. I have one question, when I try to make a paddle, I use the flat chasing hammer. For some reason, the paddle does not stay straight, it shifts to the left or right, so I end up with a crooked ended paddle. What can I be doing wrong?
Thanks much.

5 09 2015
Nancy Thompson

Dax, in spite of the reservations about the holes, I could use some of these for the earrings I make and I was wondering if you might share the source? I have a tax-ID number, so can buy from wholesaler, if that is the source. Thanks so much!

16 11 2015

Hi Nancy,
I think I go the manniquin from Rio Grande Jewelry Suppliers… good luck!

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