I first got involved with product and jewellery photography when my wife started her online handmade jewellery business. She experienced significant success selling beaded watches on eBay but was disappointed with the results that she was getting with traditional “light box” techniques. Keen to help her, I researched on Youtube and Google what could be done to improve the professionalism of the results.
Here is a large jpg of the image that was produced in the video:
Here is a link to our online shop. 100% of the pictures were taken with the Flashbox: www.kellysjewellerycollections.co.uk
Here is a taster of the images on the Jewellery Collections website:
There are a multitude of companies selling light boxes for jewellery and small product photography purposes. They tend to be aimed at the hobbyist and basic retailler. Primarily they comprise a white background / diffuser, together with 1/2 lamps, usually with a “daylight” bulb to make the lighting effect as realistic as possible. It is much harder to get a good shot with traditional incandescent / halogen lights.
We did try a light box and daylight lamp – the cost was not much and it seemed a good move. However the results were not good and ultimately we wasted a lot of effort and time. Having researched further, I came across Steve Bolson’s video on YouTube extolling the virtues of his Flashbox range of products. It sounded too good to be true – a product that allows professional level product photography without the expense and bulk of a commercial studio. The one thing you can’t buy is experience (without employing a photographer of course!) but, it did seem that Steve’s solution required less expertise than other methods. The one catch is the cost – it is not cheap, but when you compare the upfront cost with the alternative – take poor photos and make fewer sales, or send the products off to an expert at a very high price per shot, the cost in contrast it very affordable.
The one aspect that I did not fully appreciate as a newbie was the need for Photoshop. On reflection it was naive. The only way to really achieve the results that are needed, regardless of the method used to take the photograph is to use Photoshop to tweak the original photo.
Steve does supply a number of very easy to follow tutorial videos as part of the deal when you buy a Flashbox. These are very simple and straightforward. I had zero prior experience in using Photoshop before working with the Flashbox and am now confident at doing reasonably simple photo edits.
Photoshop is now much more accessible as it can be subscribed to on the Adobe CC plan for a very low monthly fee. This helped us significantly.
27 Inch Monitor
The other aspect of the editing setup that I had not fully appreciated was that a standard laptop screen does not have sufficient colour depth to allow for accurate editing. Thad is – I could not discern the difference between different shades of white and such discrimination is vital. After a lot of online research, I settled on a Viewsonic VP-2770. It has a great breadth of features, especially colour gamut. Steve reccommends the 21.5″ iMac which of course has superb definition and colour gamut.
We invested in the HMS (Highly Mirrored Surface) which allow for a really professional photo to be taken with a reflection of the product. This gives a useful tool to generate more varied photographs.
We also invested in a watch kit. This looks rather like a collar that dogs and cats wear when they are recovering from Vetinary surgery. It focused the light on a custom watch stand. It is really useful for generating professional watch photographs.
We have not yet invested, but Steve also does a very useful turntable for taking 360degree product videos. Given the prevalance of online video, this is an almost vital addition to the kit. Bear in mind though that you will also need to upgrade your Adobe CC subscription to include Adobe Premiere.
We have found the Flashbox to be a vital part of our toolkit for getting professional looking product and jeweller photographs, hope this review has been of some help. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below – happy to share any information that may be of some use.