So I asked what topics would you like me to cover on doing photography related tutorials, and one reply was taking better quality photos of jewelry pieces and other products using a cell phone camera. I will start off by saying I am not an expert when it comes to taking pictures with a cell phone but I have learned a few tricks and apply my photography knowledge to getting better cell phone pictures. Below are my tips to improving your cell phone pictures.
Lighting : Use natural lighting when possible, but avoid direct sunlight! Shown in the picture below you will see that I have placed the ring a couple feet from the window. If you have direct sunlight shining through the windows diffuse the light by closing the curtains far enough to block the sun. Just remember with jewelry especially, the brighter / more light that is on it, the more you will have reflections and glares which can be distracting.
Background : I would suggest starting with something simple, to keep the focus on the jewelry / product. Use solid colors that are neutral, to help from being distracting. If using fabrics, be sure to pull it tight to illuminate wrinkles. Find a contrasting background to help the jewelry / product pop, this will help draw more attention to the subject being photographed. Be sure not to use a reflective background, this will only make things more complicated and if there are glares it will draw the eye away from the subject. If photographing more than one jewelry / product use the same background, this will help the over all look and feel of your images to be more professional, clean and consistent.
Camera Settings : As every camera is slightly different, so are phones (including the quality of the lens)… but most have a way to do the same type of settings. As seen in the shot above the auto settings of this cell phone camera is over exposing this shot. If your shot is too bright you should be able to change your exposure. With iPhones there is a feature that pops up when you tap your finger on the screen to focus your shot, there is a little sun icon on a vertical line that appears next to your focus box (see image below). Slide the sun downward to darken the exposure to the desired look you want. I would also suggest using a cell phone camera tripod to keep steady for the best focus. If you don’t have a tripod then use both hands and if possible place the phone on something to help keep you steady. Most lenses have a certain distance for a prime focus. Starting with your phone as close as you can, slowly pull it back until you see that your subject is focused. Then you can crop the image or slightly zoom to get a closer shot. I would stress on the word slightly as over zooming can create a poor quality image.
Filters : Using filters and other edit settings is a preference thing. I would highly avoid changing the image too much as it tends to look over processed. The only edit settings I tend to use are; exposure to help darken or brighten an image, contrast to help soften or deepen the dimension of an image, temperature to help correct the white balance and the crop tool if wanting a different ratio. If I do change any edit settings I typically will do a minor edit (nothing major). If it was a picture done for fun I may add a filter, but I probably would avoid using filters if doing a product shot. I will say that if using a filter for a product shot be sure to use the same filter throughout your images to keep it consistent.
Well I hope this has been helpful to at least a few of you. The tips are pretty basic, so if you have a specific question in mind just ask and I will do my best to help. If you have any suggestions on photography related tutorials please let me know in the comments below!