tutorial part II

:: The Tutorial - part 2 ::

the third thing to talk about is backgrounds:

my primany experience is with jewelry, so most of this will be in relation to jewelry, and small plushies.

the things i've noticed that work best are these:

no matter the texture of the item, if the background is a complimentary color, it stands out.
blue on yellow, red on black, green on purple, teal on orange, etc.
if a color decision is not forthcoming, a pale ivory or a black and white print are great defaults.

if you're having trouble deciding on what the dominant color in your item is (so that you can decide on a background), lay it over/next to a color wheel. [link to color wheel]

whichever color you now see the most of is what you should think of as the dominant color. the nice thing about using a color wheel is that you just need to pick the color opposite your dominant to find the color that will make it stand out. (you can even use the color wheel to take pictures on, if you like.) (^.-)-b

second thing about backgrounds:
texture isn't bad! especially if your item is very smooth (like beads or wire).
the right texture can actually enhance your item. if you have a rough item, like a plushie, try a smooth background. the dichotomy of textures will actually enhance your items texture.

keep in mind though, that if your item is metallic, you don't necessarily want a metallic background. that being said, a piece of black velvet with a nice, clean piece of glass over top can compliment a piece very well. just be sure to avoid glares! if you're using natural light, put a thin white sheet over the window. it'll diffuse the light enough that you won't have bad glare, but still let in enough light to take decent photos. it's the same idea with the lightbox, actually. the top white sheet diffuses the light without discoloring it.

another thing you'll want to keep in mind is this:
dark item, light background
light item, dark background

the darker your item, the lighter you want the background (whatever you choose to use).
if you photograph a light item on white, there's the risk that the item will fade into the background. the easiest way to avoid this is to choose a darker, complimentary shade for the background. the same idea is true for darker items. if you have a dark item, and you photograph it on something black or dark brown, the item may end up blending in (and that's not what we want), so choose a lighter, complimentary color for the background.

if your item covers a range of darks and lights, consider using a simple gradient printed off the computer. [here's a tutorial to make one yourself in photoshop: http://beadabundant.blogspot.com/2009/07/tutorial-gradient-background-for-bead.html ]

i know keeping all that in mind can seem dizzying, but once you've gotten it, it'll become second nature for you when photographing your items.

stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow!
**photos compliments of theplushiefoundry.com and jewelry-ninja.com

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