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Speeding Up The Process of Taking Pictures For a Web Site

Taking images of unique items

     
2:26 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A Jewellery store will like to promote all its items online; however, taking the images and getting them ready for web seems to be more expensive then the site itself. With a customer that has limited knowledge of any photo editing s/w; is there a method of capturing Jewellery items besides using photoshop?
2:32 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What exactly are you trying to achieve?
2:40 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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however, taking the images and getting them ready for web seems to be more expensive then the site itself.

No it's not. That's just grunt work. You've got a thumbnail and you've got a bigger image. It just takes time is all. Hire a kid to do it for you, or save the money and do it yourself.

I mean unless you're talking a ba-zillion images...

2:51 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc... he must have a few 1000 items. Taking a photo for each item and cropping it would take forever, isnt there an automated way of doing this by now?
2:53 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There's no automated way to take a photo, no.

What, do think there's software that can actually take your pictures for you?

3:28 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I dont remember exactly, however, there was some sort of gadget offered to me awhile back that you place any jewellery item within its center and a photo would be taken with a pre-determined background. Only thing left to adjust would be the levels but there would be not cutting/cropping. There was a smooth metallic grey background
3:44 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That sounds like just a basic camera mount (that holds the camera in a set position). You place the item to be photographed in the designated spot, take the pic, move the next item in, etc.

There are probably lots of batch routines for taking a set of pictures and making thumbnails of them with Photoshop or some other software.

You'll still have to do the grunt work of physically placing the items, pushing the button on the camera, and transferring the image files to disk for processing. Oh, and the small issue of matching image names to specific items (so that the right image shows with the right piece of jewelry). :)

5:06 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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<<<<There's no automated way to take a photo, no.
What, do think there's software that can actually take your pictures for you? >>>

Happens to be there is
just it will cost you about $7,000
its called "Photosimile" made by a company called Ortery
in was featured in the Internet retailer in Jan. 2009 (think so)

basically what it does its a lightbox ,software you attach to your camera and it takes care of lighting all the camera settings including cropping

5:16 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You STILL have to manually move each object into focus, then remove it after then image has been captured, then do it all over again.... a ga-zillion times if necessary.

Show me software, or especially hardware, that automates THAT.

5:20 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'll say right up front, if your client doesn't see the value of getting good shots for jewelry, he/she is doomed to fail and you need to get this point across.

Jewelery, among all retail items, is possibly THE most difficult item to photograph well, and to add to it, the merchants are by far more discriminating than most. For a web site, is is also the most critical selling point, it's not like most items. The photography has to be as close to "perfect" as you can get it.

I have had several printing and web experiences with jewelry, as both an old-school drum scanner and a photographer. It takes quite a while, sometimes years, to get the hang of getting the RIGHT lighting and color balance for consistent jewelry photography. Even many professional photographers fail at this miserably (I've tried some.)

It is **not** something you want to hand to an amateur and not something you throw a commercial point and shoot at.

It is also not something you can or want to "tweak in Photoshop" for every image. If you don't get the right tones in the original, it will never be right and will always look tweaked.

For good jewelry photography the bare minimum you need is a balanced light source, tripod and a tent, shot with an SLR fitted with a close up lens. Do not use a flash, use the soft lighting of the tent. The light source should be between 24 and 30 inches from the hot spot, fitted with diffusers (umbrellas or hoods, in the case of halogens.) You'll need to do at the least a hundred or so test shots (if you're good) before you find the right settings to get a good balance of highlights to midtones without losing detail.

So more expensive than the site? In the case of jewelry, if that is what it takes to get what you need for the site, that's what it takes.

5:41 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Realbrisk ~ Thanks for the info, thats what i needed. I dont see my customer moving forward unless he agrees to buy this product
10:34 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Don't skimp on the photos. It is the primary selling aid for a jewelry website.
2:21 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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fashezee, the shortsightedness of buying that product will most likely have your client end up with poor images and a wasted $7k.

Don't take the easy (albeit expensive) way out. Read what rocknbil said again and tell it to your client. If you recommend the software to your client and it does not live up to their expectations, what do you think will happen to your relationship with them?

Some things have no easy answers. Do it right, or do not do it at all.

2:57 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree with akmac great high quality pictures for something like jewellery is a must and on that note its the same for many products.
4:10 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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rocknbil ~ thanks for the breakdown; I overlooked previously

There is a lesser solution the same company offers for about 1500$, but as mentioned, i did recommend 2setup a mini-studio 2see what kind of results they can get.

I'm beginning to think of setting it up myself! I would have the solution for ALL jewelers ready to go! ahh the Internet ... how it can get you going in soo many directions!

4:34 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If you got the point of my post, it will take you a while to get worthy jewelry shots on a consistent basis. :-)
4:51 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Automating something as important as taking product pictures seems to me a bad idea.

Contact a local college that has a photography course, find yourself a broke photography student and pay him nominal amount of money to get you the shots.

You can automate the creation of thumbnails and sized images as long as he gives you consistent photo dimensions.

Talk to the client and help him understand that these pictures can be reused for catalogs, print ad campaigns, in-store posters or product shots.

Don't think of the images as an expense for the website, have them think of it as an overall marketing expense. It will be easier to swallow.

Last, you don't have to launch with a photo of every item, you can launch with a few "top level" images.

Like 1 picture for engagement rings..... 1 for tennis bracelets, 1 for single pendant chains... and so on.

Then as you get more images you can add images for sub categorie so for rings you could do like "princess cut rings", for bracelets you could make "diamond bracelets", "gold bracelets", but just use 1 picture.... as you get more photos expand the site more.

Don't be overwhelmed, chop it into manageable tasks, and decide what the minimum amount of shots you can launch with is and work towards that.

 

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