Jewelry always makes the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Make that gift of jewelry even more special by turning our adorable charms and pendants into unique and personalized jewelry that is sure to put a smile on that special someone’s face. Heart charms, quote charms, infinity links, and charm bracelets come together to form beautiful and memorable designs to make this Valentine’s Day as memorable as can be! Click the images below to see our gallery of cute and fun design ideas!
January 27, 2016
January 21, 2016
Looking to shop beautiful silver, gold plate, and bronze charms and findings? Nina Designs will be at the GJX show in Tucson, from February 2nd through the 7th. We will have a selection of some of our most popular sellers, and some of our favorite classic designs. Come by and see us at booth number 435, we look forward to meeting you!
GJX does have specific buyer requirements. Please click here to get more information.
December 23, 2015
If you are looking for fresh and new jewelry design inspiration, look no further! Our Instagram community is growing and we want you to join too. If you aren’t familiar with what the app Instagram is all about, it can basically be summed up as visual storytelling. You can post as many photos as you would like to create your story or journey, and follow others to view theirs as well.
We’re inviting you to join us on our journey through Instagram for continuous jewelry and design inspiration. We make posts daily that include finished jewelry design ideas, sneak peeks of new and exciting styles on their way, and behind the scenes looks at our design process, and what life is like around the Nina Designs office. You must have a smartphone to use Instagram, since you are only allowed to post photos from your phone. If you do have a smartphone, the app is free and easy to download if you don’t already have it! When you are logged into the app, just follow @ninadesignsjewelry to join in on the fun! We also will be offering exclusive sales and discounts through Instagram, so get following!
December 9, 2015
In this second segment of our 3 Part Series on Jewelry Photography (see part one here), we will focus on the most critical part of the process, lighting your creations. Achieving success in photographing jewelry is reliant on having good, natural lighting.
Part Two of Three: Lighting Options for Jewelry Photography
It is always best to use indirect natural light when photographing your creations. Artificial light can dull the reflective surfaces and give a yellow cast to the photo. And direct light, even if natural, is far too is harsh for jewelry with its metallic and faceted surfaces. It can create “hot spots” (areas that look bright white) and deep sharp shadows. There are many options for lighting and each has pros and cons. Choose what is right for your budget and experiment with it to get the best results. Take LOTS of photos. This is definitely a process where you have to “break a few eggs to make an omelet.”
Shooting outside on overcast days is great but when it is full sun you need to create diffused, indirect light. Possible ways to achieve this are to place your photo surface under a tree or other large item that is creating shade, working under a large umbrella (white or cream colored would be best) or suspending a piece of white fabric such as a sheet over the area that you are working. If you do trade shows or art fairs, you may own a pop up tent. The light shining through the top of a white tent canopy creates a giant light box! Set up your photo surface under it and you’re ready to go. You can also build your own light box that you can use indoors or outdoors which we’ll go into later.
Pros: Working outside offers natural light that is surrounding the piece creating a soft even tone when diffused, instead of the light coming from one direction or source.
Cons: Weather and time of day dependent, can be too harsh if not filtered properly, can be too uncomfortable (hot, cold, buggy, windy, etc.)
To harness natural sunlight as your light source while inside your home, try photographing your work right next to a window. To diffuse the direct sunlight, tape a large piece of tracing paper or white vellum over the window. It also helps to lay a large piece of opaque white paper on the table you are working on to reflect the light back up (you can also use this to set your white balance on your photo but more about that later!) You may need to use a “Fill Card” to bounce the light back on your piece to create sparkle on gemstones or reduce shadows. The fill card can be a piece of bright white cardstock or one that has a silver metallic surface such as Cresent Matboard 1020 Thin Silver Foil, available at many art supply stores. Be sure to turn off the artificial light sources in the room.
Pros: Inexpensive, homemade solution.
Cons: Weather and time of day dependent, can be too harsh if not filtered properly, light coming from only one the side. Only works if you have a window that gets enough sunlight!
Here is a great link that covers this process with photos: A 6 Dollar Solution to Photographing Jewelry
Soft Box or Tight Tent
This cube shaped, white nylon light tent is widely used to produce e-commerce web images, professional catalog images and online auctions. A typical light tent or “soft box” has a front velcro door flap which has a slit in the center made for your cameras lens to shoot through in order to produce even lighting. Can be used indoors with external spot lights with daylight bulbs or outside to diffuse sunlight.
Pros: Easy to set up and transport, light weight, excellent for table top use, affordable.
Cons: Lights not included. Enclosed space can be hard to maneuver inside to adjust products.
Professional Light Box
If you take lots of photos for your jewelry business you may want to invest in professional level lighting equipment. There are a wide range of options. At Nina Designs, we use a Flashpoint Light Box to photograph our products. It is very easy to assemble and the unit comes with a 70 watt flicker-free fluorescent, spiral bulb, and is rated at 5500 degrees Kelvin meaning it is “daylight balanced.” This long lasting “cool” light emits very little heat and can stay on all day long without a problem. We always use “fill cards” or “reflectors” to help bounce the light back onto the pieces.
Pros: Use any time of day, portable, allows you to create different effects by controlling shadows and highlights, height adjustable, built in light.
Cons: Can be expensive.
You need three parts to make up the light box that we have at Nina Designs. Below are the links to the equipment at www.adorama.com:
1. – Flashpoint Softbox
2. – Extension Grip Arm
Homemade Light Box
Feeling ambitious? There are many ways you can create your own light box. Most can be built for under $20.00! Basically, you need to create a frame that has openings for filtered light to come through on the sides and top. You can use a cardboard box, a clear plastic storage tub, wood, PVC pipe…the possibilities all endless. After you build your frame you’ll need some “diffusion material” to secure over the openings such as white tissue paper, interfacing fabric, thin white poly/nylon fabric, cut up men’s white undershirt material…again, those possibilities abound! Next, secure a long piece of white poster paper from the top of the back wall as the backdrop, being sure to let it curve at the bottom as it flows out towards the opening for a nice soft backdrop. Always use “daylight/sunlight” bulbs in your light fixtures to create soft natural light.
Pros: Use any time of day, portable, allows you to create different effects by controlling shadows and highlights, inexpensive, can use indoors and outdoors.
Cons: Can’t think of any!
Here’s a link to video instructions for building your own light box. Come on, get CRAFTY!
I hope you found these lighting tips helpful. For more information, here are the 3 videos I have personally watched and found beneficial. They are available for purchase through Interweave, and feature professional jewelry photographer Jim Lawson.
Achieving great jewelry photos takes patience and practice but it is also a lot of FUN! We’d LOVE to hear about what lighting technique or equipment you like to use for photographing your creations. Please share your tips in our comments!
Coming Soon: Part Three – Jewelry Photography Tips & Tricks
See Part One Here – The Right Camera for You
December 2, 2015
Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Silver and gold charm necklaces make adorable and personalized keepsakes your loved ones and friends will wear for years to come. We offer a wide selection of charms from initial charms, to birthstone charms, and charms to fit everyone’s hobbies and interests too! Match a zodiac charm with an initial, or string on a minimal and modern dangle for a simple and sophisticated look. The possibilities are endless!
To make these elegant and beautiful gifts, all you need is a charm, and a finished chain. Our charms come fitted with finished, soldered jump rings, so all you have to do is slide the charm on! Personalized gifts in under 5 minutes. Does it get any better? You just need a pair or pliers to build your necklace, and voila! These precious keepsakes will make a lasting impression, and make the perfect gift for anyone special this holiday season. Shop now!
November 11, 2015
If you’re thinking about becoming a wholesale customer, or you already are and haven’t placed your first wholesale order with us yet, this post is full of valuable information about the resale documentation we need to help you set up of your wholesale account. In order to be as helpful as possible, we are providing information from every US state on the documents needed to re-sell merchandise. This state document is what we need to establish your wholesale account. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We wish you the best of luck, and success with your new jewelry business!
Nina Designs researched the unique information for each of these states and verified that the links worked at the time of research, completed in 2014. Please contact us if links are broken, and we will do our best to update them.
This is not in any way meant to be legal advice. Please contact your state directly if you have any questions about how to obtain your resale license.
If you are interested in seeing visual examples of your state issued documents, please open a search engine and do an image search for your state name and the document name, such as “Alabama Sales Tax License”.
Alabama’s state issued resale license is called a Sales Tax License.
The instructions for applying online include a list of materials to collect.
To apply online for a Sales Tax Account Number, and then be sent a Sales Tax License:
You can receive a Sales Tax Account Number and Sales Tax License within 2-3 days of filing your free application if you choose to be notified by email rather than snail mail.
Alaska does not collect sales and use tax.
To sign up for a wholesale Nina Designs account, we require a state-issued business license or other proof of established business or customer base from our Alaskan customers. An example is an Alaska Business License issued by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
Arizona’s state issued resale license is called a Transaction Privilege Tax License. Nina Designs will accept either your Arizona state or city issued Transaction Privilege Tax License.
Arizona typically requires resellers to have a Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) license from both the state of Arizona, and the city you are based in. Links to apply are provided on the page linked below.
Arizona Joint Tax Application (State of Arizona TPT Application)
Go to the Arizona Commerce Authority’s webpage to check if your city requires its’ own TPT License. Click on the “Checklist Program” link under the “Start, Operate, and Grow a Business in Arizona” heading.
Arkansas’ state issued resale license is called the Sales and Use Tax Permit.
Arkansas’ online information is limited until you register for a taxpayer account.
Click on the link below and sign in to create a Sales and Use Tax account, and to pay your Sales and Use Tax online.
Nina Designs is based in California and the state government requires a copy of the form BOE-230 to be on file for each of our Californian wholesale customers. We will provide this document to you, and will keep it on file as your resale license.
In California, you must register for a Seller’s Permit with the Board of Equalization (BOE) and have a valid permit number. Nina Designs will then email you a simple form called the BOE – 230 to fill out and return to us. Our company is based in California so there are strict requirements set by the state government regarding the documentation that our California customers must provide.
To apply for a free Seller’s Permit online:
Colorado’s resale license is called the Sales Tax License.
Most licenses are valid for a two-year period and expire at the end of odd-numbered years. Filing for a Standard Sales Tax License requires a $50 deposit which is refunded after $50 in taxes is paid.
Two ways to apply:
For general information:
Connecticut’s resale license is called the Sales and Use Tax Permit.
The Sales and Use Tax Permit is valid for five years.
Complete Form REG-1 (link found on the Sales and Use Tax Permit Registration Webpage below) and pay a $100 permit fee.
Delaware does not collect sales and use tax.
To sign up for a wholesale Nina Designs account, we require a state-issued business license or other proof of established business or customer base from our Delaware customers. An example is a Business License issued by the State of Delaware Division of Revenue.
Florida issues each registered dealer a Certificate of Registration and an Annual Resale Certificate for Sales Tax at the same time. Nina Designs will accept either document.
The certificates expire annually on December 31, but as long as you are a registered dealer and are conducting business, your certificates renew automatically.
To apply, go to the page below and scroll down to “Register Online”. The page shows a variety of Tax Certificates but you should be able to apply for the specific Sales Tax certificate when you register.
Georgia’s resale certificate is called the Certificate of Registration or Sales Tax Certificate of Registration.
Georgia limits the amount of available online information to those who are signing up for permits. Please let us know if you have helpful information about your experience obtaining a Certificate of Registration with the state of Georgia.
Information about Sales and Use Tax in Georgia (click on the Register for a Sales and Use Tax Number link on the page below):
The permit is free to obtain and does not expire.
Hawaii’s resale license is called the General Excise Tax License.
There is a one-time fee of $20 to obtain a General Excise Tax License. Click on the BB1-Packet link under the heading “How can I apply for a GET License?” to complete your State of Hawaii Basic Business Application and receive a General Excise Tax License:
Idaho’s resale license is called the Seller’s Permit.
Fill out the IBR-1 (Idaho Business Registration) application for a Seller’s Permit.
The application link is under “New Businesses” and “To Apply”. They recommend reading the webpage before applying so that you have your materials prepared.
Illinois’ resale license is called the Certificate of Registration.
You must request an application for a Certificate of Registration from the Department of Revenue in order to apply. You can call them or go to an office (follow the second link).
Indiana’s resale license is called the Registered Retail Merchant Certificate.
Fill out the Business Tax Application to receive a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate. Follow the link below to find the Business Tax Application button under the video player. The Certificate automatically renews every two years, unless you have delinquent payments, at which point you will have to fill out a form and pay a $25 fee to get your Certificate renewed.
Iowa’s resale license is called a Retail Sales Tax Permit.
The Iowa Department of Revenue webpage lists all of the action to take for receiving a Sales Tax Permit.
First, Iowa recommends watching a short video presentation to be prepared to register your business.
Video Center – Find the “Starting A Business? This Video Can Help” video on the right side of the page.
Then, register your business and specify the permits you would like to sign up for, including the Sales Tax permit. This permit is free.
Kansas’ resale license is called the Retailers’ Sales Tax Registration Certificate
Fill out the Business Tax Application, Form CR-16, via the “Business Registration Online” link on Kansas’ Department of Revenue website to receive a Sales Tax Registration Certificate.
Kentucky’s resale license is called a Sales and Use Tax Permit.
If you are starting a new business in Kentucky or beginning a new taxable activity, you may need to register with the Department of Revenue by completing Form 10A100, Kentucky Tax Registration Application.
You can apply for a Sales and Use Tax permit using the Online Business Registration Portal.
Louisiana’s resale license is called a Sales Tax Registration Certificate.
You must register for a LaTAP account before applying for a resale license.
There is a guide for how to apply for a sales tax registration certificate using Louisiana’s Department of Revenue’s online system, called LaTAP. This walks you through the process with step by step screen shots of what to click on. Click on the link below and find the “Requesting a Louisiana Sales Tax Resale Certificate in LaTAP” tutorial link in the first section headed “Print Resale Certificates”.
Maine’s resale license is called a Resale Certificate.
It is free to apply for a resale certificate, but read the FAQ first to find out if you qualify for a resale license.
Go here to register your new Sales and Use Tax account. Read the page and find the beginning of the registration process at the bottom of the page.
Maryland’s resale license is called a Sales and Use Tax License.
Complete a Combined Registration Application to apply for a Sales and Use Tax License. Find the “Begin Registration” button at the bottom of the page.
There are links to more categories about Sales and Use Tax at the bottom of the Sales and Use Tax Information for Maryland page.
Massachusetts’ resale license is called the Sales and Use Tax Registration Certificate.
The following link has a lot of great information regarding how and where to get started.
Register online with the Department of Revenue to obtain a certificate.
Michigan’s resale license is called a Sales Tax License.
Complete the Online Business Registration and Form 518 to receive your Sales Tax License. Find Form 518 under the question “How do I obtain a sales tax license?” in the Sales and Use Tax FAQ.
Minnesota’s resale license is issued as a Minnesota Tax Identification (ID) Number. We will require a copy of your confirmation letter from Minnesota, which states “Please keep this letter as proof of registration”.
Registering online renders an instantly usable valid ID number.
Mississippi’s resale license document states that it is a “State of Mississippi Permit to engage in business of selling tangible personal property or services taxable under the sales tax law”. For briefness’ sake, we’re calling it the Sales Permit.
Register for your Sales Permit online:
Missouri’s resale license is called the Retail Sales License.
Register your business online to receive a Retail Sales License.
Montana does not collect sales and use tax.
To sign up for a wholesale Nina Designs account, we require a state-issued business license or other proof of established business or customer base from our Montana customers. One example is an Assumed Business Name (ABN) Registration confirmation letter from the State of Montana Secretary of State. Another example is a city issued Business License that specifies that your business is in jewelry.
Nebraska’s resale license is called a Sales Tax Permit.
Fill out Form 20, the Nebraska Tax Application, and indicate that you will be collecting sales tax to receive a Sales Tax Permit. This permit does not expire. Mail or fax the completed application to the address specified on the form.
Nevada’s resale license is called the Sales (or Use) Tax Permit. “Use” is not always included in the title.
Click on the “New Registration” button next to the first blue arrow in the Nevada Tax Center to register for a new Sales or Use Tax Permit.
New Hampshire does not collect sales and use tax.
To sign up for a wholesale Nina Designs account, we require a state-issued business license or other proof of established business or customer base from our New Hampshire customers. One example is a Certificate of Formation from the State of New Hampshire Secretary of State. Another example is a Certificate of Registered Trade Name from the State of New Hampshire Department of State that specifies that the nature of the business is related to jewelry.
New Jersey’s resale license is called the Certificate of Authority.
File a Business Registration Application (Form NJ-REG) to receive a Certificate of Authority.
You can either file online using the link below, or by printing the form and mailing it in. The link to the Form NJ-REG is the first in the list at the bottom, “Business (tax and employer) Registration form, NJ-REG”.
When you click on “Business (tax and employer) Registration form, NJ-REG”, it brings you to a page named “PRINT FORMS” where you can choose the Form NJ-REG from the top of the list.
New Mexico’s resale license is called a Registration Certificate.
New Mexico collects a Gross Receipts Tax rather than a Sales or Use Tax. Register your business to receive a Combined Reporting System (CRS) Identification Number and Registration Certificate from the Taxation and Revenue Department.
To file online, find the link in the “How to apply for a CRS Identification Number” paragraph on the site below. There is also info on how to apply in person in locations around the state, and you can receive a number immediately.
New York’s resale license is called the Certificate of Authority.
An overview of registering with the state:
Obtain a User ID before applying for a Certificate of Authority License:
Step by step instructions for how to apply for your Certificate of Authority License:
The instructions guide you to go to the License Center home page, here’s a link.
North Carolina’s resale license is called the Merchant’s Certificate of Registration.
Complete the Business Registration Application, Form NC-BR, online or mail it in to receive a Certificate of Registration.
The NC-BR form is the third one listed on the following link. You have to choose whether to file online or to fill in a pdf that you can print out.
North Dakota’s resale license is called the Sales and Use Tax Permit.
Be forewarned that there are a lot of old and broken links within North Dakota’s online resources. The one we provide works best.
Apply online for a Sales and Use Tax Permit:
Printable application (in pdf style) that you can send in to the address specified on the form:
Ohio’s resale license is called the Vendor’s License. We will also accept the Transient Vendor’s License.
Complete and submit the form ST-1 to receive a Vendor’s License. Complete the form ST-1T to receive a Transient Vendor’s License. The following link has links to both forms, and describes the differences between the two licenses. When you click on the ST-1 form, you’ll receive a page recommending that you file online with a link to the online portal, and a link to the printable form at the very bottom of the page.
Oklahoma’s resale license is called a Sales Tax Permit.
Register your business online to receive a Sales Tax Permit. You must complete the Business Registration Packet (Packet A). Follow the link below and click on “Enter the Online Business Registration System” at the bottom of the page.
There are hints that there are registration fees but they are not listed on the pages prior to entering the system.
Oregon does not collect sales and use tax.
To sign up for a wholesale Nina Designs account, we require a state-issued business license or other proof of established business or customer base from our Oregon customers. One example is an E-filed Assumed Business Name Registration confirmation from the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division. A second example is a current Application for Renewal of Assumed Business Name from the Oregon Secretary of State.
Pennsylvania’s resale license is called the Certificate of Registration Sales Tax License.
To apply for a Sales Tax License, fill out form PA-100 and follow the instructions on the page below.
Rhode Island’s resale license is called the Permit to Make Sales at Retail.
Register your business online to receive the Permit to Make Sales at Retail. There are fees to register, but they are not listed at the entrance to the online portal.
South Carolina’s resale license is called a Retail (Sales Tax) License. The license issued says “Retail License”.
The South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS) website says that form SCDOR-111 is the form needed to file for a Sales Tax License, and that SCBOS has a “Start New Business” tool to use instead of filling out the form directly.
South Dakota’s resale license is called the Sales (and/or Use) Tax License, but this title is not listed on the document itself. It does specify “Sales Tax” under “License Type” on the left hand side, above the human name and address of who the license is issued to.
You can use the Tax Application Website to apply for a Tax License without creating an account, but you have to fill out the application in its entirety at one time. If you create an account, you can save the application and come back to it another time.
Tennessee’s resale license is called a Certificate of Registration.
In Tennessee, you must register your business in order to receive a Certificate of Registration resale license. Follow the instructions for registering your business online – click on “How to set up and manage your account”.
The link below is a pdf of Tennessee’s application to register your business and receive a Certificate of Registration. Instructions on how to fill out the application are included at the bottom of the pdf.
Tennessee’s Department of Revenue Sales and Use Tax page:
Texas’ resale license is called a Sales and Use Tax Permit.
It is free to apply for a Sales and Use Tax Permit.
You can apply online but must print the signature page and mail or fax it in to the Comptroller of Public Accounts office in order to receive your Sales and Use Tax Permit. The page below lists the information you need to apply, and the button to begin the application is near the bottom of the page.
Utah’s resale license is called the Sales Tax License and/or Use Tax Certificate of Registration.
You must register your business online to receive a Sales Tax License and/or Use Tax Certificate of Registration.
Vermont’s resale license is called the Sales and Use Tax Registration.
It is free to register for a Sales and Use Tax Registration license.
Register online or fill out Form BR-400 to receive a Vermont business tax account and a Sales and Use Tax Registration Certificate. The following link provides an introduction for what to expect tax-wise when starting a business in Vermont.
Register your business tax account online to receive a Sales and Use Tax Registration Certificate.
Alternatively, to register by paper, print and mail or fax the application (Form BR-400) in when complete. The contact information is on page 3 of the pdf.
Virginia’s resale license is called the Certificate of Registration for the Collection of Virginia Sales and Use Tax.
It is free to register for a Certificate of Registration.
Register your business either online or by mail or fax to receive a Certificate of Registration.
Register online with the abilities to save and come back to your application later. In the “New Users” box, click on “Are you a new business? Register Here”:
Alternatively, fill in Form R-1 and print to mail or fax your registration:
For a general overview:
Washington’s resale license is called a Reseller Permit.
A link for Washington’s Department of Revenue overview for Reseller Permits follows below. There is a section for “How to get a Reseller Permit” a few paragraphs down the webpage.
You can apply online for a Reseller Permit. Log in to My Account, choose “Manage Business Account” on the left, choose “Get Reseller Permit Information”, and follow the instructions.
Alternatively, you can print and fax or mail your application in for a Reseller Permit.
Washington DC’s resale license is called the Certificate of Registration.
To receive a Certificate of Registration from the Government of District of Colombia’s Office of Tax and Revenue, you must register your business using the blanket form FR-500 – the Combined Business Tax Registration Application.
Form FR-500 includes the following sections:
- General Information (Part I)
- Franchise Tax Registration (Part II)
- Employer’s D.C. Withholding Tax Registration (Part III)
- Sales and Use Tax Registration (Part IV)
- Personal Property Tax Registration (Part V1)
- Miscellaneous Tax (Part V2)
- Unemployment Compensation Tax Registration (Part VI)
The Washington DC website (dc.gov) is very comprehensive and says that licensing your business with form FR-500 should be one of the last things you do when building your business. More information:
West Virginia’s resale license is called the Business Registration Certificate.
Registering your business with the state of West Virginia will provide you with a Business Registration Certificate. Register using the online portal. You must log in to access more information, and it looks like there may be a fee for registering.
You can access more forms related to registering your business on the West Virginia State Tax Department homepage. These include forms for getting your Business License Registration Fee refunded (form BRT-814) and getting a permanent Business Registration Certificate (form BRT801A).
We accept either the Business Tax Registration Certificate or the Seller’s Permit as valid Wisconsin resale licenses.
Wisconsin has an FAQ with the parameters of applying for a Seller’s Permit clearly outlined. The biggest stipulations are that you should apply at least three weeks before you open your business, and that if you have been delinquent on any tax payments in the past, the Department of Revenue may require you to make a $15,000 deposit. Yes, $15,000!
There are two ways to apply for a Seller’s Permit. Register online by following the link below and then clicking on “Register for Wisconsin tax permit (withholding, seller’s permit)”.
Register via mail by printing out form BTR-101 and mailing it to the PO Box address at the top of the application, or faxing it to the number listed below the PO Box address.
Wyoming’s resale license is called the Sales/Use Tax License.
Fill out the application and mail, email, or fax it in, or apply online at the following secure site. Wyoming has a one-time application fee of $60.00. Your application will be processed within 10 business days of receipt.
Find the application as a printable pdf at the Department of Revenue’s website. The address to mail it to is at the top of the application.
Wyoming’s Sales/Use Tax vendor manual, which functions as their FAQ:
A fantastic resource from blog.taxjar.com! This is an article from August 2014 that lists contact information for how to talk about sales tax to a live person in every state.
October 20, 2015
Lately at Nina Designs we have been getting more and more questions about how to photograph jewelry. It’s been a while since we tackled this tough topic so we thought it was a good time to review the basics: Equipment, Lighting, and Composition. We will give you tips and tricks to make your images beautiful as well as links to equipment suppliers and other helpful info. This is a deep subject with many different approaches so this will be an ongoing series. Ready? Let’s Go!
Part One of Three : Which Camera is Right for You?
There are many options for cameras on the market and each has pros and cons. The following is an overview of Smartphone, Point and Shoot and DSLR Cameras. Choose what is best for your budget and experiment with it to get the best results.
For more control over your photos, it is best to invest in a DSLR Camera. At Nina Designs we use a Nikon D5100. This is an older model but still does a fantastic job. In the world of DSLRs there are Professional Level cameras and Photo Enthusiasts cameras. The prices vary accordingly. Our camera is considered a less expensive, “Enthusiast” model. DSLR cameras have the best image quality of the three camera options discussed because they have the biggest sensors – up to 25 times bigger. The bigger the sensor, the less “noise” your image will have (Noise is that grainy quality you sometimes see on photos) making the DSLR the best choice for professional use and print work. The best thing about DSLR cameras is that they are built with “reflex mirrors” which means that you are actually looking through the camera lens instead of looking through a “viewfinder hole” like in the P&S Camera or Smartphone. What you see is what you shoot! You also have full control over a DSLR camera. You can always shoot in auto mode but you have full control all of the settings when you want it and they are relatively easy to access. Learning to use all of the controls can be intimidating at first but it gets easier with practice. But one of the biggest advantages of this type of camera, especially for jewelry photography is that you can change the lens on it. Image quality is impacted greatly by the quality of the lens you use. Since the majority of our photography is of petite products such as charms, ear wires and pendants, we use a Nikon Micro 85mm lens. This amount of zoom is more than what is needed to shoot your finished jewelry. A smaller 60mm or 40mm Micro Lens would be more than sufficient. I have even achieved great success with just using the regular 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera. (Micro and other specialty lens are sold separately.)
PROS: Versatile, Able to Change Lens, Full Manual Control, and Superior Image Quality
CONS: Cost, Learning Curve, Weight and Size, Maintenance
Point and Shoot Camera
Another great option for your jewelry photos is a compact digital Point and Shoot Camera. They are small, lightweight, typically inexpensive and very easy to use. Just as their name implies, they are designed for you to point and shoot! These cameras are mainly meant to be used in “auto” mode, letting the camera make all of the decisions for you. There are basic manual controls that can be changed but quite often they are hidden in menu systems and are not easily accessible. Some come with a Macro setting which is great for close up shots of jewelry. Many of the affordable Point and Shoots only come with a fixed lens, which means it is a Digital Zoom. Newer, more expensive Point and Shoot models have an Optical Zoom Lens. Another point worth mentioning is that most P &S Cameras have a massive depth of field, meaning that they typically cannot separate foreground from background. This means everything is in focus…which is great….except when you want to create a little “bokeh.” (Bokeh is that beautiful blur quality produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image.) Similar to Smart Phones, Point and Shoot Cameras also have a smaller sensor than DSLR cameras and therefore do not take as high of quality images. They are fine for everyday use and posting things online but not the best option for print work or professional publications. The newest generation of Point and Shoot Cameras are equipped with Super Zoom Optical Lenses and larger Image Sensors. These newer models are fairly expensive compared to more basic compact models.
PROS: Ease of Use, Affordable, Light Weight
CONS: Zoom Restrictions, Small Image Sensor, Manual Controls Limited
Newer smartphones have amazing photographic capabilities. And because of their ability to access the internet, they are great for “shooting and sharing. “ One can easily go from taking a picture to uploading it to a website or social media. Some phones have photo editing tools built in, which allow you to crop, adjust brightness and select filters to create cool effects. If yours doesn’t, there are great Photo Apps (link below) available such as Snapseed, Afterlight, Darkroom and Flickr. While these tools save you the step of having to upload your photos to a computer for editing, when photographing small items such as jewelry, it is always best to upload your images and view them on a larger screen to make any adjustments. Smartphone cameras are fully automatic, meaning all decisions are made within the camera for you such as Exposure, Focus, and Shutter Speed. There are small adjustments that can be made to the camera settings but they are very limited. While it’s true that Smartphone Cameras take great pictures, most on the market have a much smaller Sensor than DSLR cameras and therefore do not take as high of quality images. They are fine for everyday use and posting things online but not a good option for print work or professional publications. Smart Phone Cameras are incredibly easy to use, making them a popular option for most artists.
PROS: Ease of use, Lightweight
CONS: Manual Controls Very Limited, Cost, Small Sensor, Digital Zoom Only (see explanation in below)
Optical Zoom VS. Digital Zoom
Optical Zoom: When we “zoom in” on a subject with a camera, we are actually changing the focal length of the lens. Therefore, we are truly bringing our subject closer or further away in our visual frame. Optical Zoom always produces better-quality images than Digital Zoom.
Digital Zoom: One of the drawbacks of using a Smartphone and many Point and Shoot Cameras is that they are equipped with a Digital Zoom. This means that their zoom capability is computer generated. Their actual lens is “fixed” at a set focal length. So when you use the zoom on your smart phone it isn’t actually bringing the subject closer by moving the lens, it is actually “resampling” the focal area – creating the illusion of zoom. It crops a portion of the image and then enlarges it back to size, which enlarges the pixels and reduces the image resolution and quality. Always move the camera closer to your subject rather than zooming in when using a Fixed Lens Camera. IPhone and a few other companies are working on an Optical Lens for their Smartphone Cameras and new advancements are happening daily!
Lastly, it is always best to shoot your jewelry photos using a tripod. Even when using a Smartphone Camera. It makes a big difference in the focus and clarity of an image. There are Smartphone Brackets/Tripods available that easily attach to a tripod.
I hope this information was helpful for you. Next time we will dive into the deep topic of lighting. To learn more about photo equipment options visit your local camera shop. Many have classes available for all experience levels as well as courses on macro photography.
We’d love to hear your experiences with photographing your work. Let’s get the conversation rolling!
What Camera do you use? Let us know in the comments!
October 14, 2015
Jewelry charms, jewelry links, earrings, and more can all be used in numerous ways to create pieces that fit your style. A great example of turning one jewelry piece into three completely different designs is our series of openwork hook earring frames. Although these styles are beautiful, simple, and modern on their own, they can be easily transformed into unique designs using different jewelry techniques. You can go as simple as adding a small dangle to create a slightly dressed up pair in minutes. Put your wire wrapping skills to the test with two other designs. Use a contrasting wire color to create a woven look for an earthy feel. To make a more dressy pair, wire wrap tiny gemstones along the frame, and finish with a simple jewelry dangle. Think of all the design possibilities with just one simple piece to start! Browse our jewelry design idea gallery for even more jewelry inspiration!
Which pair is your favorite?
October 6, 2015
It’s finally the season of holidays, and what better way to kick it off than with Halloween jewelry designs? We have jewelry supplies, gemstone beads, and jewelry charms to help you create memorable and festive jewelry designs. Scary cats, bright white moons, flying bats, and more come together to create a wickedly fun Halloween collection. Create something to liven up your costume, or pair any of these designs with a simple black or white top to create a fun ensemble for you Hallow’s Eve bash!
September 22, 2015
Pump up the color in your fall designs with inspiration from the Pantone Fall 2015 Color Palette. Natural, earthy tones are the theme for the fall season, with colors that mimic the changing seasons. Everything from clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry will be featuring this beautiful selection of colors. These rich, fall colors are just waiting for you to use in your jewelry designs.
We have a wonderfully diverse collection of colorful gemstone beads, leather cord, and even tassels that can add the perfect touch of color to your fall jewelry designs. Add a simple briolette bead to accent a pair or earrings, make earthy leather wrap bracelets, or make statement jewelry with colorful tassels. Embrace these elegant tones during this festive time of year! Which color is your favorite? We’re having a hard time picking just one!