Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Digital Photography - 11 Tips For Taking Better Digital Photographs Of Jewelry And Craft Items

I am often asked by jewelry and craft artists what they can do to improve their photography. Here are my top 11 tips for anyone that has problems taking great digital photographs.

1.Use a tripod and the camera self-timer. Using these two items at all times will give you clear and sharp photographs.

2.Keep the background clean and uncluttered. Remove any unnecessary items from the area that you are taking the photograph. This will also keep your eyes from being distracted from the subject of the photograph.

3.Move the camera as close to the subject as possible. Use the viewing screen on the camera, and fill up the screen as much as possible. This may mean that you will need to use the macro setting on your camera. Refer to your owners manual for the distances that the camera is designed for using the macro setting.

4.Keep your subject of the photograph focused. Nobody likes to look at a photograph that is out of focus. If your photo is not focused properly, then retake the photograph.

5.Avoid dark shadows. Use indirect sunlight, flash or other lighting sources for photographing your jewelry or craft items. Indirect sunlight is the best lighting source for photography.

6.Before you set up your camera equipment, have an idea in your mind of how you want the photograph to appear, when you view the finished photo.

7.Enhance your photographs by resizing, cropping, sharpening, rotating (when necessary), and compressing the image. Try to take your photographs so that you only have to do a minimum amount of enhancement. For example, you should not have to remove unwanted objects from the photo.

8.Read the camera owners manual and become familiar with all of the features of your camera. For example, some of the things that you should become familiar with are the self-timer, setting the white balance and the exposure values, how to take photographs using the manual or macro focusing settings, how to use the built in flash, how to zoom in and out from the subject of the photograph, and how to set the resolution you are going to use for taking your photographs.

9.Dont be afraid to experiment in taking photos. Try using different techniques for taking your photographs. Use a different camera angle, different lighting, rotate the object of the photograph, try different background colors, and try different exposure values for your photographs. You will never know what will or will not work unless you try using different techniques in your photography. You may be surprised at how well a new technique that you used actually makes your photographs turn out.

10. Do not expect to get the perfect photograph by taking just one or two photographs of an item. It may happen once in a while, but very seldom. I am rarely able to take just one or two photographs of an item that I want to photograph, and consider the photograph to be the best photo that I can possibly take. Expect to take five or more photographs before you are able to get the perfect photo.

11. If you use the cameras built in flash for your jewelry and craft photography, use the power cord that comes with your camera to generate the maximum amount of light output from the cameras flash unit for every photo that you take. As the cameras batteries start to discharge as you are using your camera, with or without using the flash, the light output from the cameras flash unit will decrease.

By using all of above tips when photographing jewelry and small craft items, you should see an immediate improvement in your photography.

You may want to print this tip sheet so that you can refer to it when you are doing photography.

Jim Juris

Jim Juris is a photographer who specializes in craft and jewelry photography. He has written an ebook titled- Inexpensive Jewelry Photography Techniuqes: How to use inexpensive techniques to photograph jewelry, craft, collectible, and online auction items. To learn more about his ebook, please visit Jim provides two free excerpts from his ebook on his web site.

Think, Buy, Sell... Repeat As Needed

Generally, a trader should meet buying with selling and vice versa when it comes to the stock market. Typically, stocks (especially when considered on an intra-day basis) will only go so high, or so low, before tending to attract the next group of contrarian thinkers and switch direction. Often times crowds (such as the markets) are wrong in their actions and over react to the up or down side. When the "markets" as a whole are moving up dramatically or down dramatically, there is a strong case to be made that these actions ultimately will be wrong or will tend to reverse simply as the contrary views of things builds on each side of the fence.

If you can train yourself to go against your natural emotions, you'll tend to be able to keep a clearer outlook on the markets. When stocks are being bought, you have to train yourself to think, "These stocks are buying bid up too high - maybe I should sit back and wait". By the same token, when there is a great deal of panic selling in the market, you need to train yourself to think, "Wow, look at all these prices falling - I may find good deals here soon". It's more difficult than you think to be "happy" when the markets are falling and "cautious" when the markets are rising. However, normally taking this view of things will help improve your trading over the long haul. The old saying, "Buy when there is blood in the streets" stems from this basic idea of going against the masses on Wall Street.

People tend to have a desire to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. Not just near the top, but the "exact" top. It's simply human nature to want to be the best at something, and trading is no different. Most people that take up daytrading want to be the best they can be. However, aiming for exact tops and bottoms when buying stocks can be very detrimental to your overall trading.

I would much rather give away 10% at the top and 10% at the bottom. You will drive yourself crazy if you punish yourself for not selling at the high or buying at the low, as it's almost impossible for most people to do on any sort of consistent basis. Far more often than not, you'll simply end up missing the trade. Even missing a top or bottom by 20% is nothing to worry about. As many a successful trader has said, "You can worry about the tops and bottoms, and I'll worry about the remaining 60%". In fact, it's often much safer to wait until a stock clearly signals a move either up or down before taking up your position.

Some people use stop orders quite often, some people hardly use them at all. In my view, stops are best used to protect a nice profit and/or limit down side risk in a trade that isn't acting as you think it should. How a stop is used (or placed) is largely dependent on the individual stock and how the overall market is behaving at any given time as well.

Often times using stops also helps to remove some of the emotions from trading. It's far easier to place a stop on a trade than watch it trade tick-by-tick and try to decide the exact moment to get out.

What about taking profits at big gains? At some point, just like experiencing a large loss, you are likely to hit a really big winner. When this happens, consider taking 1/2 your gains off the table right away to reduce risk to the profit you have just made. This allows you to continue to profit, but protects a large amount of the money you have just made. Additionally, you may wish to consider selling enough of the position to recoup your original investment. This results in the remaining shares effectively being "free" and allows you to hold them indefinitely without any fear of a "loss" to your original capital (which has now been removed completely).

When shorting stocks, there are several points to always keep in mind. Never short a stock simply based on the stock price. To really be successful as a short player (i.e. someone that shorts stocks), you need to locate stocks that are extended with a significant void of fundamental reasons. There must be some reason for the stock to decline in the near term (e.g. declining profits, lack of direction, etc.). Simply shorting a stock "because it has a high share price" is just inviting danger.

Additionally, keep in mind that shorting stocks exposes you to additional risks that are not present when buying or going "long" a stock. These include having the stock called away from you, as well as being caught in a short squeeze. Also keep in mind that the very act of shorting a stock increases the pent up demand for the stock - namely the number of people that will ultimately have to repurchase the security down the road to cover.

Finally, a good rule of thumb is to never short a stock which may end up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or some other major financial publication. Typically, the best short candidates are stocks that have moved up rapidly on little or not fundamental changes and which are generally not well know to the investment public at large. While it's true you can make money shorting well known, large cap stocks, it tends to expose you to additional risks not associated with smaller and less well known companies.

Good luck in the markets!

No permission is needed to reproduce an unedited copy of this article as long the About The Author tag is left in tact and hot links included. Questions and comments can be sent to Ray at

Ray Johns is the founder and Senior Market Editor of, Proudly serving day traders & short-term investors since 1996, at is the publisher of the award winning Morning Stock Market Report and the home of the Internets finest real time trading desk. Ray has been on the forefront of trading and investing in the markets and has appeared as a guest on a number of radio and television shows including CNBCs Market Talk. If you would like a free trail of the newsletter and the live trading desk log on to Comments and questions can be sent to