Are my photos professional quality, finally?

I am very open to community, networking and advice. This site has
been a major source for my self-education. Readers, do you think my
images are, at long last, professional and portfolio quality?

Best regards, R.


Greetings. I’ve been off this list for a while, and it’s nice to be
back. You might have received other feedback which may echo mine. I
congratulate you on putting yourself out there for critique, because
this is the hardest part, but…it is the most rewarding.

I’ve seen thousands of jewelry images, magazines, from juried shows,
books, and take lots of photos myself, and if you are open for
advice, I will be completely honest.

  1. Overall your images are very dark. Black backgrounds with silver
    and gold are tricky. Black sucks you in and leaves you with such
    stark contrast between a lit subject and a very dark background, that
    you lose the edges and detail of your work. Although you might see
    the detail, because you are the maker, you have to step back and be
    the harshest critic.

  2. Size matters. If you are showing me a tiny pendant, and the
    majority of piece is your chain, then all I see is a chain and a tiny
    “metal thing” at the bottom. I know what a chain is and showing just
    an inch of the chain at either end of the charm brings my focus to
    your work.

  3. Belt buckles. Unless you told me these were belt buckles I
    wouldn’t have guessed. This is a time I break my rule of adding and
    element to complete the photo. I would have put it on a beautiful
    plain leather belt. Nothing fancy, but something that would have
    resolved your visual explanation of your piece.

  4. Jewelry is 3 dimensional. A good photograph will lift and pop a
    3D image, but it demands even lighting, with just enough shadow to
    reinforce that it is 3d, but not too much that all you see is the
    shadow. Jewelry photography is very, very tricky and requires a lot
    of setup to create a balance from good lighting.

Lastly, walk away from your website for at least two weeks. Take a
gander at some great photographic imagery from the Orchid Gallery, or
Metalsmith, Ornament, really good jewelry books. Now go back and take
a second look at yours.

Some photos of mine.

karen christians

Hi Robert,

I was very impressed with your photo’s… so much so that I would
like to know if you would do some of my jewelry. You can contact me
offline at @renoodles1. You should be very happy, I think
they are very clear, show your detail well and are centered

Linda Reboh

Hi Robert,

I like it! It’s unusual to see the jewelry all on black, but I think
it works pretty well! I’m about to design my website, and yours is a
real inspiration.

Larry Heyda

I do think you’ve done well w/your photos. Congrats. I did notice w/
the orb around some of the photos was a bit distracting, however the
clarity wasn’t diminished. This is looking at it w/my laptop by the
way, I haven’t looked at it w/my desktop.

I think Karen was spot on with her constructive criticism of the
images in question. They are leaps ahead of anything I’ve done so far
but they are still too dark and your jewellery gets lost in the


Thanks all for taking the time to look and comment. I appreciate the
feedback, and find myself scratching my head as to how to solve the
darkness issue. I think I will stick to the black background, though
I recieved one or two nays I think it works for the silver. But I
suppose the trouble of photographing them thoroughly should be met
with quality production time on the computer. I wonder if the
trouble is my monitor? I am actually editing on my laptop, and these
screens are notoriously dim, though I would think that the result
would be overmuch brightness, and I use a larger flatscreen
Westinghouse monitor running in tandem through Adobe Lightshop for
sorting, which is insanely bright. I had placed some trust in
Lightshop color correcting to true black, which appeared to be
working in the histograms. My thought from that point was to shoot
for the best appearance on the laptop, thinking that if I worked too
bright the images might be washed out for people who had brighter
laptops. I remember going through this with black backgrounds when I
did web design several years ago… there is a huge range of
difference in people’s viewing equipment.

I guess this isn’t a graphic design forum. I suppose my next
question is, should I be overly concerned for the web result or make
the ultimate goal quality in print? Besides taking out
advertisements, which seems a way off, might I expect a call for
printable images as I grow and learn?

That said, I am going to take Karen’s advice and take a week off
from working with them. Phew.

Robert Lawrence Seitz - Artisan Ornament

Hi Robert. I took a look at your website and the jewelry is great
but the pictures need to be more clearer and sharper. There seems to
be some blurriness to them. Wishing you the best.