As a jewelry artist, you have a personal virtual assistant standing by no farther away than your smart phone: Your camera. As you design and build your piece, your camera should always be at hand to help you out and keep a digital record of your work.
Here are some ideas of how your camera can help you:
*When selecting and arranging gemstones for a piece, photograph each of your possible combinations against a neutral background. Then load them to your computer and see how they look. You can use many viewing programs to view images side by side and pick your favorite.
*Not sure which way should be "up" in a stone you're using, or whether you want an accent component added on the side, the top, or at the bottom? Take a picture, then rotate it. Strangely enough, looking at an image on a screen sometimes can be helpful even if you can see the components in person.
*If you know how to use photo editing software, you can photograph a drawing of your future piece,
load it onto your computer, and play with changing colors or adding/subtracting design components. It's always easier to edit your design with the stroke of a computer command, as opposed to building several actual models.
*If you're building a new design, be sure to grab your camera at critical moments to record
how your piece looks at each stage of construction. If you're using a special tool at a certain stage, put that tool right in the picture as a visual reminder of what you used to get that effect.
*Whenever you're experimenting, stop and take pictures, whether or not the results are successful.
And if you like a certain outcome, draw a big star next to it before you snap your camera, so that it will stand out whenever your peruse your photo library.
*Most important, NEVER sell or give away any piece that you haven't already photographed with good, even lighting and an uncluttered background. Those photos might someday be your entry into art galleries or contests. At the very least, they will comprise your professional portfolio and remind you of how much you've accomplished!
Next month....How to take good, quick photos.