Bloggers and hand made craft designers alike quickly realize the importance of taking good pictures. It was no different for me over 5 years ago when I started this blog.  My earliest efforts were pretty abysmal. No kidding -  see here and here! My camera had trouble focusing close up. Many pictures were bluish as I didn't know there was such a thing as white balance.

Getting a macro enabled camera and learning about its settings helped improve this vital skill. I also tried making my own light tent with mixed results. Then last year, I stumbled on product designer and photographer Lex McColl's first Modahaus table photo studios and decided to buy the smallest one - the TS216.  And never looked back! 

Lex's TS216 light tunnel setup and camera/computer workflow
Lex developed the tabletop studios simply because he had to.  His clients were understandably never keen about shipping him their expensive jewelry and watches to be photographed. So he needed something lightweight and portable to take with him. He also wanted to get away from fabric which wrinkles producing unwanted shadows and inevitably got grubby with use. Two years and many prototype models later using a durable, environmentally friendly polymer, Modahaus came to be.

He has gone on to introduce the Steady Stand for overhead pictures and updated the original series.  He also graciously shared a lot of professional tips and tricks with starving artists like us. There are  a bunch of how to guides on his site.

Here are some highlights from my past posts showing how these tabletop studios work and more.

Natural Light Jewelry Photography  outlined my first experiments with the original TS216.  Using colored backgrounds was relatively easy!  I was suitably impressed with this first near effortless picture of onyx earrings using the light tunnel. It really helped with the lighting. The results were way better than my awful shots 5 years ago!

Then Lex stepped in with a guest post More Jewelry Photography Tips using Natural Light where he went over not just tips and tricks when using the Modahaus but also the specific camera settings that are essential in getting better quality shots. I was paying close attention as you can see from my crystal pendant pictures which show what aperture priority does with depth of focus - whether things are fuzzy in the background or not. Professionals prefer to keep as much of the piece in focus as possible.

f3.3 versus f6.3
We next covered Natural Light Jewelry Photography with White Backgrounds which gave tips on getting that professional look without using lamps.  This pink bracelet shot below was taken by Lex. He deliberately used an inexpensive compact point and shoot camera and not a dSLR to show us it can be done !

I replaced the lead photo of this funky art necklace in my Etsy shop using the white background method as best I could. It had been languishing in my store like forever.  It recently sold!

I reviewed the Steady Stand model when it first came out. The overhead view can be useful for some shots - especially whole necklaces.  The Steady Stands unlike the TS216 and corresponding larger sizes is best suited for compact cameras, smartphones and  iPhones.

The Steady Stand studio was  used  in his next guest post,  More Awesome Jewelry Photography Tips  . He demonstrated how to trick the camera into taking better white background pictures using simple cardboard exposure chips (these are removed).

I still don't have proper studio lights but Jewelry Photography Using an Ott Lite Lamp showed that I could take pictures any time with a common lamp many crafters have. Didn't my chain maille bracelet turn out great?  If you're wondering about that tiny camera stand - check this post.

Lex came up with his updated version of the TS216 earlier this year with some improvements over the original. There are now tabs to better hold necklaces for instance.  I reviewed it and found the additional new Smart Case very useful!  Two of these are now up for grabs in this giveaway!  Here is Lex's picture of what the Smart Case looks like :

My earrings taken using the Pro TS216 and its Smart Case in bright sunlight

Lex is giving away 2 of his Pro TS216.  One will be won by someone who comments on this blog and the other winner will be someone who likes and comments on the Modahaus Facebook pageReaders should try in both places to increase chances of winning!

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower or also on Facebook Fan page or Twitter . If you also do shout outs about this giveaway on your favorite forum, own blog, Facebook or Twitter,  those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

Subscribers need to click on the post title to come to my actual blog. Scroll down and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank. Please leave an email at the very least so I can contact you easily if you win.

This giveaway is international.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, October 1, 2012. Winners will be chosen randomly and the results will be announced as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise we will redraw in a week. Good luck!

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips