JCK Show: Digital photography is inexpensive and easy to learn

Digital photography offers jewelers an inexpensive, easy, and convenient way to take, store, and display pictures of jewelry. But it requires a fairly broad knowledge of jewelry, computers, imaging software, and photography.

Vess Barnes of Barnes Jewelry, Amarillo, Texas, and Jeff Levine of Weber Jewelers, Kettering, Ohio, gave a broad overview of what it takes to make quality photos during an educational session on Thursday titled “Digital Cameras and Other Imaging Tools.”

Barnes, a jeweler with a long history of adapting technology for retail jewelers, said digital photographs provide immediate results, and they can easily be stored and exchanged.

When searching for a camera, knowledge of photography and computers comes in handy, said Barnes. “Digital cameras are not mystical, magical tools that make you take great pictures,” he told the audience. “You should know photography. And make sure you use a camera that’s easy enough for a handful of people to learn.”

He stressed the importance of training others to use the camera. “You don’t want to be the only person in the store able to take pictures. That’s all you’ll be doing.”

Barnes also discussed the option of using a service provider to take and reproduce images. He said factors to consider when choosing a provider include the company’s reputation, cost, insurance coverage, and shipping costs. But the most important point, he said, is to learn about the service. The imaging company needs to be reliable. “Service is the most important. Make sure you get all the details up front,” he said.

Levine discussed the types of printers one can use for printing digital pictures and declared inkjet printers to be best. He said a printer should have at least two toner cartridges and be a multipurpose printer with up to 112-inch by 18-inch capabilities and 600 dpi. The name brands he suggested were Hewlett Packard, Epson, and Canon.

Levine said a quality printer will cost between $200 and $500. He said quality doesn’t improve with more expensive models, but they do offer more options and faster prints.