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kimberlily
11-16-2004, 04:45 PM
I have a home-based jewelry business, and I sell my jewelry online. I need tips for getting better photos of my jewelry. I'm using a Toshiba DCP3300, though I'm thinking about upgrading. I use it in macro mode, no flash, and I have the white balance on incandescent. My problems: I have been using a white background, but the pearls and light coloured beads disappear. However, if I use a black background, the pearls and light coloured beads reflect too much light. I've tried using natural light (from a window on a fairly bright day) and incandescent "daylight" bulbs. With natural light, the problem of "glowing" beads is gone, however the quality of the photos is terrible, even if I enhance them in Photoshop.

I've tried shooting them with a softbox (homemade) but the pearls still glow too much. Any suggestions to keep the pearls from disappearing, without having them look like glowing white blobs in the photos?

jaykinghorn
11-16-2004, 10:20 PM
You might try using a diffuser dome for your jewelry photography in conjunction with dulling spray. This is a common solution for minimizing reflection and specular highlights on shiny or metallic surfaces such as jewelry. A second solution would be to take two exposures; one for the highly reflective surfaces and a second for the rest of the piece. Use Layer Masks in Photoshop to composite the two images.

I hope this helps.

Jay Kinghorn
RGB Imaging

wus
11-19-2004, 04:16 PM
I guess your problem with the white pearls on black background is caused by your camera's automatic exposure control: it is averaging the whole pictured area, and because of the black background, it is increasing the exposure so that the pictured area is rendered with the 18% (standard grey) exposure. To render the black background, which likely covers 80 to 90% of your picture area, grey, means a coarse overexposure which causes your pearls to glow, as you describe.

To counter this, underexpose by 2 steps or more, using the manual mode or exposure correction.

Use the softbox and try with varying positions.

kimberlily
11-19-2004, 04:25 PM
Jay, thanks for the input, but a dulling spray isn't a viable option, as I work with beads and they can be very difficult to clean. I'm a bit of a novice with PhotoShop too, so honestly, I haven't a clue how to do what you describe!

Wus, my camera doesn't have manual exposure controls. I am thinking about getting a new camera, so maybe this would be the best thing to do.

Bloo Dog
12-25-2004, 07:20 PM
I specialize in jewelry. Until three months ago, I shot transparency film on a 4x5 view camera.

I now own a Canon 10D. Shooting digitally poses several challenges, the greatest of which is the white balance. Once you get that issue solved, life is so much easier.

I am unfamiliar with your camera's capabilities, so i cannot address the specifics of your camera settings.

When I actually NEED a background, i will use a light gray paper beneath the jewelry, or if it's a ring, I'll use clear photo laminating wax on a piece of ceramic tile to keep the ring standing up. I trimm it with an EXakto knife.

For lighting, I travel light. When I was using the view camera, I had to use studio lights because the view camera is a light hog. With the Digital 10D, I get by just fine with a couple of Vivitar 285's.

For my shooting environment, I use different sized and shaped white and transluscent Tupperwear or RubberMaid plastic bowls with holes strategically placed for the specific type of jewelry I intend to shoot. (These bowls are SO cheap that ten bucks will buy enough bowls and tubs to get you through any situation).

To cut the holes, I use a cheap $10.00 rotary tool that I bought at Pep Boys.

For lighting the environment, I made light stands out of heavy black rubber toilet plungers. I cut the handles to the appropriate height, and then drilled 1/4-20 screws into the top ends of the plunger handles. To these screws I attached Photoflex supergrips and then attached my Vivitars to the Super Grip.

The Vivitar 285's can be bought on eBay for 25.00 used. The toilet plungers cost $6.00.

I place the bowl over the jewelry and then I place the Vivitars near the bowl. I take several test shots to get the right placement.

Most of my work is high-key because the jewelers like that look in the newspaper.

When you light pearls, shadow placement is everything. You need to light the product from above and behind the pearls.

Do you know how to set your camera to work on manual mode? generally, I shoot at 1/180 @ about f.16. This gives me the best depth of field. I set the Vivitar 285's at about half power on manual.

To get my white balance, I took a piece of white paper outside in the sun, put the camera on manual focus so that the lens wouldn't go crazy. I then selected the custom white balance setting and then took the picture. The 10D allows the user to refer to virtually any picture on the CF card for the white balance, so I have this picture on all of my cf cards.

Post your email and I'll send you pictures of my setup. You'll be shooting like a pro in no time.

In a Nutshell,

Bloo Dog

Bloo Dog
12-25-2004, 07:29 PM
Okay, I just reread your post. If you have no manual controls, you are pretty much stuck with shooting on an 18% gray card. (You can buy one at any decent camera shop).

You see, all still cameras (film and digital) set on auto want to make the image exposure to average the equivalent of 18% gray--- even in color. Imagine that you could take every color and tone in your proposed picture and put them in a blender then spread it on a piece of paper. The camera wants the resulting tone to be that color--- about the same color as the dark gray on a HP computer. This is why your pictures come out so dark when you shoot on a white background.

This is pretty dark.

In order for your whites to come out white (without the aid of photoshop) you need to shoot on a background which is about the same darkness as an 18% gray card. It's the only way.

My recommendation is that you get another camera. You can buy a GREAT Canon 650 film camera and a lens on ebay for about 60 bucks. It's Canon's first generation of autofocus pro film cameras. If you shoot transparency film, you'll have excellent images if you shoot on manual mode as i described in my previous thread.

Used Canon 10D's are available with a warranty on Ebay for $600-800.00. This is a steal. The 10D has been on the market less than 2 years and already people are upgrading to the 20D that came out last month.

DigiDave
12-30-2004, 07:38 PM
Kimberlily,

A GREAT camera for getting started would be the Canon A95. They are around $350 and have all the manual settings you'll need without getting in over your head. It's a great camera for close-up stuff.

I own its big brother the G6 and shot this with it;

http://www.productshots.com/dpreview/Gem01.jpg

With some clever lighting, you should be able to get close to those pearls and get some nice pix!

Remember, it's almost ALWAYS 80% lighting, 20% camera. You don't need to spend a thousand dollars to get a decent image.

Best regards and Happy New Year,

DigiDave

kornhauser
01-01-2005, 09:12 PM
I sell a lot on www.ebay.com myself. Try this before you drop a wad on expensive cameras and equipment. Tape some toilet paper over your flash to defuse it. If it appears to work but you're still getting glare, double it. Old trick we used to use when we'd photograph crime scenes years ago.

milkman
01-21-2005, 11:20 PM
I've tried to figure out ways to shot professional pearls pictures. I have Fuji S7000 camera that has supper micro mode and all manual setting. I also bought "Cocoon" and photo light. I still have problem to shot good quality picture for light color (white) pearl. If I set explosure for pearl, the background will be grey. If I over exlose by 2~3 stops, the pearl is sacrified.

In your message, you mentioned calibrate the white balance under sun. The part I don't understand is if you shot picture by using photo light, the white balance may not right. How do you use the white balance setting under the sun?

p.s. I'd appreciated if you can send me the picture of your light setting.

Thanks,
-- Milkman

dwig
01-26-2005, 09:57 AM
I've tried to figure out ways to shot professional pearls pictures....If I set explosure for pearl, the background will be grey. If I over exlose by 2~3 stops, the pearl is sacrified....Thanks,
-- Milkman

Common problem with any such photography, regardless of camera. The problem can only be cured by having separate control of the object lighting and the background lighting. That way you can increase the background lighting to force it white or, in the complimentary situation, decrease its lighting to force it black.

One common and easily controllable way to accomplish the white background is to use a lightbox as the background. If you use a high quality color corrected lightbox (if fluorescent, its CRI must be greater than 90) as the white background you can easily achieve a clean white, shadowless background. You can adjust the foreground lighting so that when the pearl is properly exposed the backgound, the surface of the lightbox, is a clean white. Other methods of backlighting a translucent background are also very effective.

AndziasAmber
02-02-2005, 12:31 AM
Hi Kimberly- For jewelry- try shooting against a neutral grey background- literally neutral dove grey- not bluish, etc., or you can try a textured linen tablecloth & add a tickler light to your lights. Make sure to turn off extraneous light sources so this colored light doesn't leak in, but that's obvious. Perhaps a soft peach or very light blue would work for pearls- an off white of some kind, just not a bright white- think eggshell.

Never spray anything on beads- you are so right about that! :) Investing in a cocoon & lighting will pay off & save you time, get a larger tent rather than a smaller one to give yourself room to manuever. Also you could try a reflective surface, such as one intended to shoot glass on- there's a shop online that sells these kits but for the life of me I can't remember their name- they have whole kits if you search jewelry + photo + kit you'll find it.

And find some pearl jewelry online that you admire- and write & ask them to share their method(s)- try a few places. If you're not a direct competitor people usually don't mind being helpful with tricks of the trade.

-Holly

dwig
02-02-2005, 09:10 AM
Hi Kimberly- For jewelry- try shooting against a neutral grey background- literally neutral dove grey- not bluish, etc., or you can try a textured linen tablecloth & add a tickler light to your lights. Make sure to turn off extraneous light sources so this colored light doesn't leak in, but that's obvious. Perhaps a soft peach or very light blue would work for pearls- an off white of some kind, just not a bright white- think eggshell.

...-Holly

Right on, AVOID "bright white" even if you want blank white backgrounds. Don't use cheap poster board for backgrounds. If you use cardboard, us archival matt board. Cheaper boards, including ANYTHING that is tagged "bright white", contains brighteners that will photograph off-color toward the magenta. You can't color correct for this as fixing the background will result in the jewelry shifting green.

Oli-G
02-08-2005, 05:53 AM
Ive not read the thread, however I will say this - a designer mate of mine had troubles photographing jewellry against white, so instead he literally scanned the jewellry, and the results were great.

gary_hendricks
02-08-2005, 10:41 AM
I have a home-based jewelry business, and I sell my jewelry online. I need tips for getting better photos of my jewelry. I'm using a Toshiba DCP3300, though I'm thinking about upgrading. I use it in macro mode, no flash, and I have the white balance on incandescent. My problems: I have been using a white background, but the pearls and light coloured beads disappear. However, if I use a black background, the pearls and light coloured beads reflect too much light. I've tried using natural light (from a window on a fairly bright day) and incandescent "daylight" bulbs. With natural light, the problem of "glowing" beads is gone, however the quality of the photos is terrible, even if I enhance them in Photoshop.

I've tried shooting them with a softbox (homemade) but the pearls still glow too much. Any suggestions to keep the pearls from disappearing, without having them look like glowing white blobs in the photos?


Hi, I've got a friend whose in this jewelry photography business. He uses a machine (some sort of lighting machine) to light up his jewelry.

Check it out at: http://www.mkdigitaldirect.com/

cattroubles
02-21-2005, 03:15 PM
I am so new at this so new in fact that I haven't done it yet... I need Help.
My camera is a Olympus C-740 Ultra Zoom.
I am intrested in using 5000K Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, and was going to buy a light tent, but thanks to Mr. Bloo Dog, I am going to use Tupper Ware. I am not sure about what my camera settings should be I do plan on using Super Macro this allows you to shoot up to 3 inches away. but that is all I know .I have been using a scanner and well it was not good so I have to upgrade or get out of town. I would appreciate any help or advice you could offer
Thanks Cattroubles :confused:

Norm in Fujino
02-21-2005, 06:08 PM
Cat, use a tripod and practice, practice, practice. Use different settings if you're not getting the results you want. Try differient white-balance settings as well, particularly if using fluroescents. And shoot at no lower than SHQ quality.

gejmond
03-03-2005, 03:57 AM
I specialize in jewelry....Post your email and I'll send you pictures of my setup. You'll be shooting like a pro in no time.

In a Nutshell,

Bloo Dog

Hello, wondered if you - or someone - could please email me the pic of the set up as well? I am a complete beginner so could really do with some pictures!

I am trying to get set up shooting quality jewellery photography on a white background, and want to get a set up without spending loads of cash if I can avoid it. I only have a compact digital canon ixus 400 but it has a fairly good macro and is close enough for my purposes, I just need to get the lighting conditions right.

Thanks

kimberlily
03-03-2005, 12:27 PM
Thanks for all the input everyone - I haven't checked this thread in months, since we moved to the US from Canada and got busy with other things.

Good news is that I got a new camera that DOES have manual controls. It is digital (Kodak Easyshare DX7630, and I love it). I haven't really had a chance to play much with the methods posted here, but I'd love to see a pic of Blu Dog's setup. My e-mail is kbudai@gmail.com :)

I've tried shooting on a gray background, but the gray was too dark. I couldn't find a light enough gray without using construction paper, which doesn't come in a large enough size for shooting necklaces. Must do more looking.

ktixx
03-03-2005, 01:00 PM
I have a friend who found a tutorial on how to make your own photo box. Basically all you do is purchase a large clear rubbermaid bin, put it on its side and line the inside with white printer paper (taped together to make on solid sheet). Then you can use lamps or any other type of lighting and light it from the outside (behind the bin and on the sides of the bin through the translucent plastic). Finally you place a light directly on the object from the front of the box. Custom white balance and use spot metering and you are done. This is probably not something that a professional selling their services should use, but it does the job quite nicely!
Ken

Rhys
03-03-2005, 02:18 PM
This photo I shot using a humble Nikon 3100 and sunlight through a window on a December evening.

dwig
03-03-2005, 03:19 PM
I thought I'd post a sample of what I shoot. Its just a simple documentary shot that we do for all of our pieces so that it will print on our reciepts and appraisals. It was taken with a Nikon CP 990 using a paper cone as a light tent (shaped like the proverbial American Indian Teepee) and a single quartz light shining through the tent.

ketanshah1
12-07-2005, 05:30 AM
Hi

Can somebody confirm if Nikon 5100 be used for macro shooting of small jewelry items?

alter
02-21-2007, 11:35 AM
As they say a picture says a thousand words, and I have no words to offer my gratitude to the people here. I too have a jewellery business and was facing the same problem of picturising my collections in the proper way. So I had to be content in making the publicity in words, but words cant describe the real beauty of these ornaments unless they are being viewable, now that I learnt the tips and tricks I am sure I will be able to make my collections popularize thru pictures, this is great!

CherDesigns
02-27-2007, 05:22 PM
Hi Bloo Dog, if you are still out there could you send me a pic of your setup please? Thanks so much!

cher@jewelrybycherdesigns.com

-Cher

studiotucker
08-24-2008, 04:31 PM
Hi, just want to share some of our experience with jewelry photography. After trying the DSLR and pro lighting setups (fortunately I needed to have for other projects, though we did spend $20 on a tent that was useless), the best solution came down to this. A simple little point and shoot, Nikon Coolpix S3, a small flexible tripod, some boards covered with upholstery faux leather and some polished granite floor tiles from home depot. We've steered clear of fabric and velvets...too much dust and the items lose their sparkle....though you may still see some in the mix.

The camera has ample Mega Pixels and takes great close up shots from around 3"+. Natural daylight is best and we use reflectors to add or control light on the item being shot. This setup is very inexpensive and allows us to shoot sometimes dozens of items in a day. Adjust the light setting + or - to compensate for the ambient light and/or the color background. A little trial and error is the best teacher.

We have taken thousands of photos with this setup and it has been practically flawless. You can see some of the work at www.misasfashioncafe.com It's a Japanese site, but you can figure out the menu with a couple clicks. Click on through to the extra large images for a better view. These images are relatively small for web, but the originals at full monitor size are sharp and clear with great color.

Of course, photoshop is an invaluable tool. If you cant afford photoshop there is a great free software available that is giving Adobe a run for their money. It is called gimp, you can find it at http://www.gimp.org/ . It has most of the advanced features of photoshop and the tools and workings are similar and very intuitive. I have used it and am duly impressed.

I hope this will help someone get the results they are looking for.