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A useful system for photographing jewelry


Glenda: A useful system for photographing jewelry with a film-type
camera is to use a “cigarette-pack” small flash with an extension
cord attached to your hot shoe on top of the camera. Place the
jewelry in/on a suitable tray, background, etc. Use a macro lens set
to f16 to f32 for enough depth of field. Or use your 50mm lens on
your SLR with stacked closeup lenses; or a macro setting on your
point and shoot. You need to get close enough to get 1/2 life size
to life size on the film with 35mm. at any rate, if you have a hot
shoe and an extension, you can use this lighting technique: black
out any on camera flash. Set a piece of rolled up paper in a tube
around the jewelry, like a chimney. Position your flash outside the
chimney at about 10 o’clock relative to the “top” of the piece. Take
notes about the distance of the flash from the paper and the paper
from the jewelry. Start in close and vary by a couple of inches for
each shot, out to about 12" for 100 ASA film and an average strength
flash. Eight shots should allow you to pick one distance for all the
shots from then on with the same diameter tube and flash distance.

This approach will give you tented lighting. It will show jewelry
without distracting reflections. To get more sparkle in the gems,
you might have to experiment with a small window in the tent or a
mirror to get some light directly on the stone/s. You could also
adapt aspects of this system to a digital camera, I suppose. Maybe
someone else can post about making slides and scanning them to put
them on line. a good way to get high resolution shots, I would
suppose. HTH.