I teach table-top photography to jewelers and gem cutters.
Long before my 21 year stint in retail jewelry I owned a photography
business specialiazing in catalog photography of small items
(smaller than a bread box, say).
One of the fundamentals of good studio lighting is to use no more
lights than you need to get the job done. This is especially so when
photographing objects with highly reflective surfaces, because the
multiple highlights caused by multiple lights creates an unnatural
image set of reflections. Sometimes, it creates multiple shadows.
The introduction of the diffusion "tents" or boxes to the market
some years ago does go a long way towards solving the problem of
multiple shadows, but till leaves the multiple highlights problem.
A MUCH more effective and light-efficient way to photograph jewelry
is to make an OPAQUE white container with the light source contained
WITHIN the container, reflecting off the sides of the container.
This principle is widely used in studio photography, especially with
A simple box made of foam board (the smaller the better, for reasons
I won't go into here) with a diffusion material on the top and a
single PROPER light source placed on top of the box, slightly
forward of the subject, does the trick. This is a $3.00 solution,
not counting the light source, and takes up no more than about 18
inches by 30 inches.
All this and much more is discussed at length in my CD "Jewelry
Photography Made Simple", available by contacting me off-line. I
will be absent for the next few days, however. I'll be happy to send
the "plans" for those who can't figure it out and some other info
for free, just e-mail me off-line, and I'll tend to it this weekend.
I'll say again that it is NOT necessary to spend hundreds on a box
or tent or lighting....save that for the PROPER camera that has the
PROPER features to accomplish the job quickly, easily and very well.
Anything less is like trying to size a ring with a soldering gun.
garbage in, garbage out.