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Adorama Photography Lighting system

I was sent an ad for Adorama and this lighting system was listed. I
think that it is a good system if you like to move things around and
don’t want to be confined to a closed system like a cloud dome and



I agree that the Cloud Dome limits one’s ability to position the
subject and the camera. And it’s not cheap. But the lighting
solution you suggested costs over $400.

No one needs to spend that sort of money to create a professional
quality photography or lighting setup for jewelry. Dazor makes a
3-tube “daylight” fluorescent lamp that provides an excellent,
powerful, color-corrected light source.

A light “box”, if you will can be constructed from opaque white foam
board for under $5.00 and it runs circles around just about anything
else out there for either jewelry or loose stones.

Glad to send an example of the images.

Wayne Emery

No one needs to spend that sort of money to create a professional
quality photography or lighting setup for jewelry. 

I agree. I have spent much less than that. And even for lights on a
stand, you don’t have to spend that much.

I’ve written about my set up at:

and have articles, photos and book reviews at my blog:

I recently realized I should have samples of pictures I’ve actually
taken on my set-up, so I’ll be adding those soon.


No one needs to spend that sort of money to create a professional
quality photography or lighting setup for jewelry 

I totally agree with the above statements but that wasn’t my point
in posting the ad for Adorama’s lighting package.

There is a whole other group of orchidites who don’t have the
experience or the inclination to go and cobble together a light box
or run down to the local hardware store and buy reflectors and all
the electrical paraphernalia. Sometimes its just easier to buy a
pre-made or package deal. That’s why the cloud dome is so popular it
is easy to set up and works well. Not everyone on this forum wants to
spend a lot of extra time doing the peripheral things that go along
with this business they would rather get it done and go back to make

There is always a different way to do things.

Lets remember that in our discussions. So much of the posts on
Orchid lately are discussing Semantics rather than dispensing
Is it “ite” or “ate”. I know that it makes a difference
but doe’s it have to chewed down to the bone.I have posted a few
times and in each case they were received with some negative reaction
because someone thought it might not work or whatever. I am relaying
what works for me or by someone that I know is doing it that way.
What we are relaying is our own personal experiences here. Some have
spent considerable time researching there own particular niche and
their posts are always interesting. James Binnion’s name pops into my
head first. I will always read his posts. For some others it’s do I
really want to take the time to read something that is not to the
point. Healthy discussion is great but there have been to many posts
that are just nit picking without adding anything to the

Ok, Noel got me started with her post this morning. I guess I too am
in a grumpy mood. The weather man is predicting Hot and Humid for
this weekend and it is my only outdoor show. And no! I don’t need
advice on how to survive an outdoor show. Take it as my .02 cents
worth and I am now officially off my soap box.



I am interested in the Adorama photography lighting system you
mention. I’m assuming it’s the plexiglass cloud dome for $149.95?
However, I am not sure, looking at the picture, how it is used. I am
just looking into photography at the moment and have had the an
alternative system recommended. It is the TableTop Studio kit with
the EZCube but here in the UK it costs nearly A3400 (ie. $800)!!! I
found two similar kits, one was the Pro Line 50cm Tabletop Light Tent
Cube & Lighting Kit for A399.99 and the other one was non-branded but
costs A389.99. All kits seem to include a light cube and two lights,
plus a few extras in some cases. Adorama also have a similar kit to
these three. It is the Smith Victor ImageMaker, Fluorescent Light
Tent Kit for $99.95.

The kits with the light tents are self explanatory as they all have
photographs of them in use but I can’t quite work out how you use
the cloud dome. Looking at the prices, the Adorama products work out
much less expensive than anything else out there. I’m looking to see
if there are any suppliers here in the UK. If anyone knows of such a
supplier of less expensive table top photography studios in the UK
please let me know.

Preston, UK

I believe that we discussed this subject a couple of years ago and
there is info in the archives. For those of you interested in an
inexpensive version of the “Cloud Dome”, try a local plastics
supplier or manufacturer. I was able to buy a translucent white
acrylic dome from my local plastics supplier for $10. I cut a hole
in the top to accomodate my camera lens. I printed out a gradient
sheet, put it on a table top and then placed a piece of non-glare
glass on top of two 12" lengths of 2"X4" lumber. The dome sits on top
of the glass. I use two light sources. This is a cheap and simple way
to duplicate the basic dome type photo system. I would be happy to
email a couple of photos of this system. Contact me off line. Joel

Joel Schwalb


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
live models.

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.

Wayne Emery

Dear Wayne,

Thanks so much for your reply to my query. Another Orchid member, Tim
Blades pointed me in the direction of a far cheaper alternative kit
to what had been previously mentioned. It is a cube-shaped light
tent, a camera stand and two lights and was extremely reasonably
priced. I actually purchased it online last night. I could not
believe how much some companies were charging for pretty much
exactly the same set up! My husband is buying a camera, which will be
his toy. He’s buying the Nikon D80 D-SLR and is buying the best macro
lens he can afford for the purpose of photographing my jewellery.

Thank you so much for your help. In fact, if this kit is not all it’s
cracked up to be, when I take delivery, I will contact you for
details of the system you advocate.

Preston, UK

I photograph inside a simple box made of foam core and use lights
similar to the ones in the Adorama ad, though I think one can buy
them more inexpensively. In fact, for the photography for the book
that I am writing about shell forming with Betty Helen Longhi, we
purchased quartz work lights from a Home Depot/Lowe’s sort of place
for $10-20 each.

I thought I’d mention that some years ago, I wrote an article about
the photography method I use. It was published in SNAG News, and is
on the website of Society of American Silversmiths.

Here’s a link:

Though I have not updated it since I switched to using a digital
camera as my primary camera, it is still the basic method that I use.

Every few months, I receive an e-mail from someone thanking me for
the article, saying that it had helped them. By the way, I owe a
great debt to Les Brown, another Orchid participant, for getting me
started. I still own and use the camera he helped me choose to buy
when we were in grad school 30 years ago.

I hope this helps someone.

Cynthia Eid

Hi Cynthia,

Thanks for the advice. I’ve printed out your article as it is a very
clear and easy to understand step by step guide. We’ll be getting our
camera equipment in the next week or two and I’m excited to give it a
try. By the way I really like your work, particularly your bracelets.

Preston, UK