Building a compact drop-shadow box for jewelry

Precedence: bulk

Hello Lee,

I think, probably for the purposes of friendly light, you’d probably
still need it that big, but couldn’t you use white foam board? They
have these three-section things for presentation purposes, sold in
most office supply places, that are made out of foam board and they
open up for use, then you’d just close it up flat and store it
somewhere. You might have to extend the folding sides, but you could
buy an extra sheet of foam board and tape it on in such a way that it
would accordion when you put it away. It would be only slightly
thicker than before when it was folded and put away. The material is
lightweight, inexpensive, and you can easily punch holes where you
need to. HTH.

Cynthia Clinton

Precedence: bulk

Ah-ha! thanks for asking. I set up my photography area based on
the web articles by Charles L-B. We built our box out of white foam
core, with a parchment paper “roof.” This diffuses the light
nicely. We have light stands with 250 watt bulbs on either side.

For the overhead, we took two coat hangers, elongated them, put one
each over opposite sides of the ceiling fan arms. Then, to make the
overhead light hang right, I coiled some heavy copper wire, put that
over the two coat hangers (the part you’d normally put on the
clothes rod.)

The center light has a wire that goes through it, to hang from, that
goes on the copper coil. Center light is 500 watts.

Center the foam core box, arrange lights. Oh, inside the box is
another piece of foam core set on a block, to make a ramp. Put
photo backdrop paper on the ramp. The light is diffused, shadows
are not a problem, and it can all be put in one box plus the light
stands, and stack of foam core.

Also, it’s very inexpensive.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor

Whoa, 3 feet by 3 feet? That’s pretty large. I have one 2 by 2 that
is too large for most of my needs and I frequently prop another,
smaller box inside!

My box is a wooden frame, painted white. The top is open and the
sides are half sheets of the frosted plastic panels used to shade
flourescent fixtures installed in a dropped ceiling. I either bring
the whole darn thing outside or I use clip on shop light fixtures
clipped around the sides for light, but you could use lamps on

I drilled a series of holes into the top rails of the frame so that
I can insert a lucite rod and suspend things from the rod into the
center of the box, but don’t do that very often. I also drilled a
hole into the back wall of the box, glued a nut to the back side and
then have various lengths of threaded rod that I can screw into to
hold an item right out in space. Don’t use that much, either, but
it’s useful. I’ve also got adjustable shelf supports in the frame so
that I can use a plexiglass shelf; haven’t really made use of it.

On the back wall, at the top of the box, I attached two "Bulldog"
clips with screws, and use these clips to hold the drop cloth. The
smaller boxes that I usually use inside are just made from cardboard
boxes with the sides cut down at an angle, pieces of white mat board,
and gray paper held on by clips for a drop cloth.

I’ve frequently thought I’d make it smaller if I was to do it over.
On the other hand, it’s large enough to maneuver in.

Hope this helps.

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts, who wants you to know that no
one deserves lung cancer.

Aloha Everyone,

Regarding the jewelry photo shoot Lee Einer brought up about a
scaled light box, we know photographing jewelry is difficult. It
has great reflective properties, giving the shot like a red eye shot
of a person. If not well or properly lit it will also cast shadows
and get lost in a darker image.

Just to get started on some of our company’s One-of-a-Kind necklace
line, we used Jersey material because it doesn’t reflect light. A
good white T-Shirt would work fine.

We then stretched the material tightly over a flat cardboard box or
a large piece of Styrofoam. Once this was done, we used 2 high
intensity Halogen lights, to shine on the necklace. Set up for just
the right image took some time.

After the film was developed, we realized that some images had more
shadows than others. The recommendation to correct this problem.
Take 4 high intensity lights, with small bases, strategically place
them in the four corners from the center where the item is laying,
and adjust each lamp to remove the shadows from the material, the
light reflects but seems to diffuse the reflection to a point where
a good image can be obtained.

We are not professional photographers and surely, there are people
who may state that this is not the way. But unless we build a box
like Lee if referring to, or hire a professional photographer, do it
yourself -DIY- jobs saves us money, and gives us better hands on
experience, while teaching us how to pose the jewelry shot. It is
not as easy as it seems. Practice makes perfect and that is what we
are working on at this time. If any person has other ideas about
photography in the unprofessional sense, and makes it affordable,
taking the shots of hundreds of necklaces is our next large job. Good
luck to all in their quest for the right image caught to make one
take a long sigh after looking at piece of art.

Much Aloha,

Precedence: bulk

Sure, you can build a scaled down version, no problem. It has to do
with controlling the light coming in and onto the work. See the
section at: for
extracts from my photography book on this.


Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brai1

Barbara, you might try a trick that was posted some time back for
photographing Opal. Get a large white Corning ware dish that you
can lay your necklace out on. Position the piece in the dish as you
want. Then fill the dish with enough water to cover the piece. You
might add just a drop of two of dish soap to break the surface
tension and prevent bubbles on the piece. You can now set up the
lights and camera so there is no glare off the surface of the water.
You now have a fully lighted piece with no bright spots. The only
problem is that this method destroys the brightness of faceted
stones. It works great for cabs though.


For what it is worth–

If you build a photo set-up, here’s a tip (I haven’t done this yet,
myself, mind you). The pro who takes my slides has a set-up along
the lines of what Elaine described, though the sides are white
plexy. Here’s the cool part. The “floor” is a piece of clear plexy
set on two saw horses. Under the center is a piece of black fabric,
draped so it is attached at the back of the floor and hangs like a
hammock under the photo area. The front is pinned to the saw horses
maybe a foot below the front edge of the plexy Hard to draw a
word-picture! The net effect is, there’s a sweep of black fabric
well below the clear plexy. He arranges the lights so there’s a
reflection on the plexy at the base of the piece, the rest is black,
with no grain or shadows.

His is big and never moved, but it needn’t be. It does need to be
fairly deep, though, unless the whole thing is tipped or low so
you’d be shooting down-ish. Anyway, hope this is worth something!


I would love to see a photo of your set up. In fact maybe we should
all take a pic of our photo set up as we did with our benches!I think
we could all learn a great deal! Whatdayasay? How do we send the
photos Hanuman? Thomas Blair newly Certified Bench Jeweler(Jewelers
of America)