However, without a program like Photoshop (which is the best of all the others) your digital images will never look 'great'.
The objective of a professional photographer, at least the three I
have worked with, is to capture the original image as precisely as
possible. As a general rule it should not require a great deal of
image enhancement to make the photos “look great”. Adobe Photoshop is
a wonderful program and an excellent tool, but in my experience good
photographers don’t usually rely heavily on after image manipulation
to produce high quality work.
Michael David Sturlin, jewelry artist firstname.lastname@example.org www.geocities.com/~jdpn/gallery-sturlin.htm 480.941.4105 Scottsdale, AZ USA
Hi, One word of caution regarding checking out photos on web sites:
remember that computer monitors display images at 72 dpi. So an image
that looks great filling the monitor may not look good when it’s
printed out. If you plan to submit your images to magazines, print
them on postcards, create slides for show juries, etc., you need
significantly higher resolution: most magazines minimum acceptable
resolution is 300 dpi at 3" x 5" You can’t necessarily tell the
difference between a 72 dpi and 300 dpi image on the computer screen,
but boy, can you see the difference when you print it on photo paper
with a good quality printer, or use a 4 color printing process. Just
something to keep in mind. Su
Suzanne Wade writer/editor Suzanne@rswade.net http://www.rswade.net Phone: (508) 339-7366 Fax: (928) 563-8255
One consideration I haven’t seen in this discussion is the objective
of the photography. The purpose (or “mission”) of the images should
have an influence on your decision. If you are creating slides for a
jury, to get into a show, it is in your best interest to use a
professional photographer. The more competitive the show, the less
"wiggle room" you have for your slides. I think it is imperative to
have the most incredible slides possible. You can then use a slide
scanner and scan the slides for images to be used in other places.
If your objective is for general use, Web site, or archive, digital
photography will do well if you take the time to “master” it.
Computer monitors are either 72 or 75 d.p.i., so high resolution
gains you nothing except a longer download time. The monitor display
is so relatively bad, compared to print, that a lot of precision
tuning of the image is wasted. Variables in the calibration of
monitors and video cards makes it much of a crap-shoot anyway. You
can’t be sure the image will look the same on other monitors,
especially as you cross the Mac/PC frontier.
If you are going to be using a professional photographer, be sure
you understand the pricing in advance. Don’t assume the new guy (or
gal) you’re going to try is going to have pricing in line with others
you’ve used in the past. The photographer has to pay for his new $40k
professional digital camera somehow! Great results… but at what
Karen Christians (of Metalwerx) turned me onto Robert Diamante, who
was written about by Suzanne Wade. He’s absolutely incredible! Being
my own worst critic, as most of us probably are, I know it’s a great
slide when I look at my piece and say, “That looks AWESOME!” It’s a
logistical challenge sending my work to him in Maine, but if you have
the time, it’s top-notch. He also did a lot of the photography for
Tim McCreight’s Boxes and Lockets book, if you want to see samples.
Scanned images of his work can also be found on my Web site (look for
the photo credits), and bear in mind the actual slides look MUCH
I’d also like to echo the comments about making sure the
photographer specializes in, or at least has an emphasis specifically
on jewelry photography. A while back I used the official show
photographer at an ACC show where I was helping out. It was a
convenience thing. I assumed that since he was well versed in
shooting fine craft he would do a decent job. Not a good assumption.
Out of the ten-or-so pieces he shot, only one came out really well. I
showed him my Diamante slides so he could try and provide some
consistency for jury slides, and let’s just say he failed at that,
too. All I can say is, "archive slides…"
Enough from me on that subject, I guess!
All the best, Dave
Eric – Thank you so much for that posting!!. I have recently begun
to think about hiring a professional photographer and have been
grappling with how to evaluate one with respect to the kind of work I
do. I often think getting answers to my questions is the easy part
– it’s coming up with the right questions that I find difficult when
approaching something new; you have certainly given me some great
material to think about.
I think this topic would make a good discussion, and I’d love to
throw it out there – those of you who have used professional
photographers – how did you find them? How did you evaluate them?
How involved in the actual work of the photographic sessions were
you? What kind of time did it take to have this work done? Were you
happy with the experience? Were you able to see in the setup the
photograph that came out of it (make sense??)? Do you use different
photographers for different purposes (e.g., web vs. postcards vs.
retail brochures vs. whatever else??) or perhaps different
photographers for different kinds of work – silver vs. gold/ stones
vs. no stones/ objects vs. jewelry??
Hi, I know there are photo’s posted at www.gemvision.com the
gemvision people offer a camera , variable light “dome” complete
with jewelry fixturing devices and software, [even a rotary turn
table is available ], a complete jewelry “photo” studio if you will.
I have one and photo’s I,ve taken have been used in proffesional
application. The “cloud dome” has been well recieved here on Orchid
I’m sure that others can direct you to photo’s taken by its use.
Mark Clodius Clodius&Co. Jewelers
Alan, We do all of the photos on our website with a digital camera
and touch up with photoshop. They are low-res for the internet but
will give you some idea of what is possible. We use the same camera
(Kodak DC290) to take photos for our jury slides. Once we get images
that look good, the files are sent to a graphics/photo service bureau
that “prints” the digital files as regular 35mm slides. We used to
pay big bucks for a pro photographer to shoot our slides. Economics
forced us to find a less expensive method. The quality may not be as
good but we can’t see any big difference and have juried into some
pretty competitive shows with our digital slides. If you decide to go
that route, you will need to spend some time figuring out your best
display/lighting scenario and even when you get the best result, it
will almost certainly benefit from some photoshop tweaking. The
camera we use was top of the line 3 years ago and cost about
$1000.00. Something equivalent should easily be had for $3-500.00. If
you don’t want to teach yourself photoshop, you could probably get a
graphics shop to play with your files for a reasonable fee and pick
which you want to have for slides. I think our slides run about
$10.00 each with duplicates running around $7.00
HTH, Mike Dibble