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Digital Camera-need Help!

I bought a Sony digital camera Sony Mavica FD7. Which is quite
good. But I am facing a problem which I need help.

I want to maintain a electronic catalogue of gems from Sri Lanka
and put it in my web site with Tripod. But when I take
photographs the stones looks darker than the natural colour. I
tried various flash lights but it did not work. I am not a
professional photographer but I am quite good at normal outdoor

I think the lighting is the problem. The camera does not have a
close up lens but it does have a zoom. But the too much zooming
makes the stone unfocused. I got pictures of large blue sapphires
and yellow sapphires but it looks too dark in photos.

Can somebody help me to give some tips on lighting. I want to
have the natural colour of the stone. When I see the photos
appearing in Gems and Jewellery magazines I wonder how people
take such good photos of gems.

Thank You
Mervyn Perera
Nikko Lanka Gems and Jewelry
Exporters of Gems and Lapidarists.

Try lighting the stones from the back as well as the front.
Backlighting will make the stones look lighter.

Laura Evans

Hi Mervyn,

That’s the same camera I have, and the same problem I was
encountering. Then I decided to read the instruction booklet!
:wink: In order to get =good macro shots, you have to zoom all the
way out… or wide-angle. =Then you can put the aperture within
2" of the subject and get a good =shot. I find I often have to
take it out of automatic focus and focus =manually. Still
playing with lighting myself… which is probably =almost as
important in shooting jewelry as it is stones.

Hope that helps!


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)

In regards to photographing your stones…You might try
backlighting them, by setting them on a small, translucent or
milky white plexi box, (doesn’t need to be custom made) Put a
light source inside the box, and put the stones on top. Then
have bright, reflected, not direct light on the stones.
Another way to do this would be to to use a light box, the type
one uses to view slides, with the light already inside, and use a
white lampshade on top of of the box, with the stone inside of
course. Arrange the camera at the top of the shade, and the
lights outside the shade. I have been using a copy stand,
instead of a tripod, to hold the camera in order to shoot down
at the jewelry. I even use a small level to make sure the camera
is exactly perpendicular to the jewelry, to minimize distortion.

Hope this helps.


Check out Montizambert Photography at They are professional commercial
photographers, and their new website is setup to provide
on common practises and tips from professionals,
using regular equipment. If you can’t find the information
specifically, drop them an e-mail and with your request. Hope
this helps.

Kurc Buzdegan