Digital Photography

To Tom and Grace:

I have been using a type of “lampshade” to photograph jewelry. I
also use a tripod and three lights. For photograph of setup please see
“Digital Photography of Jewelry” in my Studio Tour at

I hope this helps…
Connie Fox

Hello Alan, You’ve had a lot of posts in response to your question
and many of them had good input for you. I will offer my unique
perspective for what small value it may have.

I’ve made my living selling jewelry at juried art fairs for over 30
years and for many of those years have had my work photographed by
professionals to get jury slides, paying in the $40 to $60 dollars an
image range. During those years I also took pictures of my work for
record keeping of the evolution of designs and to keep track of
interesting ideas. Sometimes I would get an image good enough to use
as a jury slide and also they were used for flyers and incorporated
in looseleaf books to show clients,etc. I used a 35mm single lens
reflex camera with extension tubes or macro lenses.

5 years ago I entered the computer obsessive phase of my life and
two years ago purchased a Nikon Coolpix 990 with the idea of taking
pictures to put on a website. Both of these things have caused
significant changes in my life and business.

The 990 is the precursor to the Nikon Coolpix 995 that several people
posted about and the 4500 that is the current camera in the series.
As far as I can tell by having used all of these and from reading a
variety of reviews on the digital photography resource websites,
these cameras have the best macro capabilities in the digital camera
world at least in their price range. This doesn’t mean there aren’t
other cameras with good macro abilities. The cloud dome that has been
mentioned on orchid a number of times seems like an excellent tool.
I, however, have this thing about making do with what I find about me
and have put together a portable setup from diffusing plastic sheet I
got for $5 and other things I found at thrift stores along with
gradient sheets printed out on archival matte paper on either an
Epson C-80 or a new Epson 2200 inkjet printer. I take a lot of my
shots at motels in the cities where I go to harvest money at shows. I
have all my latest work and I have time the night before the show. At
one show I forgot to bring the diffusing plastic and in my
frustration and determination to shoot the work, got some good images
using a translucent plastic super market grocery bag. Desperation
sometimes leads to interesting solutions. Some of these images can be
seen on my website at

At this point I am getting all of my jury slides made from these
digital files for $5 each and got into my first two important spring
shows using only these slides. With the new Epson 2200 inkjet I am
able to print 8 x 10 prints on glossy, semi-gloss or archival matte
paper that are, to my eye, of photographic quality. I also am selling
an increasing number of jewels through what I call internet assisted
marketing, primarily by sending small file size jpegs images to
clients in emails. It is also now relatively effortless to keep a
complete record of the work that my wife and I produce.

As a side effect of my computer obsession and digital delight and
because I am very involved with the Mendocino Art Center in Northern
California, I now also teach workshops to beginning digital
photographers and photoshop users. I just finished a three day
workshop with 9 people, with 8 different cameras including 2 Coolpix
995’s and one 4500. Photoshop is a complex and powerful tool but can
be used by beginners in useful and very effective ways. You don’t
have to know everything about a piece of software to use it well. I
would suggest that you would need to use it or some other good image
editing program to get the best results. Photoshop will not make up
for poor images though, both of these factors have to work together.

The makers of Photoshop, Adobe, have come out with a slimmed down
version of photoshop called photoshop Elements that is a very good
piece of software in its own right and may be generally purchased for
$50 or so with rebates, check Amazon. It would probably do most of
what you needed and if you later decided to switch to the complete
photoshop, the skills you had learned would be easily transferable.

Whether or not you ended up taking all or some of your own slides I
think that you would find a digital camera a very useful tool. They
get better and cheaper each day. I’ve been amazed at the quality of
the images taken by almost every camera that my students bring. I
would recommend buying at least a 4 megapixel camera at this time.
The Nikon Coolpix 4500 is in the mid 400 dollar range.

And finally at the end of much too long a ramble, I will say that
digital photography has awakened my passion for photography that I
first remember feeling well over 50 years ago when I was given my
first box camera as a birthday gift. Being able to see that you have
captured an image in the LCD and having there be no downside to
taking lots and lots of pictures is truly exciting.

If I may be of any assistance in providing more or more specific
about any of this, please email me offlist at and I would be happy to reply. Good luck in your
decision making process.

Jima Abbott Residing in Caspar by the sea at the edge of the pygmy
forest on the banks of the digital river

Those of you who have not already dropped the big $$$ for
Photoshop, check out the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program.) 

Another good alternative is PhotoImpact. Very user friendly…I think
it’s about $89. It’s even less, purchased online. It does just about
everything PhotoShop does including accept the freeware .8bf plug-in

I use it to post-process CAD renderings and it saves a lot of time
that I would be spending on trying to get the “perfect” rendering.

Jesse Kaufman

    That's true. I never get color balance correct in camera. It
is easy to to correct it with a photo editing program such as Adobe
Photoshop or Jasc Paintshop Pro. 

In the Digital Photography thread, someone mentioned using Paintshop
Pro, and I just wondered if anyone had any comments about using it. I
can’t afford Adobe Photoshop and I’m not sure when I’ll want to
afford it; if I was looking to spend that kind of money, I’d probably
rather buy a Bonney Doon, if you know what I mean.

I’ve been using MicroGrafx Picture Publisher for several years now,
and I like it fine. It does everything I’ve ever needed it to do and
more. I think it was one of the competitors to Photoshop, but now
it’s a dead product; Corel bought it and it doesn’t exist anymore. It
still works fine but I may have to switch to something else in the

What else is there besides Photoshop? Someone also mentioned GIMP
but I must admit my first thought (entirely unfounded) is that, being
originally developed for Linux systems, it’s too foreign and it won’t
be easy to install and use.

Thanks. I don’t think this topic has been extensively covered, has

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts

Christine -

You can purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements for something less than 50
bucks at Amazon (with rebates) and it will do everything you need.
For me, you don’t need PhotoShop Pro - I have both and have only used
the “elements” features in Pro.


 or Jasc Paintshop Pro.  In the Digital Photography thread,
someone mentioned using Paintshop Pro, and I just wondered if anyone
had any comments about using it 

Hi Christine:

Did you know that you could go online to and
download their software and use it for 30 days before you buy (or
don’t buy if you don’t like it)? I found this out at the shop where
I was looking at the software available. I just couldn’t afford the
Adobe Photoshop program and in fact after talking with the
salesclerk/tech there, I had to agree with him that Adobe Photoshop
was probably overkill for what I needed. I haven’t tried Jasc
Paintshop Pro yet - I am planning on downloading the program as soon
as I have the time to really use it a lot during the allotted 30 day
period to see for sure whether it is what I want to use. Don’t want
to download and not be able to spend the time to really check it out.
You may want to try it out as well before you buy. Good luck, and
if you try it soon, please let me know how you like it.


   In the Digital Photography thread, someone mentioned using
Paintshop Pro, and I just wondered if anyone had any comments about
using it. 

G’day Christine Quiriy and others; I have used Paintshop Pro for
sevral years and now have Paintshop Pro 6. This has done everything
I wanted it to do - and a whole lot more I’ll never use :slight_smile: One
useful thing about it is that one can pull other people’s photos
into it at a right hand click, work on them easily, change what
enhancement you just did poorly, as easily, copy a picture to
practically any format available, and dictate the compression.
It’s just as easy to pull a picture into a writer program.

As I said, you can do a hell of a lot more than that, including
animation, and all sorts of clever, flash promotional type things:
but I leave that sort of stuff to the kids!! I’m certainly not an
expert - why, my son regards me as barely computer literate!!

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ