Alan; Hello. As a person who has made my living making images (still
photography, film, and video) I’ll take a shot at answering your
As far as the price - it’s hard to say. Some photographers charge a
whole lot more than others. There are some that will be a lot more
expensive than this - and a lot that will be less. Cost is not the
way to judge it - but the results are. I take it that you do not
feel comfortable doing it yourself at present.
You have to decide if these images will do the job you want them to.
If they are, they may be worth the price. It’s the results you are
paying for. And can you get the results cheaper - if not, stay with
It is an art, just like metalworking. I’m sure you will be able to
relate and put yourself in the position of the photographer when I
say that a lot of people look at the picture and say “I can do that,
why does he charge so much?” But they don’t do it. And
realistically they can’t do it because they don’ have the experience
or equipment to tweak the final image like the photographer has done.
As in the metal working profession, non photographers (and non
metalworkers) don’t have any idea of what all is involved in the
pursuit of our craft what all is involved, the experience needed,
the mistakes learned from, the time put in, or the tools needed to
get exactly this final product.
Where are the final images to be used? If on the web, the images do
not have to be as high a quality as if they are going to a
publication or a glossy for display purposes. Web wants 72 dpi (dots
or pixels per inch) for quick downloading. There is not as much
in this image as there would be, for say, the glossy
which could go up to 1200 dpi or more.
The detail is lost in the lower dpi. I would say if your final
output is for web only you may want to think about the money you will
be spending. That much will buy a decent camera for web photography
and all you will have to do is learn to take decent pictures or find
someone within your sphere of contacts that will take them for you.
There are many books and videos that will assist you in learning
photography. Highschools and colleges offer classes also.
That said - taking pictures is easy, all you do is point the camera
and push a button, taking good photos is not as easy, there is a lot
that has to be considered - composition, lighting, shadow, color,
depth of field, focus, etc. As in anything else it takes time to
make all the mistakes that teach you how to take great photos.
Returning to web photos- even though the is not as great
as in a photo for magazine reproduction or for glossies you still
have to be concerned with the above mentioned other considerations.
The picture has to be properly exposed, composed, and in focus. Plus
everything has to be eliminated except what you want to say in the
Some people have a natural bent for it, others do not. (I’ve always
said I took up photography because I can’t draw.) Photography can be
learned by anyone. It takes time - the experience is more important
than innate ability.
I’ve talked to photographers who are a lot better at it than I am
who say that if they don’t do it for a day or two there is a
difference in their ability to take a photograph - they lose their
There has been in the last few days a thread about a setup that will
help out a lot in lighting control (shadow box) plus there have been
others for other lighting control implements (cloud dome? and others
too). The thing with jewelry photography is you have to control
spectral highlights -either eliminating them or placing them exactly
where you want them. The other thing to control is unwanted colors
being introduced by the light being reflected off of colored
backgrounds. I’m not saying it has to be eliminated but you have to
be able to control it - you may want to introduce a color into your
photo to help induce a certain action or emotion in the viewer.
Light is the tool we use. Light is our palette or our metal. We
use light to create an illusion of a three dimensional object in a 2
dimensional image. We “paint” with light. Shadows give an illusion
of depth and highlights give us a feel for detail.
Usually spectral highlights are pinpoint reflections. The lighting
controls mentioned above work not by eliminating the spectral
highlight but by broadening it out -making the object awash in a
subdued highlight so that it is in essence covered with a spectral
highlight (thereby eliminating it in a sense).
There are other things to take into consideration but to cut this
off I’ll stop here.
It comes down to are you getting the result you need and do you have
the time and inclination to learn a new discipline.
It’s a personal decision -no one can say over the web what you
should do with the limited in a posting.
One thing about professional photographers is that they probably
have to tools and toys to do a lot more than someone with a light and