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Jewelry Photography


#1

Hi Rick, and all,

Great topic for discussion. Glad to pitch in. I too have an
almost permanent set-up for jewelry photography in my shop.
For print film I usually use Royal Gold 25. It is so
fine-grained that one can sucessfull blow it up to 16x20 with
great results. THe only drawback is that it takes alot of light
for a 25ASA film. I use Fuji Provia for slide film at present.
I’ve encountered some inconsistancy in the true ASA of Velvia.

To your excellent advice I would add that it may help to diffuse
the light and provide a visually sterile environment with a
"light tent" of some sort. I use white bed sheet. I also think
it helps considerably to have a “true” macro lens, that is, one
which will shoot at a 1:1 ratio. That way you can really fill
the screen with the object and a side benefit is that most
manufacturers macro lens are, by virtue of macro optics, the
sharpest of the line.

I wrote a how-to on jewelry photography that was published in
the July '94 Shutterbug Magazine that may be reprinted soon by
AJM magazine with updated info. I’ll keep you posted here if
anybody’s interested. G


#2
I wrote a how-to on jewelry photography that was published in
the July '94 Shutterbug Magazine that *may* be reprinted soon by
AJM magazine with updated info.  I'll keep you posted here if
anybody's interested. G

Hello Gary,

I’m really interested in more about jewelry
photography.

Gabriel @agv


#3
I wrote a how-to on jewelry photography that was published in
the July '94 Shutterbug Magazine that *may* be reprinted soon by
AJM magazine with updated info.  I'll keep you posted here if
anybody's interested. G

Hi Gary,

Depending on length of article, I wonder whether it would be
possible to post it here? I’m unable to get the magazines
mentioned, and would love to read about the subject.

Thanks so much,
Vira.


#4
I wrote a how-to on jewelry photography that was published in
the July '94 Shutterbug Magazine that *may* be reprinted soon by
AJM magazine with updated info.  I'll keep you posted here if
anybody's interested. G

Hi Gary,

How about publishing your article in The Tips Section of
Ganoksin.Com? We already have some great extracts published from
Charles Lewton-Brain’s latest book which deals with small
objects and jewelry photography.

What do you think?

Hanuman

Hanuman
The Ganoksin Project


#5

My suggestion for the choice of macro lens is as follows: a
longer focal length lens- 100mm or so allows the lens to be at a
greater physical distance from the subject at any magnification.
For close-ups of small objects such as rings this allows more
light on the subject, and lessens the possibility that the
refection of the camera can become part of the image. My first
experiments with close up photography involved using extension
tubes and diopter close up lenses. As Gary advises- a macro lens
is a very worthwhile investment, and really valuable because,
unlike other lenses, they are designed to shoot flat subjects,
such as paintings, fully in focus.

I always bracket exposures when shooting critical images. This
gives you a choice of light in the final image. And I can suggest
some other options for diffuse light- my lighting comes from 2
flash heads (Novatrons) enclosed in 20"x16" soft boxes.

Thanks for the info on ISO25 Royal Gold- I’ll have to give it a
try!

Rick
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#6

<< AJM magazine >>

I don’t know what AJM magazine is. Could someone please post
the full title of that publication???


#7

Hi all, I don’t know if anyone has posted this yet, but Charles
Lewton Brain has a new book/video out on small scale photography
and it is great! Check it out!


#8
   Hi all, I don't know if anyone has posted this yet, but
Charles Lewton Brain has a new book/video out on small scale
photography and it is great!  Check it out!

…and some extracts from the book are published in the Tips section
of Ganoksin.com. I bought Charles’ book and video and set up a studio
for jewelry photography. The book was extremely helpful! highly
recommended!!

Hanuman

Hanuman
The Ganoksin Project


#9

I’m really interested in more about jewelry
photography.

Hi Gabriel;

I started this thread to get a discussion going about jewelry
photography. While Gary and I have slightly different
perspectives I am sure we can give you some useful
Gary will be visiting me in early September-

Why don’t you start by telling us what equipment you have, and
either of us may have some suggestions on how best to get
started.

Rick
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#10

Gabriel:

I am going to throw my two cents in here unbidden. First, I am
a strong advocate of doing things on the cheap and I wouldn’t go
buying a lot of stuff until I tried what I had and found it
wanting. I do have a macro lens which is one of the sharpest
ever made, the Vivitar Series I 90mm/f2.5. However, do you need
this kind of sharpness? If you’re not going over 8x10 or 11x14,
there are lots of other options. One option would be an
enlarging lens and a bellows or extension tubes. A reversed 50mm
lens from your 35mm kit might also be fine at f/8 to f/16. You
would need a reversing ring adapter for your camera. A reversed
cine (motion picture camera) lens of 12 to 25mm will be very
sharp and might leave you enough working distance to add your
lights. Not real sharp, but useable might be a closeup lens or
two.

You can use one of the cheap lens options and then get a small
"cigarette pack" flash and a cord so you can use if off camera.
Using your flash guide number you can figure the distance to hold
the flash from the subject. I have used a ring pad in gray as a
background, and taken a few pieces of paper off a computer
printer and rolled them into a tube about three times as big as a
Pringles tube and set it around the ring pad. Hold the flash
off to one side and “above” (that is, at 10 o’clock relative to
the ring in the viewfinder). Figure you will need to add a stop
for the diffusing material and open up one stop from what you
computed with your guide number or move the flash to 75% of the
distance you computed. Then bracket on your first roll and take
them to the one hour lab or Walmart. Color neg is so good these
days you will for sure get something close to ideally exposed.
I used this system for appraisal photos for a while. If you
wanted some highlights, you could experiment with cutting a small
window in your paper tube for the flash to shine directly into.
I would try a closeup lens or a reversed slow (f/1.8 or f/2, they
are better than the fast lenses)50mm lens first. Some of the
reversed lenses do quite well. If you are wiling to tinker a
little, get a body cap for your camera and cut out the middle.
You can then epoxy an adapter ring that will fit your lens
reversed to the body cap or epoxy a PVC or cardboard tube to the
body cap and attach your lens to homemade extension tubes, etc.

Remember that your picture will be limited in sharpness by
diffraction if you need to use f/22 or f/32 for enough depth of
field. I think the formula for the limit is 1600/f-number. So
at f/32 you aren’t getting over 50 lpm any way you slice it.
Since you need about 12 lpm on the print for sharp, that limits
you to about 5x7 or less. If my memory serves me you can get
the depth of field you need at f/11 or so for thefront half of a
ring.

I haven’t seen Lewton-Brain’s book, but I would expect it to be
good. There is another recent book on photographing minerals,
fossils and gems, but I can’t remember the title. You will find
a lot of great stuff on closeup gadgets in the Manual of Closeup
Photography by Lester Lefkowitz, which is probably now out of
print. I’ll be looking forward to hearing about what the other
guys have to say. I would be particularly interested in how
they light it and the film they use.


#11
 I don't know what AJM magazine is.  Could someone please post
   the full title of that publication???

AJM is the ‘American Jewelry Manufacturer’, published monthly
by Manufacturing Jewelers & Silversmiths of America (MJSA).
Subscriptions ar e $42/yr US, $54 Canada, $88 other countries.
Subscription #, 800-444-6572.

Dave


#12

I don’t know what AJM magazine is. Could someone please post
the full title of that publication???

According to Gary Dawson, it is the magazine of MJSA- the
Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths Association (which I just
joined) which has offices in Providence, RI. It may be American
Jeweler’s Magazine? Haven’t recieved my first copy yet.

Rick
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#13

Rick, I’m glad you mentioned bracketing. One thing worthy of
remembering in photography is that “film is cheap”. My rule of
thumb is one good image per roll. (That’s a 36 image roll, BTW
) If I can get that I’m more than satisfied.

For those who might be wondering, “bracketing” in photography
means adjusting the exposure around what might be considered
the ideal by a light meter. That is, if your light meter
suggests F22 at X power on your electronic flash, one might try
that exposure and then also “bracket” one stop on each side by
1/2 stop increments. I usually do a series of five images for
each set-up. For the above example I would do one exposure at
F32 one at 22.5 one at 22 one at 16.5 and one at f16. As you
work down the f stops you lose depth-of-field, but you are more
likely to find at least one acceptable image in the series.

Depth-of-field is another serious consideration in
photomacrography. Remember that the smaller the aperture (larger
the f-stop number, e.g. f32) the deeper depth of field, or the
more of your object you can have in focus… That means
needing more light for a sucessfull image but it’s definately
worth it. Another reason to own a good macro lens is that there
will be little or no image degradation at the extremely small
apertures.

Also, one needs to be aware that there is a “circle of
confusion” around a focal plane in which there will be a
"relative" focus. That translates in practical terms to the
idea that there will be a short area in front of the focal plane
that will appear in focus in the final image and a larger area
behind the focal plane that will appear in focus. Many
professional grade cameras have a “stop down” feature that will
allow a preview of the actual image by aperture which makes it
much easier to predict what will and will not be in focus in the
image. One may need to practice to get familier with their
particular set-up but I often find that to get a relatively
"focused" image, nothing important is actually in focus in the
view screen until stop-down. G


#14
I don't know what AJM magazine is.  Could someone please post
the full title of that publication???

It is called: American Jewelry Manufacturer, and is published
by the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America in
Providence, Rhode Island. MJSA’s offices are at One State
Street, 6th Floor, Providence, Rhode Island 02908 Phone #
401-274-3840, Fax 401-274-0265, and their 800 # is 444-MJSA.

Barry


#15

I beg to differ on this matter:

Since slides are projected as images larger than 11x 14, you
need all the sharpness you can get. Being thrifty is often
worthwhile, but not at the expense of quality. Fooling around
with reversing rings, diopter lenses, and extension tubes wastes
time, changes the correction needed for lighting unpredictably by
several stops at small apertures, severely limits the range that
the lens can focus, and otherwise unnecessarily complicates the
photographic process. A one time investment in a proper macro
lens will pay for itself over and over in time saved and photo
quality (a macro lens is designed for this work!). Spend the time
thus saved in bracketing, using several films to determine the
best one for your work, and setting up the work to show it off
properly in the photograph. What you want is to quickly develop a
system that produces the same fine result from session to
session.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton


#16

I’m looking into getting some lighting for photographing
jewelry.I have seen some "halogen"500 watt lights cheap.Is the
color of this type of light acceptable?Are there any other
problems?

Scott Hepner


#17

hi everyone, once upon a time i took a hiatus as a jeweler and
thought i wanted to work in hollywood as a cameraman. i went
about this by getting a job as a cine camera technician. (long
ago, i threw out my copy of ‘the cinematographers handbood’
,what a dummy!). i did this for about four years and went back
to jewelry. i don’t want to mislead anyone, i’m no expert in
photography, but i have forgotten a great deal about how motion
picture cameras and lenses work and are repaired.

we would do a lot of comparison shots using different equipment.
using macro lenses, then using diopters. one can get very
comparable results using diopters vs macro lenses. macro lenses
being superior in convenience and results. but i want to stress,
diopters and extension tubes (if your budget does not allow
purchase of a macro lens) will give good results.
cinematograghers still use diopters and their reversal film is
blown up to the big screen with acceptable results. i’ve been
told this is 200,000 times the size of the original reversal
image.

there are a lot of comparison studies in a book i highly
reccomend on this subject: The Manual of Close Up Photography by
Lester Lefkowitz, isbn: 0-8174-2130-0. he has comparison studies
of macro photography done with a 16mm (film format) cine lens
reversed and mounted on his camera with an adapter that look
just as good as (if not better) the conventional macro lens.
there are also a lot of pictures of suggested set-ups and lots
of lighting suggestions. a great book, but not dedicated ot
jewelry. best regards, geo fox


#18

I’ve enjoyed reading all the info on photographing jewelry. I
do have a question though. How do you keep the camera
reflection off the jewelry piece. I take my pictures outdoors
on a foggy or overcast day with my camera on a tripod, usually
looking down on the jewelry, hence, in my slides there is my
camera! Thanks in advance for all your help.
Lisa@harborside.com


#19

I’m looking into getting some lighting for photographing
jewelry.I have seen some "halogen"500 watt lights cheap.Is the
color of this type of light acceptable?Are there any other
problems?

Scott,

I don’t know much about photography, but I do know that there is
a ‘white light’ halogen available now which gives a much truer
color under normal viewing situations. If halogen is good for
photography, you might try a local lighting fixture or electrical
supply store for these bulbs.

Good Luck.

Sharon


#20

I’m looking into getting some lighting for photographing
jewelry.I have seen some "halogen"500 watt lights cheap.Is the
color of this type of light acceptable?Are there any other
problems?

500 watt lights are probably overkill- I used 300 watt lights at
one time. You need to match the color temperature in degrees
kelvin to the film- I used ektachrome professional film which is
balanced for incandescent lights.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton