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Learning jewelry photography


#1

Dear all

I’m looking for classes in the jewelry photography field I tried to
visit the GIA’s web site but I couldn’t manage to get my self an
answer, sooooooooooo I said to myself there is one place to get help
the Orchedians. I live in south CA and any helpful links will be
Highly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.
Dikran N


#2

I have only ever seen two classes in jewelry photography. They are
taught by:

Cloud Dome http://www.CloudDome.com

and

Steve Meltzer, columnist in The Crafts Report and Art Calendar.

I am only aware of each doing seminars/workshops when sponsored by a
local guild.

In Chicago, I recently saw a computer teaching place that teaches
how to use Photoshop and store/organize your digital files.

You might try a different angle – look up photo clubs and places
that teach photography and ask for lessons in macro photography.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#3

I was never a big one for photography, but when you understand the
concepts of macro photography, there’s not really any big mystery to
it. Here’s a couple of VERY useful links:

http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/MainPages/photography.htm

And, I’ve said this in Orchid before - The book, “Closeups in
Nature”, by John Shaw is not only definitive, but some of the most
beautiful macro photography you’ll ever see. Lastly, when you decide
to think about spending $100 on a cloud dome - we made ours out of a
$10 tupperware cake holder…

John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature
By John Shaw

http://www.ganoksin.com/jewelry-books/us/product/0817440526.htm
Price: $15.30

Media: Paperback
Manufacturer : Amphoto Books
Release data : 01 September, 1987


#4

Hello Dikran,

I can not directly answer your question as I know of no resource for
getting lessons on jewelry photography. An article that was
published in AJM magazine in 1998 titled…“The Right Image” may help
you though. In it I describe techniques I had developed for this
very specialized niche in photography. I just checked in the AJM web
site and a copy of the article is still available through the site,
(http://www.ajm-magazine.com/). The article may be helpful for you
to get at least an idea of what it takes to get a good jewelry image.
Oddly, the article doesn’t come up using the drop-down topic search
but it does come up if you use a keyword search on my name.

Depending on your needs and goals, you may want to consider the
cost, effort and time involved vs. the fee for a good commercial
jewelry photographer though. It is incredibly handy and not that
difficult to be able to produce your own usable images but if you are
using images to jury into shows, for example, you may find it to your
advantage to hire a professional in the field for the best possible
advantage.

Good luck and if I can answer any specific questions, I’ll be glad
to help. G

Gary Dawson
@Gary_Dawson1
Quality & Integrity…Always!


#5

Our very own Charles Lewton-Brain also teaches photography. I took
his class in Tucson last year…VERY worthwhile !

David Barzilay
Lord of the Rings
607 S Hill St Ste 850
Los Angeles, CA 90014-1718
213-488-9157


#6

I’ll probably get a lot of argument from this view, but that won’t
be unusual :slight_smile: Having been an amateur photographer for a long time,
I don’t find it particularly difficult to set a background, select
lighting and shoot. And I think this attitude came mainly from a
rare interview with Ansel Adams I read a long time ago. I don’t
recall the exact words he used, but basically, he took a LOT of
shots of the same subject, bracketing exposures, rearranging
lighting, using different lighting, lenses, film, etc. He said that,
out of a hundred feet of film (most pros shoot bulk film by the
foot), he was happy to get two good frames. I took that to mean that
a great photographer never stops experimenting.

In the past, photographers and photo editors used airbrushes with
marvelous results. Today, most everyone uses Adobe Photoshop. A
common cliche in photography is “The camera doesn’t lie.” However,
if you’ve ever tried to photograph an opal or diamond (or most
for that matter), you’ll quickly realize that the camera
simply can’t capture on film (or digitally) the incredibly complex
look that our eyes see when we view them. Once you learn the
interrelationships between the basic functions of any camera (focal
length, shutter speed, aperture, optics, etc.), and the
characteristics of the film you shoot (color balance, ISO, grain
structure, etc.), there is little else, other than lighting, that
you can control, except in the darkroom. That’s where Photoshop can
help.

Photoshop is a “darkroom in a computer.” My experience (not
necessarily others’) has taught me that once I’ve used every focal
length, exposure, lighting (etc., you get the point), possibility,
the rest can only be accomplished in the darkroom (and since I went
digital, I wish my old darkroom equipment could find a home). To
make good photos of first learn as much as you can about
macro photography. Then, go to the bookstore and spend the 50
dollars or so on a good Photoshop tutorial. Better yet, google GIMP
(GNU Image Manipulation Program), download their software which is
very similar to Photoshop, and go through their free online
tutorial. GIMP’s engine and interface are so similar to Photoshops’
that I’m surprised there isn’t a lawsuit pending. It will take a
good deal of time to learn the possibilities of each and every tool
available, but if you really want to be a good photographer,
darkroom skills are as necessary (perhaps even more so) as your
camera skills.

One caution. When manipulating jewelry photos, it can be tempting to
make it look better in the photo than it does in life. There are
people on eBay who are very good at it, and they are the reason that
many don’t trust eBay for gems and jewelry. Just keep it real and
you’ll never have to give a refund.

James in SoFl


#7
    look that our eyes see when we view them. Once you learn the
interrelationships between the basic functions of any camera
(focal length, shutter speed, aperture, optics, etc.), and the
characteristics of the film you shoot (color balance, ISO, grain
structure, etc.), there is little else, other than lighting, that
you can control, except in the darkroom. That's where Photoshop
can help. 

I agree, it’s not that complicated.

You do have more control with a 35 mm camera than with digital. At
least with the level of digital camera I have. Maybe things are
different with the professional digital cameras.

We finally went digital, but we’ll still use actual slide film for
some applications.

One thing I’ve noticed – people say digital is so fast, so easy,
and then spend 30 minutes on the computer “fixing” a picture. Why
not just do it right in the first place? With real film, or
whatever. Take more time in the shooting and you won’t have to spend
so much in clean up time on the computer.

Ah, the ironies of technology.

ElaineElaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#8

Hello Dikran

Until you do find a course in jewellery photography take a look at
the Orchid Tips from the Jewelers Bench

as there are articles there on that very subject. You can also
purchase the book “Small Scale Photography” that our member Charles
Lewton-Brain wrote on jewellery photography. It is very reasonable
in price and will help you remember what he teaches in his classes
and I found his classes’ to be info overload. Notes help but if he
has already put it into a book why not take advantage.

Happy Learning
Karen Bahr “the Rocklady” (@Rocklady)
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always sparkle.


#9

James of SoFl

If you never took a class of photography, read this simple line…“
use the rule of thirds!”

That is, never place your item or person in the dead center of the
frame…always divide up your picture into three’s (3’s) and place
your “item-ring-person” in the left or right third of the frame.
what you will get is one heck of a great picture, I use this method
at all times using people…yes, its a bit difficult for close-ups,
but for “long shots”, it works fantastic! remember the three "E’s"
experiment=experiment=experiment… gerry!


#10
    One thing I've noticed -- people say digital is so fast, so
easy, and then spend 30 minutes on the computer "fixing" a picture.
 Why not just do it right in the first place?  With real film, or
whatever. Take more time in the shooting and you won't have to
spend so much in clean up time on the computer. 

Maybe. Then again, I’ve spent similar amounts of time printing in
the darkroom, trying to make the print as perfect as possible.
Besides, I wasn’t addressing digital camera photography only. My
original post stated that photographers and editors used to airbrush
photos to great effect. Now, digital manipulation is faster, far
more accessible than darkroom equipment that needs special
conditions, and uses no chemicals, only a digitized image, either
from a camera or scanner.

I believe people nowadays take a lot of time “fixing” their pictures
simply because they can. After all, they can do it now on computer,
without smelly chemicals or a room with a light trap. The days of
relying on the photo lab technician to get it right are over for
most of us.

James in SoFl


#11
    That is, never place your item or person in the dead center of
the frame...always  divide up your picture into three's (3's) and
place your "item-ring-person" in the left or right third of the
frame. what you will get is one heck of a great picture, I use this
m 

Agreed, Gerry, that is a basic photographic composition rule. If
you’re clever enough, you can also center the subject in the frame
with one-third backgound/foreground, or left/right. It doesn’t
always work, but your “three 'E’s” most definitely are the one “rule
that isn’t a rule at all.”

A more hard-and-fast rule of composition is to try and compose all
of the elements so that they guide the eye to the main subject,
whether that subject is centered, or elsewhere in the frame. That’s
where artistic flair can make a big difference.

You could say that people also utilize their computers for digital
manipulation in that same vein…experimentation.

James in SoFl


#12
    I believe people nowadays take a lot of time "fixing" their
pictures simply because they can. After all, they can do it now on
computer, without smelly chemicals or a room with a light trap. The
days of relying on the photo lab technician to get it right are
over for most of us. 

Or, if you’re like me and don’t know how to use Photoshop, and don’t
have much experience taking macro pictures, a digital camera allows
you to see the image, modify lighting, background, etc, and keep
trying until you have a shot you can live with - without the expense
of having many rolls of film developed.

Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2