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Photographing highly reflective jewelry


#1

I make highly reflective, 3 dimensional jewelry, using Argentium. We
have tried different photographers, and so far we’ve taken the best
photographs, but we aren’t completely happy with them. We are coming
into jury season, and we need a good set of photographs. Are there
any recommendations? Thanks.

Anne


#2

Anne- Tim and I use a white cloth photo box that has a zipper on the
front that closes down around the lens so that you don’t see the
reflection of the camera or any other background stuff.

When we have a very important piece we go to Daniel Van Rossen here
in Portland Or… He’s the dude. He does the covers and many of the
photos for MJSA among others, fancy catalogues etc. Jewelry is his
specialty. That what he does and he does it so very well.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#3

Larry Sanders in Milwaukee is really good at that kind of work, if
you haven’t tried him I would suggest it. He is a bit pricey though.

Karen Seymour-Ells


#4

Hi Anne, I built a highly reflective 18k egg some years ago. The
professional photographer had trouble getting a good picture.
Finally, he put in in his freezer for a while. He took it out, it
fogged over in the warmer air, and he got a perfect picture. Might
be worth trying.

Have fun.
Tom Arnold


#5
Tim and I use a white cloth photo box that has a zipper on
the front that closes down around the lens so that you don't see
the reflection of the camera or any other background stuff. 

Jo, What do you use for lighting?

Mark


#6

I’d use a photocube with white background. Light it up and leave the
shutter open a little longer instead of using the flash, you’ll need
a tripod. Florescent lights leave a yellowish color, don’t use those.
If you have a light table, light it from below also, if not use a
white bottom. Silver will pick up everything.

My2c
Val


#7

You want the technical answer? Heck if I know.

We use the lights that came with the photo box. Val is right about
the fluorescence light giving off a yellow color.

There are some great photo set ups available through most jewelry
supply houses. Be sure to shop around as the prices can vary widely.

Jo Haemer


#8

some photos tents come with an additional front cover with a slit
which lest you still have lights from the front…but it also helps
to move your lights back further from the tents to diffuse the light
even more. You may need additional ambient light though to make up
for it.

regarding lights…I have what are supposed to be the special
’photo lights’ that came with the set up…spiral lights simlar to
the energy saving bulbs which are common now…but I find those too
have a slight yellow tinge…I sometimes add in an extra 23-26
watt energy saving daylight bulb in a reflector to swing it more
toward the blue range. You can also use a camera that lets you set
your white balance. Mine, a lumix fz100, lets you set it with a
button, but I think you can additionally skew it toward
red/green/blue etc…so you could skew it toward the blue if you know
your lighting still produces a yellow tinge on silver even after one
touch wb.

If touching up hotspots, you can use a slight blur on selected areas
to hide hard lamp reflections…and you can sometimes reduce the
contrast or even use the patch tool to blend in color from
surrounding areas around the hot spot.

Jeanne


#9

I have an image of my 2-foot photo cube here:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/195 along with the bulbs I use.

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com


#10

Is it possible to matte the finish just a bit for photography and
bring it to a polish later? It would photograph easier and may not
look all that different once captured.


#11

You can buy Ott light bulbs (the curly CFL kind) for about five
bucks at Lowes. They have a spectrum that is pretty much like
daylight. I have used them for gem photography with good results.

John in Indiana


#12

Table Top Studio has excellent pre-packaged kits for product
photography. At least three of the kits are designed specifically to
shoot faceted gemstones and diamonds, reflective metal surfaces and
watches.

The kits are based around a fabric tent (to eliminate hot spots are
reflections) and daylight temperature bulbs for the least possible
color distortion.

They also have lighted bases, mirrored bases, a range of
backgrounds, props for hanging pieces (for that “floating” look),
turntables - in short, everything you might need to show your jewelry
show off to its best advantage - except for the camera.

Buy a kit even if you don’t need some of the minor accessories in
it, as the kit prices save you about 50% off the prices of individual
components such as lights or backgrounds.

Even if you don’t buy from these guys, spend 30 minutes looking
around the site. There are pages and pages of good and
video demos on photographing metals, glass and

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/19e

Elizabeth Johnson


#13

You may put a dull or matte finsih on metal to lessen reflection but
then the photo is not the same item you have later when polished to a
shine. To be honest to the object photographed, try to control
reflection with first diffused light and creative angles of the photo
or object, disguise reflections by controlling what is reflected and
how strongly by placing objects such as a virtical tube (or two) of
white paper in the area of the subject, viewing in the viewfinder and
moving the subject, lights and paper objects to find the best
combination. The paper tubes or shapes can provide an unidentified
and uniform reflection which works find in a photo and helps avoid
the killer “black” sections of reflection on shiny metal.

Jewelry photography is not easy. A flat bed scanner will work
surprisingly well with flat objects but most require the light tent
or other diffuser.

For smallish things I have used a dull white plastic tea pitcher
with a hole in the bottom for the lens to view through, sanded
plastic to increase diffusion and lights placed outside the pitcher.
That is rock bottom do-it yourself.

Remember also, if used creatively, a bit of reflection will add spif
to a straight forward technical shot. If stones are involved and you
have the software to do it, photograph the item in good point source
light to get the stones, while keeping the camera in the same
position for the diffused lit shots, then with graphics software cut
the stones and layer on the diffusedlit photo.

Best Wishes with the photos. Tom


#14

I use the 50 watts cool white fluorescent bulbs, for lighting. It’s
pure white, no color tinting obvious so it is ideal for me. It’s the
camera that I have to adjust for lighting so that I don’t get the
blue or yellow tint. I get my bulbs from Lowes - standard
fluorescent bulbs.

I also have multiple light boxes to use according to what my jewelry
looks best - white, gray and black. Investing in a good digital
camera is a must and a tripod.

Joy
www.joyraskin.com


#15

I have recently been working on shooting some metallic sculptures
done in copper with patina and enamel…The copper isn’t so hard,
but the enamel is very reflective to the point that the edges where
my photo tent sides meet are reflected in the finish. What I find
works best in this case is to get a piece of white foam core and
angle it from the bottom back of the tent and forward to the front of
the tent so that any reflections will be neutral without any
lines/details from the tent. You can also bounce the light off the
board and onto the reflective surface…which reduces the hotspots.
Any leftover hotspots/reflections can be fixed in photoshop.

Jeanne


#16
I use the 50 watts cool white fluorescent bulbs, for lighting.
It's pure white, no color tinting obvious so it is ideal for me.
It's the camera that I have to adjust for lighting so that I don't
get the blue or yellow tint. I get my bulbs from Lowes - standard
fluorescent bulbs. 

Good suggestions. But I found something much better than a tripod.
The Bogen “Magic Arm” is a table clamp, and an articulated arm like
elbow and wrist, and controlled by one easy lever. Release, adjust
position to your hearts content and lock back down. It will extend
over a table to take vertical sots or any angle. IMO-An
indispensable tool.


#17
The Bogen "Magic Arm" is a table clamp, and an articulated arm
like elbow and wrist, and controlled by one easy lever. Release,
adjust position to your hearts content and lock back down. It will
extend over a table to take vertical sots or any angle. IMO-An
indispensable tool. 

I agree, it is a brilliant piece of kit. Hubby and I belong to a
photography forum and last year a number of folks donated money and
equipment to help out a quadriplegic forum member. Hubby used the
donated equipment to make his electric wheelchair into a mobile
photographic platform. One “magic arm” was used to mount his brand
new (and also kindly donated) Nikon D300 to the chassis of his
chariot, and another one which mounted a large LCD screen onto the
other side, which showed the image to be taken and then the shot -
basically a much larger version of the screen on the back of the
camera, as that was too difficult for him to see, especially if the
camera was placed in a radical position by his assistant/carer, to
get an unusual shot (which was made possible by the “magic arm”).
There were other bits of kit which Darren had to fabricate, such as
a platform with various knobs and switches that enabled him to
control his camera with the tiny bit of movement he has in one arm.

The point of this is that the Bogen (now Manfrotto in the UK) “magic
arm” is such a great and solid product, that it holds cameras,
lighting, flash equipment, etc really steady, even when mounted to
an all terrain electric wheelchair. So in the home or studio, it
ain’t going anywhere - it’s rock solid.

Helen
UK


#18

Among the Ganoskin books available is one about jewelry photography.
In it is described a fairly simple way to make your own light
box/tent. It seems to me that those commercial units are terribly
expensive for what you get.

John in Indiana


#19

When I was in school and had access to all sorts of photo toys.

SLR body (film days), an extension bellows, and a telephoto lense.
Close ups from 8 ’ away, no black circle of lense reflection or it
was too small to see. Of course a tent, 3+ lights, tripod and
whatever else my twisted mind could fancy. A damned expensive set up
but it worked wonders.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#20

Hi - I’ve been struggling with this one myself for some time -
finally paid a wonderful local photographer who teaches macro to come
to my studio and check my set-up for an hour or two. I have the
tripod, light cube, Adobe Lightroom for editting, used DSLR camera,
matching lights (mixing light spectrums confuses the light meter on
the camera), don’t photograph during the day (see previous) - but
everything was coming out with a slight greenish cast. My instructor
walked into my studio and immediately pointed out the walls. Green
walls. Oh. No kidding silver reflects everything - even in a light
cube! Of course, using the slit in the front panel would have
answered the issue, as well as minimizing the black camera
reflection, but it was too fiddly for me. He found a few more issues
to correct, resulting in better photographs and less frustration for
me - money (and time) well spent - now I can get on with it. You
might consider having a professional come to your studio and doing a
quick run through of your set-up - just be sure they do macro.

Blessings,
Sam Kaffine
Sterling Bliss, LLC