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Photographing soldering operations

Do I need any special kind of filter to be able to take pictures of
examples of different soldering operations? I use acetylene & air.
Sterling silver only. I have a Nikon Coolpix 5600 digital camera.


You don’t have to use any kind of special filter to photograph
soldering operations. I have used my Nikon digital camera to take
digital photos of sterling and stone pieces for a Step-by-Step
project (Nov. 2006) for Lapidary Journal. I also use an acetylene
torch and I primarily work with silver.

Here are the tips that I can offer. Always use a tripod. I also use
my 10-second self-timer, since there is no other way for me to take
photos of myself soldering. This will also help to eliminate any
blurring due to camera shake. I get the “shot” all set-up and framed
in the viewfinder. After some practice, you should be able to start
the timer, light your torch and get a “flame” near your piece before
the ten second timer goes off. I find that a “reducing” flame shows
up better in the photos. But that will depend on your background too.
Sometimes I solder on a charcoal block and sometimes I use a ceramic
honeycomb block. I think the flame is easier to see with a darker
background. Again, experiment. It’s digital, so you are not wasting

I also recommend buying the AC adapter for your camera so you don’t
have to use batteries. I find that the batteries run out quickly and
it takes some time for the camera to “recharge” between
shots.(Especially true if you are shooting in macro mode). I find
that having a constant power source makes the photography go faster.
It is much more efficient and less frustrating, unless of course you
have a huge supply of batteries and don’t mind taking the camera off
the tripod so you can put in new batteries every time your batteries
run low. You might want to try taking some photos with the camera’s
flash on and with it off and see how it comes out. The wall covering
behind my soldering work area is stainless steel, so if I use the
flash I get undesirable reflections and hot spots.

Make sure you have enough light in your work area. I have several
portable “daylight” lights (6000K) that I use, so I set the “lighting
source” in my camera to “daylight”. (And all the overhead lights in
my studio are daylight bulbs too, so…) You will have to experiment
with that.

And finally, take notes! Write down what you did. When I first
started I wrote down all my settings and what I did for each shot. It
takes a little bit of time, but you will eventually find the camera
settings that produce the best results. If you have notes you won’t
have to guess (or try to remember) what you did. Now when I need to
take photos for instructional purposes, I just look at my notes
(which fit on one small index card), and in minutes I can get the
camera set-up and ready to go.

I hope this will be helpful.

Priscilla Walsen
SilverWear Jewelry
Morrison, Colorado

I couldn’t find the original post for this question but, If you are
considering submissions to Art Jewelry magazine, here are some tips:

  • Use a 3.3 mega pixel (or better) camera

  • Keep the focus sharp! We can correct for anything else but not

  • Always use a neutral background and remove distracting tools from
    the image

  • Images need to be 300 dpi resolution in a 3 x 5 in. (76 x127mm)
    image size

  • Do not zoom-in or crop the image to close

  • Shoot an extra image of the same action from a different angle

  • Images must be the largest file size possible for jpeg or tiff
    (RAW files even better)

  • Do not manipulate or color correct the images in any way

Don’t worry if your torch flame does not show up on your image, our
production team has developed realistic flame files that can be
photoshopped into an image. Now, you can upload your images to our

Good luck!

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228