Photographing stock?

Hi folks

Not really a serious problem , more of an irritation…, our
companies stock stock control program allows for easy attachement of
photographs of the pieces being put into stock , which also makes it
possible to print the valuation of the pice being sold with a picture
of it…

Now the problem… we bought commercial lightboxes and digital
cameras to photograph the pieces in an easy way, so that any of the
admin staff could easily place a pice in the box… click and bang you
got the pic on the pc, rename it to the stock code and bobs your
uncle. Excepting that the pics come out yellow with the light on…
too dark with the light off, if we replace the halogen lamp with a
fluorescent one everything hues blue… the best pics we have taken so
far have actually been done in natural sunlight with a low end cheap
creative webcam. The webcam however has no depth of field, so you
focus on the stones on the top and lose all the side details of the
ring etc.

Does anyone have a homemade lightbox and or method of rapidly taking
many photographs of jewellery with the pieces not looking jaundiced
or frozen blue…

The pics do not ned to be advertising quality but when they get
printed one would hope to at least in a year or two when they get
stolen** , we can look at the valuation images and remake the pieces
with a fairly good enough idea of what the ring looked like.

Any help in this regard will be much appreciated.

** im in Africa, what can I say??-

    Excepting that the pics come out yellow  with the light on.. 

Your camera’s color balance is set to “daylight.” For tungsten
lighting, setting the balance to “tungsten” will get rid of the
yellow cast.

    too dark with the light off, if we replace the halogen lamp
with a fluorescent one everything hues blue.. 

Or, use the fluorescent lighting while setting the camera’s color
balance to “fluorescent.” That will lose the blue cast.

    the best pics we have taken so far have actually been done in
natural sunlight... 

Which is because your camera’s color balance is set to “daylight.”
You could also set the balance to “auto” which should take care of
the problem in practically any light. You’ll find the settings in
your camera’s menu functions. Just check in your owner’s manual
under “color balance” or “white balance.”

James in SoFl


I made a home made lightbox out of milky white acrylic. I use 5
swing arm lamps and a lamp under the box, all with daylight
flourescent bulbs. The color is white and the angle of lighting is
easily adjustable. I can send you a picture off Orchid if you like.


Hi Christopher,

It sounds like you need to adjust the settings on your camera. The
white balance.

Do you have manual settings on your camera? I went through hundreds
of shots trying out different manual settings to get the best
one…now I can take a few shots and pick the best one. I don’t know
if it is possible to just take one shot and ‘bang you got the pic’.
At least, I have never been able to do that!

I have a cheap little camera that isn’t the best for this kind of
photography, but it’s ok. It has manual settings, with several
different white balance settings, and one where you can set the
white balance youself. I found that with my set up -a home made
light box and 2 100 watt “sunshine in a box” Verilux bulbs- the best
setting for me to use is the Tungsten setting. All the other
settings left me with results like what you have been getting.

It may be a different white balance setting on your cameras that
gives you the best result. You may have to put in a little
experimentation time with your set up to find what you need. But the
straight “auto” function won’t give good results when it comes to
shooting jewelry.

Good luck and have fun!


Christopher, one way for you to overcome this problem is to invest
an Ott lamp. It reproduces a daylight spectrum of light thereby
eliminating the coloration problem you’re experiencing. The light is
not overly bright, but it is effective. If Ott lamps are not
available in Africa, you might be able to try a full spectrum light
bulb, such as GE Reveal bulbs. That might work better, as well.

A question about your camera. In the settings area, is there a place
for you to adjust the white balance, or fluorescent, or incandescent
lighting, etc? If so, make sure the setting matches the type of
lighting the camera is using.

Lastly, there is an extensive thread here on Orchid that discusses
photography, lighting and positioning issues. You may wish to do a
search and see what comes up.

Good luck!


Use the white balance function in your camera to deal with varied
indoor lighting. It can help a great deal.

Daniel Ballard


I have found that taking photos outside on overcast days works well

  • and it is equipment free -the sky acts as a huge white box with
    very little direction to the shadows and few ‘hotspots’ of white
    brightness allowing for good subtle textures on metal. I don’t
    know how viable this would be for you but it works surprisingly well
    for me… I live in a frequently rainy city with many cloudy days.

good luck