Those of you interested in the recent threads on photographing
jewelry might want to take a look at:

The focus (pun intended) is on using digital cameras.

Joel Kahn <@Joel_Kahn>
Comptroller for Maxon’s Jewelers
Diamond Merchants & Estate Jewelers
2622 S Glenstone, Springfield Missouri 65804 USA
Voice: 417-887-1800 or 417-887-1809
Fax: 417-887-3422

To learn how to take pictures of jewelry, read Charles’s article
on the website, and/or purchase his book and video set. Based on
his article and the system we used where I used to work, I have
an excellent, easy to use system to gives consistant results.

You need three lights – two on the side one on top. You need a
camera and tripod. You need a box. That’s it. See the article
for more details. My photo box is made out of foam core, pinned
together. It has a back, two sides, and a bottom. Then a square
board goes into the back, and another piece of foam core is added
as a “ramp.” Backdrop and jewelry go on this. Top is tracing
paper pinned on as a diffuser.

Works great. I use either the telephoto lens on macro or lens
doubler filters. Neither is ideal, but the lens filters work
surprisingly well. (A real macro lens is on the list for

I use the lights and film as directed by Charles: 64 speed
film; 250 watts on each side, 500 on top. All my light holders
and stands were purchased second hand for a total cost of under

The only trouble is in the initial set up – finding where to
buy the bulbs, collecting all of your light stands, setting up
the box. Once that’s done, you back your system away in the
basement, and bring it out when it’s needed. Sets up in 15


This question is directed to Orchid members who are photographing
their work with the Nikon CP 950.

While the Nikon 950 has a multitude of features and excellent macro
capability, I have not found a way to take a photo without manually
depressing the shutter button. This action defeats the sturdy tripod
and produces a bit of motion. The controls are set up in such a way
that the macro mode and the self timer are controlled by the same
button. You can shoot macro or self timed, but not both. Amazingly
(for Nikon) there appears to be no provision for a sutter release
cable. My conversation with the tech support folks at Nikon can be
summed up as, “Duh”.

I would be interested in how others have dealt with this problem and
if there is a work around which eliminates the motion of hand
depressing the button. Maybe I’m missing something very obvious (as
usual). Thanks.

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona


I do not have a 950 but if it has a time release button try using
that to trigger the shutter.

George Hebner

John, I checked my camera to see what it is and it is a cool pix 950
Nikon. On it you can macro and have a delayed picture timer. This
means I never shake the camera! If your camera is exactly the same
let me know and I’ll let you know how we do it.

Mary Ann

John - With the Nikon 950 you can set it to select the “best shot”.
It will take up to 10 pictures in succession and select the clearest
to save to disk. I have taken several pictures of my work with this
camera (not using “best shot”) and haven’t noticed a problem with
camera movement. The pictures actually seem to be clearer with more
detail than when I shoot slides with my Nikkormat and use a film
scanner to digitize them. You can see a few of the 950 pictures at:

Click on the small images for larger detailed versions.

You might also try isolating your finger/hand from the camera button.
A small disk of foam or neoprene on the end of a pencil might have a
lighter touch. Perhaps Nikon will eventually release a firmware
upgrade that will correct this problem.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA


When the Nikon CP 950 first came out, there was a post at Steve’s
Digicams which showed a home made
shutter release for the camera. I can’t remember the details, but
basically it was a device that clamped to the body of the camera with
a plunger type release mounted over the button that releases the
“shutter”. You might be able to chase it down in the archives there.

A simpler, and perhaps equally effective way to reduce or eliminate
movement is to press down on the camera with one hand while pushing
the button to take the shot. What this does is to put the camera and
the tripod under compression so that everything stiffens up.

A third factor will be the amount of light available to the camera
when taking the image. The more light, the faster the speed and
consequently the less effect of movement.

Ricco Gallery
125 W German St/PO Box 883
Shepherdstown WV 25443

Question, Steven- how did you get the rings to stand up?

Janet Kofoed

Mary Ann, I have just purchased a cool pix 950 Nikon, and was reading
your note on delayed picture timer. Please let me in on your secret
on how you do it. Thanks JIll

Andrew and Jill Morrison
2197 N. Allen Avenue
Altadena, California 91001

Janet - I use a small ball of putty. You can find it at the hardware
store. I think it is used to hang light weight posters, drawings,
etc. on the wall. Sometimes it shows a bit and I retouch the photo to
get rid of it. Steve.

Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

how did you get the rings to stand up?

I’m not steve but have had good results from both ticky-tac and
better from super gluing a small tie tac (the one with a pad) to the
shank and putting foam core behind the paper I photo.

Hi, there’s a gadget called a cable release that attached to your
camera by way of a wire. There’s a button on the end of it that
allows you to release the shutter of your camera without having to touch the camera. -Quik

To make rings stand up you can use beeswax. Often you can use much
less than putty; then it is easier to hide. Bill Navran

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to overide the automatic
aperature and shutterspeed settings on the Nikon CP 950 in order to
manually control the depth of field and exposure time. Thankyou, Bill

Try hot glue. I once set up an exhibit of jewelry and made bases
using small squares of tempered masonite, painted black. I drilled
holes in the masonite squares, using a 7/64 ths inch diameter bit,
and set various lengths of 1/8 inch diameter brass rod into the holes
(press fitted and hot glued). I found that a small dab of hot glue
on the end of a rod was enough to hold a ring standing up on it’s
shank, and it pulled off cleanly.

David L. Huffman

Bill - You can give preference to the lens aperture, shutter speed or
program by turning the camera on to the “M rec” position then pushing
the mode button and rotating the adjustment wheel on the front of the
camera just under the shutter release button. Your selection will
appear on the screen or window as the letter “A”, “S” or “P”. Once
set to “A” you can set the aperture by turning the adjustment wheel.
The higher the number, the smaller the lens opening and thus a
greater depth of field.


Steven Brixner - Jewelry Designer - San Diego CA USA

Or you could use prop wax (to make rings, etc. stand up for
pictures), it is sold at professional type photography stores and is
very very sticky.


White rip stop fabric makes an excellent tent/dome for photography.
My lens is a 105mm so I require a bigger tent than the Tupperware
or Cloud Dome affords. It’s quite easy to use the rip stop fabric.
In the center of a 5"x5" piece of white foam core board cut a hole
that the lens can just fit through, so it fits snugly, place this in
the center of the fabric and cut a matching hole through the fabric.
The cardboard holds the fabric away from the lens, just drape the
hanging sides over your shooting set up. The fabric filters the
lights nicely. Here is the URL of one of my shots using this set