Web photos

Michael - I was not familiar with your work, so thank you VERY much
for posting the links!! Coming from a fiber background myself I
really apprectiate the work - just gorgeous!!

Which leads to the digital web photo question - some sites with
jewelry photos have lovely clear photos of lovely work. Some (and
the first link to Michael’s work is one) have terribly blurry photos
of lovely work. Is there anyone who is digitally knowledgeable
enough to explain why, and what one should do to be sure one’s work
on the web falls in the first category and not the second? I’m sure
no one knowingly and willingly puts blurry photos up, so obviously
there are lots of folks who are not doing something correctly here!

Beth in SC

There are some really useful hints for preparing good photos on

Pat Waddington

Well, there’s no secret to focusing on the work. But you do have to
have the kind of lens that will allow close focusing, and the kind of
camera that fosuses through the lens rather than with a viewfinder.
That’s the most basic secret. Also, if people do too much JPEG
compression that will cause loss of leading to

I see a lot of jewelry and gemstone photos with bad lighting. I
remember one website with thumbnail after thumbnail of slightly
blurred images of rubies, sapphires and amethysts that were almost
black, with color only around the edges. You need to have bright,
even lighting. Sometimes you want it just even and soft, so you use a
light box. But for faceted gemstones you have to add some hard
lighting to set off the gemstone. It’s a complex subject, covered
here Lighting for Jewelry and Small Object Photography - Ganoksin Jewelry Making Community, here
http://www.mkdigitaldirect.com/, here
Society of American Silversmiths - Photo Tips for Metalsmiths, and other places, just
Google “jewelry photography”.

DMGreer, LLC

Hello Beth: There are many ways to get a picture onto a web page. I
do not have a digital camera but that is probably the easiest way
although the picture quality of many digital cameras is very much
lacking on small items like jewelry. Just using a 35mm camera and
then scanning the resulting picture is another way but without a good
camera and good lighting set up you will still find less than great
results. The way I have been doing it for the past few years is that
I video tape with my 8mm sharp veiwcam every custom design I create.
I have a device called “AI-Gotcha” which is a still image capture
thing that I have hooked up to a computer and it allows me to play my
video and grab images that I can then keep on file and post to my
web page. I know that the quality is lacking and I wish I had the
better set up but I mainly wanted to have a portfolio of items that I
have made so that I don’t forget and so I can show others. If I was
trying to sell items online I would definitely get a better set up.
Another thing to consider is the amount of web space one has and the
bandwidth allowance you get with it. I have a free site with a 3 gig
per month transfer limit. What all that means is that I post smaller
file size, less quality images that don’t use up my data transfer
limit if I get some hits to my pages. If you were to go to my web
page and load and look at each page, after about 15 pages you would
get a temporary unavailable page. So file size has allot to do with
quality also. I think the biggest problem most people face is
lighting and focus. I took a class at the American Gem Society’s 2003
Conclave on photography of gems and the guy who taught it had a bunch
of pointers about lighting. There is much data in the archives about
taking pictures of jewelry. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas
USA Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos

I’m not “Joe-Photographer” by any means, but here’s some things.
“Closeups in Nature”, by John Shaw ISBN 0-8174-4052-6 (A large
paperback, like Sunset books) is THE best overview of closeup
photography. It predates digital, but it lays it all out- beautiful
photos, too. Some links about macro photography:



That one’s a good link page to a variety of subjects. And a good
digital page - links to other areas, including macro:

However, I bought the book I mentioned years ago (Still in print -
most bookstores stock it), and it really expains depth of field,
focal length, film speed, etc., as applies to closeup work, better
than you’ll ever find. If you are wondering, pick it up and flip
through it, and the photos will tell you, “This guy knows his stuff!!”

Is there anyone who is digitally knowledgeable enough to explain why,
and what one should do to be sure one’s work on the web falls in the
first category

The digital pictures for my website were nothing special. They
weren’t blurry, just unprofessional. Lighting the pieces is the
hardest part. I bought a cloud dome delux by bidding on Ebay and got
the whole set up for a steal. A Cloud Dome, in case you do not know,
is this giant plastic dome with a mount for the digital camera
attached. You put it over the piece of jewelry and point a light
source at the dome. The dome diffuses the light beautifully over the
piece for a superb, clear picture. I think this invention works
great. I used to take hundreds of pictures, now it’s in the dozens.
My new pictures will be up when my husband finishes the site, but I
tell you the difference is night and day. Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs

Having just been through this self learning process here’s a couple
of things I learned.

White back ground did not work. For me it became this really over
exposed spot on the picture.

The semi-transparent flourescent light covers (the ones that are
used on the ceiling fixtures) that can be bought in the hardware
store do not let enough light through. I was using 2, 200W bulbs and
a 300W bulb and still couldn’t get enough light on the piece.

I tried using white poster board curved in an arc creating kind of a
half tube that I used to reflect light down on the piece. The length
of the tube was such that I got a lot of shadows as the light had to
come in from the ends and didn’t bounce down the “tube” very well.

What did work was creating a reflective light box using poster board
curved in a arc towards the camera and a white foam board top that I
reflected light down from a long with reflecting light from the
sides. I had to work around the light fixtures with the camera but
my shadow problem was much much less than the other two methods I

And finally, this is what helped confirm what I was doing. Exact
instructions on how to use the camera found on the web! :slight_smile: For
those who have an olympus C3030 or C3040 check out…


As found by a friend doing a web search on google for Photographing
Jewelry which was suggested earlier.

Note, they are using expensive lighting equipment but my lighting
seemed to work. I haven’t yet tried the closeup lenses they suggested
either as I was able to accomplish what I needed without.

I also took lots and lots of pictures viewing them on the computer
then going back and repeating until I got one I thought was good. At
least digital film is free (well relatively speaking).

Best of luck,

Hello Orchidians! Hi Beth! & Hi to Daniel too!

Beth, You received a lot of great post replies on this question you
asked a while back about Web Photo’s which had some very useful
I have enjoyed reading all the info. that you received
and going to all the links & articles! : )

Which leads to the digital web photo question - some sites with
jewelry photos have lovely clear photos of lovely work. Some have
terribly blurry photos of lovely work. Is there anyone who is
digitally knowledgeable enough to explain why, and what one should
do to be sure one’s work on the web falls in the first category and
not the second?

Additionally in another more recent post by Daniel, ( [Orchid] White
Plastic Bowl Photography), there was a question about lightening,
and white balance, etc… That post also received some great replies
with useful

I just wanted to post the link to a fairly new web based article on
photographing jewelry items with a digital, and preparing them for
either website use or to print to paper. It was written by Alexa
Smarsh an enamel jewelry artist. and in the article she outlines the
steps in her method for producing lovely images. She uses one of the
Nikon cameras and a Cloud Dome.

She also describes the exact light bulbs, and lighting set-up she
uses, backgrounds for shooting on, and the settings she uses for
white balance etc… The article include several helpful images both
in the text and at the bottom of the page. Make sure you click on
all the text based links within the articles text, to go to pictures
that show what is being outlined.

The article is in the current eNAMEL Online Newsletter, you can
access it through the Main Page:


And The Direct Article Page Link Is:


I hope that the links to this article will be an addition to all the
other useful that has been posted on these subjects.

With Best Regards To All! : )
Sharon Scalise