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Author Topic: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery  (Read 2427 times)

omar

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Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« on: May 03, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »
I've got a Canon 1100D. I've invested in buying a Canon 100mm IS macro lens

The pictures I've taken are pretty good - but I know they need working on

Can someone give advice on the settings I need to us

So far, I've just put a macro setting and taken pics using daylight - put near the window

- Should I put on manual setting and not macro?
- I have 6 daylight lamps (40w) - are these better than a lightbox?
- I have the use of a professional lightbox - but I've struggled to take pictures with this
- Even though it's the IS model - should I use a tripod?

- I take 10 shots. 3 of these will come out slightly darker than the others - why is this?

Anything else I should be doing?

Thanks


Omar

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Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« on: May 03, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »

Plato the Wise

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 11:36:34 AM »
Use a light tent that is brightly lit.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/331829-REG/Interfit_INT297_Light_Pod_Medium_Cocoon.html

It will keep unwanted reflections to a minimum and give you soft, wrap around lighting.

If you show some photos, it would probably be easier for people to comment.

privatebydesign

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 11:45:54 AM »
Don't get a light tent, they are very bad jewelry shooting accessories. Jewelry often needs strong directional light, just look in any jewelers shop, a light tent is as far removed from strong directional light as you can get.

Get this book http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Magic-Introduction-Photographic/dp/0240812255/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367595880&sr=1-1&keywords=light+science+and+magic

And do a search in youtube, there are tons of good jewelry photography tutorials, just steer clear of anything that says use a light tent for best results.
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omar

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 11:57:47 AM »
i've got something like this available to me:



is that any good?
i've not had luck with it. pictures come out dark - despite being looads of light

pictures i took yesterday with a canon 1100D and 100mm macro IS lens:


(original can be downloaded here: http://i.imgur.com/ea4DLle.jpg)


(original can be seen here: http://i.imgur.com/5zc8R69.jpg)

questions:

- how do i get the whole ring in focus? the depth of field effect is good for some shots - but how do i get the whole ring focused? (is the answer to manually focus?)

- what's up with the blue!? where is the blue colour coming from

EDIT: those pics were not taken in the lightbox
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 12:04:03 PM by omar »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 12:16:07 PM »
The blue means you need to set your white balance properly (assuming the background is white).

You may not be able to get enough DoF with a close-up subject, even if you stop way down (and lose sharpness to diffraction at those narrow apertures).

Many people assume a macro lens is best for products, not necessarily. The TS-E 90mm f/2.8 is arguably the best product lens - tilt allows you to adjust the focal plane to give an apparent deep DoF at more moderate apertures.

To get the whole ring in focus with a macro lens, you need to look into focus stacking (software like Helicon Focus or Zerene Stacker).

The strong, directional light that PBD mentions would help the shot a lot - diamonds should sparkle!
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privatebydesign

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 12:18:29 PM »
Neuro beat me to it. Everything he said.

Here is one of your images with the WB corrected.
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tntwit

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 12:28:24 PM »
I'm NOT a professional, but let me say this much.

I would use a tripod for sure.  Typically this means turning off the IS as it can I believe actually cause issues on a tripod, but either way you won't need it.

Use the camera's timer to fire the trigger unless you have a remote trigger.

Not sure about the 1100D, but on some cameras you can minimize or select a timer of 2 secs instead of the standard 10 that might become tiresome.

The blue cast I believe is a white balance issue.  Others will likely advise better as I'm not that well versed here, but your owners manual will explain how to set it manually on your camera.  Again, not sure about the 1100D, but you can typically save these white balance settings as custom settings so you don't have to redo it in the future.  I am guessing that what the ring is sitting on is white.

I would advise manual focus.  I believe (and others will hopefully agree/disagree) that what you want is to focus at the front of the object, so in your examples it would be the diamond.  You would then manually set the aperture to something small like f11, but you'll need to experiment.  The small aperture (bigger number) will give more depth of field.  I would try to keep your ISO low, an with a tripod this should not be an issue as you can use long shutter speeds.

One thing to keep in mind, the light is not likely changing (particularly if you use artificial light), so once you find the right combination of shutter speed, ISO and aperture, it should be good for everything for that shoot.

One more thing.  Again, don't know about the 1100D, but on the T3i I use live view for these sort of things and it will let you magnify the image 10X to confirm focus prior to shooting.  I find this much easier on static objects.
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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 12:28:24 PM »

tntwit

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 12:34:22 PM »
I am guessing that the reason some images were darker than others is because you are using macro which sounds like an auto setting.  The camera is likely reading the light different and changing exposure accordingly.  You can confirm by looking at the data in the images.  This is why I think manual settings are better for such things.
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Kristofgss

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 12:45:43 PM »
One of the things I used to do when taking pictures like this was focus stacking. use a tripod and shift the focus bit by bit That seemed to result in prettier images than decreasing the aperture all the way down did.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_stacking

SteenerMe

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 12:58:09 PM »
First learn exposure triangle.
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 12:59:45 PM »
Focus stacking is the way to go but when shifting focus using the focus ring it can cause the image size to shift slightly with some lenses.  It's better to just move the camera forward or back to shift the focus plane.

There are macro rails available that are graduated in mm and have a slow adjustment knob so you can precisely control the focus you are going to stack.  It is the preferred way to photograph jewelry vs. stopping the lens down to the point of diffraction.

One of the things I used to do when taking pictures like this was focus stacking. use a tripod and shift the focus bit by bit That seemed to result in prettier images than decreasing the aperture all the way down did.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focus_stacking

dafrank

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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 03:00:36 PM »
Yikes; you've got a lot of questions and, obviously, very little knowledge about lighting and image making.

There is no "magic bullet" available to transform you into someone who can take excellent jewelry pictures, unless and until you take a lot of time, and invest some more money, in order to gain the experience and make the mistakes necessary to learn the craft of photography. Your gear is minimally adequate already. It's you that need s to learn. The suggestion to buy a book on lighting is excellent. Also, you may want to attend a workshop or take a class if either is available to you. In the alternative, there are a few concepts to understand which may help you to develop a better skill set through practice.

It is always helpful, when shooting any shiny reflective object - and jewelry is certainly one of these - to understand that such objects are exactly like mirrors; they reflect whatever is in their environment, according to a well understood principle of optical physics, the "law of reflection," that when a light ray strikes a reflective (flat) surface, then the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. Think of a perfectly constructed pool table: when you strike a billiard ball with your cue stick, rolling it towards a rail on the table, then, at whichever angle off the perpendicular that the ball travels to the rail, after striking the rail, it will bounce and then roll onwards at exactly that same angle, but in the inverse direction from the perpendicular. Hard to describe in words, but you get the picture. Similarly, your camera lens, at whatever angle it lies to the "flat" surface portion of your jewelry that you are trying to light, is literally viewing a "picture" of whatever lighting device, reflector or any other surface area, is reflected in that "flat" surface portion of the jewelry from the equal but inverse angle of the lens to jewelry surface angle. Since almost no jewelry is truly flat, and most reflect light from either a full 180 degrees of view or close to it,  you must take into consideration a very wide range of area to control the lighting.

Small, directional and "contrasty" lighting sources created with open face, spot and "pin" spot type fixtures, coming from several different directions, sometimes works best on multifaceted stones, where many small "hard" highlights better define their surface texture and dimensionality. Diffuse lighting spread out onto a very large surfaces placed relatively close to the jewelry produces larger "soft" highlights which best define flatter surfaces, such as watch faces and metal bands. Carefully combining both techniques when necessary yields a very good look, but great care must be taken to separate the different lighting schemes' effects in order to maximize the quality.

Care must be taken to control color, not only matching the proper white point for the light sources, but also the color of any reflecting or light diffusing surfaces, whether intended or accidental. One can also use "improper" color sometimes, as in reflecting gold surfaces onto gold jewelry show the jewelry color more effectively without also adversely affecting the background.

Last tilt-shifting lenses can be used to better control focus, to either appear to increase or decrease effective focus depth, and the somewhat onerous technique of focus stacking can be used as well. But, keep in mind that a narrow focus, limited depth-of-field look, when the focus itself is placed strategically, can sometimes be just as, or even more, effective than having everything all in focus all the time.

Regards,
David
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 03:04:57 PM by dafrank »
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omar

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 08:24:03 PM »
thanks for the awesome replies guys
@dafrank, a special thanks for taking the time to reply

i'm following up and reading many of the things mentioned

1100d: ok, i know it's the lowest of the lowest
my next one will be a 60D

i'll update with the results i get!

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 08:24:03 PM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 08:32:17 PM »
For greater depth of field you would be better off with a G15. Full function P&S's are too often overlooked for this kind of use and they offer several advantages over dslr's.
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omar

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 08:36:02 PM »
For greater depth of field you would be better off with a G15. Full function P&S's are too often overlooked for this kind of use and they offer several advantages over dslr's.
G15? P&S's? what are they?
I need a DSLR - my other requirement is filming
thanks

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Re: Need advice taking pictures of jewellery
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 08:36:02 PM »