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04-26-2013, 12:33 AM   #61
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The real question is what do you think, are you happier now with your photography?

04-30-2013, 02:02 AM   #62
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Hey kerrowdown
Took some photos of some earrings, with my 18-135 zoom lens, using the lens hood. The first two earrings are handmade in Peru, the other two are two of my handmade earring designs. I think, on the pink crystal earrings I could have zoomed in closer, what do you think? I noticed to on some of the photos I got some lens flair, even with the lens hood. Was able to use the stamp tool to get rid of it. Think next time I will remove the UV filter, before I attach the lens hood. The 100 mm macro lens was just too close, I tried taking some of these with it. I'm wondering if I had a 60 mm macro I might be able to get the shots. Not even going to think about buying any other lenses. Just got a Manfrotto padded carry case for my new Manfrotto tripod. I'm going to see if St. Patricks will let me set up my tripod in the cathedral. They are doing a lot of renovations inside, and out. If I'm able will put camera on P set ISO to 100 the smallest, and let camera get the f-stop, shutter speed. Or, do you think I should set the f-stop, and if so what would be appropriate? On the jewelry I'm using f/13. If I can't use the tripod, will set ISO to 1600 for handheld.
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04-30-2013, 02:07 AM   #63
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For something like the inside of a cathedral, and if you are allowed the use of a tripod, you may want to think about doing HDR so you can capture the full range of shadows all the way through the lights coming through the windows. You will want to use Aperture Priority (or Manual) Mode in that case so that your DOF doesn't change with lighting conditions. (P Mode may change Aperture as necessary).
05-01-2013, 08:19 AM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
On the jewelry I'm using f/13. If I can't use the tripod, will set ISO to 1600 for handheld.
I've tried doing some jewellery photography some months, maybe years, ago. And I was terrible!
ISO 1600 can be okay, but it depends on the camera. The current Pentax lineup produces good images even at that ISO, some older cameras tend to show much more noise in the photos at that ISO.
About the F stop, you can try finding a DoF calculator online (DoF master or something?) and then take a photo with appropriate DoF. At apertures with fstop above 9, diffraction can start softening the details. This kind of depends on the sensor size and the lens. Some websites do tests and report the "optimal" aperture for a given lens, so you can try googling your gear (photozone does this, I think). Some Pentax DSLRs also have a MTF mode, where the camera tries to pick the "best" aperture. Generally, it is around two stops from wide open, but it not always.

05-01-2013, 12:38 PM   #65
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Yeah the current sensors do not suffer from the color noise like they used to, but grainy noise is still quite visible even at lower ISO. ISO 1600 can be cleaned up, but you still start to loose the nice edges and the color range suffers a bit. i.e. your bright shiny objects lose a bit of their luster in the process.
Probably still acceptable, especially if you're only posting small images for the web, but if at all possible make use of a tripod.

Optimal f-stop varies for the lens. Take some test shots and find the sweet spot where everything looks its sharpest and brightest.
Then do everything you can to get enough light so that you can use that aperture.
In general terms this is a few stops from wide open. f5.6-f8?? But lenses do vary.
If you want the best image quality, practice a bit and find the best range... this will probably lead you to the need of focus stacking.

Honestly, the image quality in most lenses probably does not degrade enough to worry about optimal aperture.
But if you're making high end prints and are planning to spend two hours in photoshop cleaning up a single image, then you might as well start with the best possible image and these things start to matter more.

I do not sell full page spreads in high end magazines, so in practice I don't really pay much attention to the f-stop with regards to image quality.
I tend to simply use what gets me the best possible DOF for the object I'm photographing and in turn less time in photoshop. :-)
05-03-2013, 02:02 AM   #66
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You mentioned about the UV filter, you were right. When I started taking photos with lens hood on zoom lens, was still getting some lens flair. This time I took of, the UV filter, no lens flair. Give me your honest opinion on the lighting, not so bad on some of the earrings but, I feel that I do need more light on some, especially my necklaces. It is easier to photograph the earrings from Peru, they stay flat in the stand. My handmade earrings, the way they are put together with jump rings attached to ear wires, they twist around. The aqua crystal earrings came out ok, but another pair I tried to photograph just would not stay front, twisted to side. I'm finding that some of the silver dangles are looking more gold than silver on some of the earrings, I think do to not enough light. As soon as I get photos from inside the cathedral, will post them good or bad. Lets hope they let me use my tripod. Going to try several different f-stops, then I might try some photos of stained glass with camera on P. Photographer on facebook suggested I use f/5.6 or f/8 with ISO 100.
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05-03-2013, 02:55 AM   #67
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QuoteQuote:
I'm finding that some of the silver dangles are looking more gold than silver on some of the earrings, I think do to not enough light.
Have you adjusted your white balance?
Basic grey cards can be found cheaply, or just use a white sheet of paper (cannot be lit to 100% white, or you're merely clipping).
Some may argue, and possibly correctly, that these two options are not perfect. Maybe, but they can often get you close enough.

Is there possibly other light affecting the reflections? Sunlight, etc hitting the light-tent?

Are you using Auto-White balance? Set to one specific setting like Daylight, or Tungsten (depending on lighting) and keep it there.
The color of the jewelry may cause the camera to adjust its white balance if left on Auto. But even specific settings have some wiggle room built into the programming.
A grey card will help get everything consistently back to center -- color-wise.
05-04-2013, 02:38 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
I took off, the UV filter, no lens flair
Great that sounds like the flare problem sorted then.

I think that amoringello has given the answer, it's now a white balance issue, follow his advice I'm sure that will fix your colour issues.

05-04-2013, 09:02 PM   #69
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I noticed on some of the photos a small amount of lens flair at top still. I think cause the lens hood they have for zoom lens is not the same as the one for the canon 100 mm macro lens. The lens hood on macro is same hight all around much longer. The zoom lens not the same all around, some areas are shorter than others, wonder if light is bouncing off the lens in those areas. Maybe I'm being picky but, I noticed a flair spot on left side top. Got my Manfrotto padded carry case for the tripod, closed up tripod to try it in the case. Man tripod is heavier than I thought, going to be a trek taking it downtown with camera bag and another bag for glasses, wallet. So if I can't manage taking it down on subway to cathedral, will use camera handheld at 1600 ISO. To be honest, I don't think they are going to let me set it up in their, but will make a good effort to take tripod with me. This is the time I wish fiance was alive to help me carry stuff, lost 4 people I love to cancer. My dad had a Nikon FE, he would have loved the new digitals. Posting one of the photos that to me looks like lens flair, also what is up with stamp tool in photoshop, you can really see where I stamped out the dental flose.
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05-04-2013, 10:15 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
Posting one of the photos that to me looks like lens flair
QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
you can really see where I stamped out the dental flose.
Well just rest assured I'm looking at your posted image on a 27 inch calibrated iMac screen and can't see any of the above.
05-05-2013, 05:06 AM   #71
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I do not see the flare. If your lights are not too far forward of the lens and they are not facing your lens, you should not be getting flair. But you can flag the lights to make sure and see if that helps. (flag; set up something to block the light from coming back at the lens)

What I do see is that the background is not quite black. If you do want absolute black for your background, you simply need to move your background further away so it doesn't get any light. (not always possibly in the real world)

A quick Levels adjustment can shift the blacks dark enough to get rid of any slight variation without adversely affecting the jewelry. If it does, just use a huge soft brush on the mask to gently paint/blend in or out the dark levels adjustment where it is needed. Again, for the most part, most people won't notice a background of RGB #2,2,2 v.s. #0,0,0. So know when to quit. :-) :-) Web images also make it much more difficult to detect small issues like this.


Here are two GREAT tricks you need to use on your images; (I use them, when applicable, on almost every image I put out for sale)
1) Make sure your blacks are black or your whites are white
- add a temporary Levels Adjustment layer, and for black background, drag the slider from the white end to almost touch the black end.
- (for white backgrounds, drag the black slider all the way towards the white end)
You'll see any uneven and non-black areas pop out.
In a perfect world, your black background won't change until that white slider hits the left/black edge.
Once you fix your background, remove the temp levels adjustment layer

2) If the above step doesn't show your background splotches and missed cloning of the dental floss the following will
- create a temporary Solar curve (merely a CurveAdjustment Layer with a crazy N shaped curve applied to it)
- your image will look Horrible, but any background spots, stray dust or hairs will show up like magic
Fix your stray spots, and remove the temp Solar Curve layer
For example, in the image above you have some stray spots left over where the dental floss was not completely removed.




I noticed the retouching problem of the the thread that you mention throughout the images, but I wouldn't worry about it for the most part.
Out of context (i.e. if a person doesn't know what they're looking for), people won't notice. A lot of them just look like reflection in the silver.
But some of these almost look like you have the Blend Mode set to Dissolve. i.e. It looks like paint splatter.
Be sure you have a medium hard round brush with Normal blend mode.

Curves of any kind can be difficult to do.
Thin reflective curves with no real good area to clone from is very difficult.

You will simply need to be extremely careful with the clone tool. Don't do to much near the metal. Just take tiny bites at it at a time.
Don't feel bad if you use a few dozen stamping clicks just to lean up each wire.

Remember that, if you have photoshop, you can rotate the clone stamp's "source". This really helps make cloning of curves less than impossible.
Transform/Warp and the Liquify filter can help reshape things where a simple clone stamp is taking too much time.

One trick you may prefer is to take a few photos of the loop while being held by a clamp rather than being hung by floss.
Keep these "clean" photos of the wire as a library from which you can copy the parts needed.
It is sometimes just easier to copy from a good looking original, and transforming and warping it to fit.

Last edited by amoringello; 05-05-2013 at 05:14 AM.
05-05-2013, 05:29 AM   #72
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I thought it might be helpful to show an example.

FYI, this what you get with the Solar Curve.
You can see both threads remaining in the background.

Ignore the chunky JPEG compression in the background and near the jewelry.
Nothing you can do about that... and again it is why I say "know when to quit" with retouching, in most cases "perfect" just isn't going to happen.
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05-05-2013, 04:41 PM   #73
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Hi amoringello
I'm not using black paper, but, gradient paper, that goes from black to white. I'm looking to get a variation for a nice artistic affect, don't know if I achieved it though lol. By the way, just to let you know, I'm using an old original version of photoshop, 5.5 to be exact. So, not sure what it can do like the new version. I've not had any lessons in photoshop 5.5 except for what my webmaster has shown me. Lucky me, I won't have to use the stamp tool with my necklaces. I'm glad you noticed where I used the stamp tool, thought it was my eyes or my monitor. My problem is, I stumbled onto that Carol Holaday site, liked the way she did her photos, sorry now I did, but, then again it's good. Forced me to look at my photos, and see that the display neck was more the focal point, than the jewelry. I even emailed her to ask her what she was doing, she sent me a couple of photos of what they look like before she works them in photoshop, will post them. A photographer on facebook, who teaches digital photography told me I needed an overhead floodlight, after she saw one of my photos. So, I got one, bulb though is only 30 watt eiko daylight bulb. I tried using the studio gray paper I have my cocoon lined with, to photograph my necklaces. Another photographer said, it just looks to0 gray, not very good, will post one of my necklaces for your opinion. I'm looking to re-photograph some of the cloisonne necklaces with the gradient paper but, waiting till I get the Bowens streamlite 530 with 5 bulbs. Although I might try a test shot with my bowens original trilite to see how it looks. Could not believe it when that Holaday designer said she is using 1000 watts of tungsten bulbs, I'm no where near that wattage. I hope you were able to make that earrings stand using the L-brackets. One advantage the other designer has is, she has a light tent she made herself with pcv pipe, and white sale cloth to defuse the light. She can go to back of tent, and change out the paper for each shot. I have one of those Red Wing cocoons, they zip up, every time I want to change out paper, have to unzip cocoon, pull down flap, and change out paper which is taped into the tent. Way to much trouble to do for each photo, hence the cookie cutter photos all looking the same, lol. Will post a photo of my light setup too so you can see what I have. You can see how she photographs from the raw image.
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Last edited by Jewelry Designer; 05-05-2013 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Adding info
05-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #74
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Posting my necklace photo using studio gray background, and also my light set up
05-05-2013, 05:20 PM   #75
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Your results are great. I like the gradient paper. Much easier than trying to adjust the lighting to create the effect.

No one sees the studio, so it doesn't matter if you spray paint dog s--- white and make a box out of it. If it does the job, it does the job. :-) :-) :-)
No need for 1000w lights either, for crying out loud! :-) True; it probably makes things easier, since instead of 2 second shutter speed, you could achieve a shutter speed that is for all intents and purposes as instant as you'd notice or want.
Again, you're photographing still objects. A flashlight would be sufficient if used properly and if you had the time.
One or two 100w daylight bulbs would be more than sufficient. (two, merely to eliminate harsh shadows potentially caused by lighting from only one direction)

Personally, I generally use three lights around a light tent (I just do very basic lighting, nothing fancy like some high-high end pros need to get into).
I have one light from each side; to light the objects evenly. A third one helps to give specular highlights to things like gem stones.
But the more lights you use, the more you also have to watch your reflections in reflective surfaces.
You also want to make sure you have some dark reflections. --- if everything is lit completely even, things become flat and gray and dull and lifeless.
The more lights you add, the more you may need to create gradient or other disruption in the totally flat/even lighting.

My suggestion, is to get your results looking great without buying more equipment, partially because I fell into the trap myself with some of my items.
Do all you can to make them work with what you have. When you understand the limitations of your current equipment, and your determine that a new purchase will help remedy specific problems, then go out and buy those more expensive products.

I have big studio lights but I never use them for this work. I end up going back to my cheap flashes I found at yard sales.
I sometimes use the light tent (not new -- from a resale shop), but often don't even use that. I'll drape bed sheets over some poles and use cheap white or colored paper for the backdrop.
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