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05-05-2013, 08:42 PM   #76
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amoringello
You are right in a way, was just going to replace one of the lights cause it got dented, damaged. The streamliite 530 has 5 bulbs, and 5 switches so you can turn on or off as many as you like. I will try taking some necklace shots with the gradient paper though to see how it looks. Here is a link to photo of necklace on my site with studio gray background. Jewelry, Decorative Cloisonne Designs, Necklace, Water Lilies - Gifts : Handmade Jewelry If you go to my site, magicalbeads.com you can see the photos with gray display neck. I can't complain these photos I'm doing now are way better. If you go back to some of my earlier posts you will see a photo of my light set up.

05-06-2013, 01:57 PM   #77
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Well I must say most of your earlier shots look a lot like mine do now. :-)
Getting the objects off of the background helps a lot. Your latest photos posted here are an improvement.

I will definitely need to make the stand, i.e. I have not yet built the stand but may get the time to do something this weekend. I just don't do this stuff often enough to have taken the time. :-( Its also for a resale shop, so half the time the stuff is gone before I get a chance to post it. Not a lot of incentive to put a lot of time into getting things perfect.
05-06-2013, 04:20 PM   #79
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Guys
Here are the rest of the photos
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_st_patricks_cathedral_another_decorative_alcove.jpg
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_st_patricks_cathedral_alcove_with_jesus_painting.jpg
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_st_patricks_cathedral_stained_glass_window1.jpg
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_cheryl_in_front_of_st_patrick_cathedral_alter.jpg This is me, tourist was nice enough to take my picture, couldn't size it the same as others, it cut of my feet lol.
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_rockefella_center.jpg
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/nyc_decorative_window_display_rockefella_center.jpg
St. Patricks was crawling with security gards, place is being totally renovated, so, very noisy. One of them told me I couldn't photograph at back, behind the alter but I had already got a photo lol. I usually like to sit, and pray, but, found it wasn't peacefull enough with all the workers banging. Had trouble too, photographing, lots of tourists, they walk by just as your camera goes off, set the self timer. Going to try and photograph some necklaces with the gradient paper, and zoom lens, see how they come out. Want to see if I need more light, let me know if I do, saving to get those bowen light that has 5 bulbs, with 5 switches. I should have taken my coat off for photo, but, was in a rush, and didn't think about it. Lady was nice, she zoomed in like I showed her, and waited for self timer to go off, she took two photos.

05-07-2013, 08:42 PM   #80
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Hey amoringello
Let me know what you think of the photos I took inside the Cathedral, think I acceded my limit on posting photos, so, posted some links.
05-08-2013, 02:22 AM   #81
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For hand-held, they look very nice. Well done. Some need a little straightening, and maybe some color correction. But the latter, in my opinion, is more an issue of personal taste. If thats how it looked, then it is "correct".
05-08-2013, 03:21 AM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
I should have taken my coat off for photo
So that's who we're talking too, a face to a name.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
Let me know what you think of the photos
Really it's all about what you think, are you happy with them?
05-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #83
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Cathedral photos

hi kerrowdown
It wasn't easy to take the photos as, most of the cathedral is roped of due to the renovations. Plus lots of tourists so hard to center the photo on the alter. The only stained glass windows that were open were on either side of alter, so, you have main alter with decorative wood with marble columns on top in the way. Could not take photo of stained glass window from a distance cause wood with columns was in the way, so had to stand right in front, and aim upwards to take the shot. Security guards told me, your not allowed to take photos behind the alter, but, I managed to get one shot before he saw me. I really wanted to take a photo of the big stained glass rose window over the entrance of the cathedral, but, it is covered over with tarp, and stuff. Most of the side windows are covered, but, managed to get some of the side alcoves. I have to admit the photos are not bad, considering I was not able to use my tripod. I also used my self timer, which can be a problem, as the timer goes off, a tourist walks by, you can see the top of their head in the photo lol. Went to accessories show on Tuesday, found they had a few new colors of the southwest earrings, so bought a few. Going to photograph them, then later in week going to try some necklaces. Would like your opinion on the necklaces to see if I have enough light. If I can keep using my three bulb 90 watts Bowen trilite on either side with 30 watt bulb overhead, would be good. If I need more light saving to get Bowens new 5 bulb with 5 switch light. I think the color on the stained glass windows does look true to form, at least I think so.

05-11-2013, 01:24 AM   #84
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amoringello
Took some necklace photos, using the gradient background, not so good results. I showed it to photographer in his facebook page, he said it looked over exposed. I'm setting the exposure compensation meter to -1 for black background, like I did with earrings photos. Posting a link so you can check it out, does it look over exposed to you. Do you think I need to go down more on exposure meter? I still think I'm seeing lens flair on some of the photos, could be my eyes, but think I see spots. I'm still using the lens hood on my zoom lens. http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/facebook_test_shot.jpg He also said you can't see the detail of the beads because of overexposure. Here is a link to new earrings I just got from accessories show, and photographed before I did the necklaces, came out nice, so don't understand what the problem is with necklaces. Earrings, Night Wind, Jewelry - Gifts : MagicalBeads Please let me know what you think, hope you built your earrings stand ok.
05-11-2013, 04:25 AM   #85
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The only thing that looks over exposed is that your black background is a little bit grey. I would say it is not enough of a gradient, so it looks like something that *should* be black, but just isn't quite there. i.e. it is done perfectly, but looks like a mistake out of context to someone who does not know what they are looking at.
You likely need to either get a pure black background or get more gradient in there to make it obvious. Although if the gradient goes too light, it may become a problem with contrast against the jewelry.

Otherwise I think the jewelry is exposed well.
The photo on your website looks very well done!
05-11-2013, 03:00 PM   #86
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amoringello
I've moved the gradient paper up in the cocoon so that, not all the black shows in photo like in the earrings, but, black to gray will show more. Trouble with gradient paper from b&h photo is it scratches very easily, I've had to use the stamp tool to remove scratches and other marks. Going to check with my photographer friend on facebook and see what he has to say. So, you don't think I need to go lower than -1 on exposure compensation. I want to make sure the cloisonne beads, the details do show up in photo. I was talking to a studio lighting guy, 36 years in business, he said the more light the better, but, wonder if I need more light or the three 30 watt bulbs 90 watts in all in each tilite is enough, thats total 180 watts. I have the 30 watt daylight balanced bulb as floodlight over the top. A digital photographer, and teacher at a school for photography said I needed an overhead light. Hey have you checked out Ivanka Trumps jewelry website, you can tell she had a pro do her photos, background is all white. Trouble with that is, if you go +1 in exposure compensation with white background it is not pure white, but, if you go up in exposure jewelry might be to underexposed or over exposed lol. Who knows, lets face it you and I are not pro jewelry photographers, but, you know more about camera settings than I do. Thanks for the reply, I need all the input I can get, want to get my photos looking better. Here is a photo of my light set up, you can see the cocoon I use, you have to zip it up. So, every time I want to change out paper or move paper, have to unzip both sides, and bring flap down. Have to move tripod too, all this is a pain in the butt, so, to do it for every photo would be impossible to get a different look for each photo. http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/daylight_photo_of_light_setup.jpg and lights on at night http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/product_photography_lighting_setup.jpg
05-11-2013, 03:45 PM   #87
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Yeah, "more lights the better" is a great philosophy when speed counts. Or when you need to overpower the sun and make the sky look dark. Or if you're 20 yards away from a group of 100 and need to light everything evenly in one shot.

But for jewelry? I may be misunderstanding him. But I think he meant more lights as in the number of lights. But mainly I think all you're going to need is harsher light. You could use more lights, or cheat. :-)
Those beads won't look right in a flat, evenly lit box. You're going to need to hit them with some specular light to bounce off that in a way that will look good.
I did some of those or something similar a while back (can't find them now, of course).

Take the front of the box off and aim one of the lights on there to get some harsh light.
What can help is to put a crumply sheet of tin-foil at the right angle so you're camera picks up all those different reflected angles against the surface.
It can work like having a bunch of lights yet giving dimension with bright and darker areas.
Its just tricky getting that in the right place without being in the way.

Stop worrying about exposure compensation. It is useless for this type of photography.
If you need more exposure, leave the shutter open longer.
When you are in control of the camera and in control of the lights you will have a good image.

Before you spend money on more lights, take one of those lights and put is just on the background to make it pure white.
You can chimp on the LCD and look at the histogram to make sure it is white. This is generally 2-1/2 stops above the proper exposure of your subject.
(18% grey is middle grey from which the camera meters. 1 stop higher is; 18*2=36, 1 stop higher still is; 36*2=72. Add half a stop; 72+36 and your pretty close to 100% white) The math is simple. :-)

So now what about the subject... here you need to move the lamps far enough away so that the subject now exposes properly without any compensation.
Use those two remaining lights to shine down from above and one from front. (this will of course change with the object and desired look).

The only problems you're going to run into is space and size of light.
You want some soft light but as you move your lights further away to reduce brightness, you are going to increase harshness as the surface of the light becomes relatively smaller. If you have dim-able bulbs this will help, if the light color doesn't change too much, rather than moving the light away, just dim it down a bit.


It sounds like you are doing quite well as it is, but perhaps are in need some better understanding of lighting and exposure.
I think worrying about things like exposure compensation is actually fighting you and blocking you from moving forward.


Check out Alex Koloskov's site. He has big lights, and lots of them, but he also uses home made stuff including LED lamps normally used for yard and home.
He has a whole section on using them to get a better quality of light out of gemstones, etc...
He is one of the top product photographers and teaches courses in the $$1000's.
Not that you should base all your opinions on those credentials, but he is good.

FYI, Alex's wife is a fantastic re-toucher. She has a fantastically simple process for removing scratches and dust that I find faster, easier and often better than trying to use the stamp tool. The following is from her blog;
Product photography tip: The fast and easy way to clean dust.

Also check out some things on Photigy and check out what he has there for free. Some really good ideas for table top product lighting, etc...
Project in development: Inexpensive way to shoot jewelry. LED lighting.
The Beauty and Sadness of Jewelry Photography Retouching: Before and After



Hopefully some of this is helpful. I know I rambled a lot,. :-(
05-11-2013, 06:04 PM   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelry Designer Quote
Hi
I'm trying to take photos of my necklaces, using gradient paper that goes from black to white. I keep on getting light spots on black background. I've tried moving the lights, I've even put white board inside cocoon on either side. I changed exposure compensation meter to -1 but nothing seems to work. What can I do. I even changed levels in photoshop, but made it look like I colored it in with black magic marker. I'm hanging the necklaces using studio gray paper as background in cocoon. I think it looks good but, someone said it looks like I photo-shopped the necklace to the background.
Here are some ideas, examples if you will. Anna Sheffield
05-11-2013, 09:09 PM   #89
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amoringello
I think you hit the nail on the head, I've been listening to people, getting so much advice, some good, some I think bad. What that studio lighting expert, and the digital photography teacher on facebook don't understand is. Cloisonne is enamel with gold or silver leaf, very bright, shinny, and reflective. So, can look too bright with lots of light, that teacher said I needed an overhead flood light. Fine for the earrings photos, but, I think not so good for necklaces with cloisonne. I did some more photos tonight, they came out better I think. I also tried an experiment, I took a photo of one cloisonne necklace with overhead light, then same necklace I took photo with overhead light turned off. The cloisonne seemed to look better, not so much glare. I think with the kind of jewelry I design, too much light might be a bad thing. Anyway posting some links so you can see what they look like, before I decide to put them on the site, replace the studio gray version. I think I got more of a gradient look this time by moving the paper.
http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_peaceful_pink5.jpg
http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_china_blue5.jpg
http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_water_lilies5.jpg
http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_ruby_red5.jpg
http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_purple_passion5.jpg
Didn't care for how the single strand necklaces came out, so, going to keep the studio gray photos on the site for them. If I can avoid replacing my trilites with the new bowen streamliites, all the better. Although, having to prop one of the trilites up as it got damaged when they took my mom out to the ambulance. Sad to say she never made it home, she used to be a big inspiration with my designs helping me. Let me know what you think of the new photos of the same jewelry, think pink one came out better and not over exposed.
05-12-2013, 12:41 PM   #90
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I think they look really well done. I only do not like the gradient. It is not enough of a gradient so it tends towards looking accidental.

I decided to try something, using only three lights.
I have strobes, but for this I used only the modeling lamps. They are 250w each, but adjustable.
I probably should have pulled out my light tent, but was lazy.
I'm not really happy with the result, but I was aiming more for the workflow.

I started with the background (light aiming up from below), getting that to just barely burn out.
This is where someone like ASheffield is an expert, as the bright background starts to spill over the objects and cause a hash non-contrasty look.

I then added the overhead light like was suggested to you.
I then added the main light. A large soft-box on the right and a reflector (white sheet of paper would do) on the left side to help fill in some shadow (why a light tent might have been nicer).
I kept adjusting both of these lamps to get the light I wanted, while maintaining the background as-is.
i.e. adjust the lamps, not the camera.

I was finally at f8.0 and ISO 80 almost a 1 second exposure.

Problems.
- The background is glossy white. It threw too much light back at me. I should get some paper or fabric instead.
- My overhead light is too wide. The large soft main light (right) should be closer to the subject but was blocked by the top light.

Anyway, below is the studio setup and each light. Finally a (quickly) retouched version.
I may try this again with the light tent... once I get the string supports built. :-)

(edit) ... and I noticed in the end, I still didn't keep my whites quite white. I guess I need to go back and add a levels adjustment. Not sure where that went wrong. Again, someone like Asheffield or AKoloskov have some special skills to make that happen consistently. For me, it still takes a few tries.
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Last edited by amoringello; 05-12-2013 at 12:47 PM.
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