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05-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #91
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ASheffield, I really like the way your stuff is lit on your website. Can you tell me if you actually photograph the objects directly on a white surface?
The shadows make it look that way, but I always seem to lose part of the object's edges when the surface is at pure white.
Just wondering if I'm aiming for a target that is just too hard to reach, or am I just going about things the wrong way.
I love figuring this stuff out, but a point in the right direction would be helpful. :-)

My jewelry photography usually pertains to taking quick photos of stuff sold at a resale shop.
I can't even retouch the stuff the way I'd like (can't lie to the buyer and hide scratches, and such).
So far, due to time, I've limited myself to simply shooting on cloths or in the box, etc...
Jewelry - Anthony Moringello Photography

But I would like to get a better starting place. :-)

05-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #92
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he, he, figured out why my whites weren't white.
My camera showed blinkies meaning the background was white, but that was the JPEG file. I had my camera repaired recent;y and forgot to tune the JPEG settings to better match the raw output. And in a hurry I didn't check that the background was all white.
Always need to set up a temporary levels layer and check what is or isn't white/black. erg...

Anyway, tried again with three light setup in the light tent.
One light left, one right, and one from behind.
Much better results since I didn't have so much 'dark' reflections.

And no adjustment needed for the white background this time either.
Final image, retouched to remove scratches, and color corrected for the yellow lights to get the color of the "gems" back to a more normal color.
Attached Images
 
05-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #93
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amoringello
The reason it does not look so gradient is, because I havn't moved the paper up any further in the cocoon. I don't use white, because, it is just too hard to get it pure white in photo. Also I don't lay my earrings or necklaces in the cocoon, I either use a display neck or, as I'm doing now, hanging the jewelry in the tent. Make that stand for the earrings, it will help allot. That Holaday women she has a pole going across the top of her light tent, and has hooks she can hang necklaces from. I tried using a plexiglass rod on top of my cocoon, not a good idea, kept on sliding down lol. Also couldn't find hooks I could attach to tent, all were screw in hooks. Found my old white sheet I used outside to defuse the light when I first photographed my jewelry with a light tent I made out of carboard. There were two little clips I found attached to the sheet, bingo, perfect for clipping the chain on the necklaces, to the top opening of cocoon where the zippers meet. Before I used the gradient black to white paper, I always used studio gray paper I got from Calumet photo. My webmaster recommended that, as he used to have his own photography studio years ago. Lets face it, neither one of us is going to get our photos to look like the jewelry photos on Ivanka Trumps site. I don't have deep pockets to hire a pro, plus to me would defeat the purpose of trying to do it yourself. I think you have it harder than me, because you are working with allot of semi-precious stones, diamonds, or set in crystals, I noticed in your photos. I work mostly with semi-precious beads, bi-cone or round faceted crystals, pearls, and cloisonne. Did Asheffield take their own photos, looks really good, almost pro to me.
I think we have to be careful to not listen to, to many people, there are always going to be people that say your jewelry is overexposed, or you need an overhead floodlight, or even more light. Been their done that, photographer on facebook said jewelry was overexposed, another facebook photographer said I needed an overhead floodlght. Worse of all, that Carol Holaday designer said in email after looking at my photos, I need more light. She said I use 1000 watts of tungsten light, 500 from the front sides and 500 overhead. Didn't think my fluorescent bulbs were equal to tungsten lights, as bowen claims. Oh and worst of all, she pretty much said the gray display neck made my photos look cheesy, I don't use props she said lol. All we can do is keep on trying, I can't tell you how many times I photographed these same necklaces recently. I looked last night online for some photos of St. Patricks Cathedral interior. After seeing some of them, I thought wow, my photos don't look too bad. A pro had taken a photo of the same alcove I took with painting of mother, and child. They didn't have to deal with all the renovations going on in the cathedral either. My friends told me, they like the new photos, and to stop being so picky, yes there is still some lens flair, but you can barely see it. You seem to have some really good lights, more pro than mine, just take some time to set up the shots.
05-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #94
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jatrax
Did some necklace shots using the gradient paper, background looks ok but, someone said necklace looks overexposed. Here is a link to necklace. http://magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_cloisonne_peaceful_pink5.jpg I tried some more last night, I put back the diffuser cover on overhead light, did two shots one with overhead light on, and one with it off. So far, I really didn't notice a difference in photo between the two. Here is a photo I took last night http://www.magicalbeads.com/jewelry/images/necklace_cloisonne_burgandy_wine5.jpg The cloisonne beads are enameled, very shinny, glossy, with gold or silver leaf, so could be glare. How do I stop that. I used ISO 100, exposure compensation -1, f/13 was getting 1/10 to 1/8th of second shutter speed. Three 30 watt daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs in each tilite on either side, so 180 watts in all. I have 30 watt bulb in overhead light. My friends think photos look good, and I should stop being picky, just frustrating when someone says jewelry looks overexposed.


Last edited by Jewelry Designer; 05-14-2013 at 03:18 PM. Reason: needed to add text
05-14-2013, 03:37 PM   #95
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Dunno what the person means by overexposed. They look fine.
Compensation adjustments should be avoided. You'd be better off using manual mode. Your images will stay more consistent. If not in manual mode, the camera will potentially adjust lighting against the brightness of the object you're photographing. Thus every object could have a slightly different brightness and the background will look darker or lighter gray.

You'll probably also want to get off of Auto-White-Balance. Your backgrounds will change colors as the camera is trying to adjust for the color of the objects you're photographing. Use a setting (incandescent?) that looks good and keep it there. You can fine tune white balance in a consistent manner using Lightroom, Photoshop, etc...

In general I don't like the particular gradient in any of the images. Either have it show to a greater degree, or just keep things black.

Beyond that, I think your friends are right. Your stuff looks good.
But... do not stop being picky. It is what makes your work worth the effort and leads to it getting better.
I hate almost everything I do while everyone tells me its wonderful. They have for several years. But I look back at stuff I was doing even five years ago and it is -- well lets say horrendous would be an overstatement, but maybe not too far off. :-) I hate to think about what my stuff would still look like if I quit trying to improve from that point.
05-17-2013, 11:04 PM   #96
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Lens flair

Hey Guys
Anyone figure out why I'm still getting flair of the lens, even with lens hood. It's very frustrating, some photos you notice it more than others. Here is a link to photo.
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_facebook_venitian_glass.jpg
I don't notice it so much with earrings photos, is a puzzle.
05-18-2013, 06:40 AM   #97
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Do you mean the light from the bottom?
I believe this is your gradient background. If you make the background solid black, do you still see the effect?
Its why I said you need to exaggerate the gradient and make it more pronounced, or remove it completely. If done slightly, it looks like a mistake.

Remember also, if your paper is white below and the lights are very bright, you are going to get reflection off that. You can try "flagging" that. i.e. take some dark/black opaque paper or cardboard, and prop it up so that the white is no longer reflecting into the lens... yet not actually visible.
I do not think this is contributing much to your problem; your lights would need to be quite bright and the angle more direct into the lens. But it is worth trying to see if it does help.

Last edited by amoringello; 05-18-2013 at 06:46 AM.
05-18-2013, 03:46 PM   #98
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amoringello
I think the problem is the lens hood. On the macro lens no lens flair, the lens hood is same length all the way around. The zoom lens top and bottom part are longer than the sides. I noticed when I'm having the camera vertically, the longer section is at sides, so it blocks the light, horizontally, the shorter portion is at sides. I'm going to try and experiment, going to take some black paper and put it around the lens hood after I put it on zoom. Lets see if it blocks out any light flair of lens. Will try that later in week, who knows it might work. Wonder what other forum members think, did that Asheffield ever tell you what settings he used to take the photos on white background? I think one day going to put some white paper background in cocoon, and see what happens. Don't want to use black, and white on site might look odd, rather one or the other. Hey did you make that stand yet, hope so.

05-18-2013, 04:35 PM   #99
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Take off the lens hood and see what happens.
I suspect also if you're focal length is longer (100mm v.s. 50mm) you will get more or less background and thus more or less of the gradient rather than solid black.
Makes sense that smaller objects like earrings don't get as much of the effect as larger objects like necklaces.

Anyway, do some playing around and see what is causing the problem. Its also the absolute best way to learn.
Then you simply need to figure out how to fix.

FYI, A great book for helping wrap your head around lighting angles, etc... is "Light Science & Magic" by Hunter, Biver and Fugua. Its is a truly amazing and well written guide to lighting and how to control it.
05-21-2013, 03:50 PM   #100
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amoringello
As you know I got some really bad lens flair on last necklace photos. Thought lens hood would fix it. Anyway called Adorama studio lighting, lighting expert said I should try using a circular polorizer, or nautral density filter. He asked what lenses I had, with shipping and sales tax total was $57.28, not bad. When I told him I had the original bowen trilites, he said they were very good lights. I asked if I needed more than 3, 30 watt daylight balanced bulbs in each light, as that Holaday designer is using 1000 watts of tungsten, he said I had more than enough light. So, these filters he said should help get rid of the lens flair, and help with overexposure. You know another thing, I figured out why I'm seeing where I stamped out the dental floss in the earrings photos. It's the gradient paper, if it was all black paper background you wouldn't notice it. Guy from Adorama said, I'm using the right ISO 100, f-stop f/13 is fine too. I've had allot of photographers on here, and facebook, tell me 1000 watts of light is overkill, of course, I wouldn't tell her that. Even though she said my gray display neck was cheesy. To each his own, what works. I figure why spend money you don't have to, if what you have is good. I still have to prop up one of the trilites that got dented, but it works. Thanks for all the advice, guys.
05-29-2013, 01:36 AM   #101
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kerrowdown
Tried the circular polarizer, to try and deal with lens flair I'm still getting, seemed to make things worse. I know that petal design lens hood is needed for some lenses as you zoom in and out, if it was a solid hood the edges would be visible at some focal lengths, especially the zoomed out ones. I was wondering if I should eventually get a 60 mm macro lens to photograph my necklaces rather than using the zoom lens. I've noticed that I have more lens flair showing when i'm taking photos with camera in horizontal. I'm at a loss to figure out what to do, working on seeing what will happen if I try using my Canon G2 to take the necklace photo. I actually did take a few shots with my old camera but, forgot to set exposure, so, photo was over exposed. Camera only goes to f/8, I set ISO to 100 it was at 50, didn't know it went that low. Getting really frustrated, I'm not planing on re-photographing all my jewelry photos, thank goodness, would go crazy if I did.
05-29-2013, 02:17 AM   #102
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1. Find out what is causing the lens flare.
From your setup, I believe you should not be getting any.

2. Please point out exactly what you are seeing that seems to be lens flare.
I just don't see it. I do see a large dust spot in the upper center of the last photo posted and in similar locations depending on possible camera rotation, but I see no evidence of lens flare. In fact the jewelry is consistently contrasty from top to bottom. So I'm not sure what you are seeing as lens flare.

3. Remove the gradient background and replace with a solid color if possible.

A polarizer is not going to help with lens flare, it can likely only make it worse.
It can help reduce reflection and thus increase contrast and color of non-metalic objects.

A lens hood is only needed when you cannot control your light. You're in a studio, a lens hood is not necessary if your lighting is controlled. (i.e. blocked by other means, either by angle of light or by using flags/cards to block light).

A better lens might help with lens flare, but it will not help if your lighting is not controlled. IT will also not help if the problem you are having is NOT lens flare. Personally, the images you are uploading are fine. A Macro lens will be of little benefit. Blow those up to 16x20 and you are almost certain to see a major difference. When you need window posters, invest in the macro lens.
05-29-2013, 03:03 PM   #103
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amoringello
I'm posting a link to the new photo that has spots on the background. http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_pentax_forum_test.jpg This is photo I took using cirular polarizer. It is out of focus, necklace moved, here is the original photo I took without the polarizer, but just the lens hood.
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_facebook_venitian_glass.jpg
Here is a photo of same glass necklace, using my old Canon G2 as you can see it is badly overexposed cause I forgot to set the exposure to -1 f-stop on this camera will only go to f/8 so that's what I set it to.
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_facebook_test2_G2.jpg You can see in all three photos, the spots on the background, as someone on this forum pointed out, not acceptable for product photo on website to have spots, be out of focus, or cut off.
I'm wondering if I'm getting less spots or flair with my old G2 than with the T4i, just wondering what you guys think. Going to try using the G2 again with exposure set, to see how it looks.

Last edited by Jewelry Designer; 05-29-2013 at 03:06 PM. Reason: More info
06-07-2013, 03:28 PM   #104
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kerrowdown, guys
I've managed to cut out allot of the spots, lens flair by aiming the lights towards the back, rather directly on the jewelry. I'm still though getting some over exposure on these square cloisonne beads. Posting to links to examples, http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_facebook_gold_cloisonne.jpg
http://www.magicalbeads.com/workfiles/necklace_facebook_cloisone_choker.jpg
I'm using ISO 100 f/13 shutter speeds aroun 1/8th of a second with tripod, and -1 exposure compensation. I have the old original 5.5 version of Photoshop so, only has levels. I've tried working with that to see if it improves the photo but not that great, Photographer in facebook thinks my camera settings are good, not much more to do, anything else has to be done in Photoshop. Maybe one of you could copy the gold necklace and see how you can work it in Photoshop to show me. Also wanted to know, do you think I would be better to get a 60 mm macro lens to photograph my necklaces, rather than using the zoom lens? I have the 100 mm macro, which is great for shorter earrings, but too close for necklaces and longer earrings.
06-07-2013, 04:38 PM   #105
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No need to use exposure compensation. Just increase your shutter speed. (that is probably what the camera is doing by default anyway). Best to "know" what your settings are for this sort of thing and not play with amorphous attributes like exposure compensation (which may have the potential to be adjusting ISO and/or Aperture depending on the situation and other camera settings). Just sayin'...

I agree, your settings are probably good (other than being stuck on that EV adjustment garbage), but Photoshop is not the first place you should be looking to improve on your images. The problem, as you have found and improved on already, is your lighting. Lighting jewelry can be very difficult, especially curved and/or reflective surfaces.

Photoshop is great, but you do not want to micro-manage your processing all day long by sitting on the computer for 20 minutes "correcting" each image.
Get the lighting correct, and you'll only need 30 seconds of correcting/tweaking in Photoshop.
Use photoshop to enhance a good photo into a great photo.
Do not try to create a good photo from a bad one. You could be spending your life in better pursuits of happiness. :-)

Without seeing the actual setup and playing with the items I cannot be 100% sure, but I believe it is not so much an issue with overexposure, as the angle of light reflecting more off some of the squares than from others. If I recall, your lights are basically acting like small light-hand-grenades. The light blasts everywhere.

If you cut/paste each square and line them up next to each other, you will find that the gold and pink are not so far off for each piece.
The green must be reflective, as one is a nice deep green, the others are light and flat looking. You need to find a way to keep the lighting consistent across all pieces and adjust your exposure accordingly.


One possible suggestion...
Get some "cinefoil" (heavy tin foil painted black on both sides). Regular tin foil will work as well but is a bit harder to control reflections since it is so reflective. Althoughg with the right angles, tin-foil can work well for creating more diverse specular highlights.
Anyway, mold that around your lights to better control where the light is hitting so that the light isn't flooding the set in all directions. More expensive lights would use egg-crate or grids to keep the light from flooding everything.

You can also use foil, cardboard or sheets of paper to help flag off stray light at smaller specific areas.



As far as the lens...
Are you limited on space? Can you not back up far enough with the 100mm that you feel you require the 60mm?
This may be a valid argument (I don't know your situation and allocated space). It is certainly a problem when I do some on-site jewelry photos. I only have about six feet max to work in), so for larger objects I have to take off the 100mm macro and go with a wider lens.
But realize that the use of smaller focal length will change perspective since you need to move in closer. (i.e. focal length does not affect perspective, your distance to the subject in relation to the background does. a wider lens may require that relationship to change)

What this means it that your background may no longer be wide enough.
60mm isn't bad (not too wide), but you may get some unflattering change in the shape of your jewelry. This is more noticeable with people, but you may see it in your own creations as well.
*** Regardless, it certainly is NOT going to fix the problems you are currently running into with your images. ***


My biggest suggestion, again, is to look into websites where photographer's are willing to share how they light jewelry.
Most people who have been in the business and are not making money off equipment sales, will tell you that the equipment (light, lenses, camera) is not what makes the photo. Its how you modify the light and use it to create the image you want. They often start and still use less expensive equipment.

My point for the day:
The more expensive stuff really just makes everything the pros have already learned how to do, easier and quicker.
But if you don't know what you're doing, that expensive equipment will simply allow you to make your same poor images remain more quickly and easily.
Learn how to make the image right, then worry about what you need to make it easier.
There is very little you can do with $5000 worth of equipment that you absolutely cannot do with $50 worth of crap. :-)
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