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10-01-2013, 07:01 PM   #16
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This is without digital filter, custom image settings nor good lighting but still wasn't too bad for starting out.

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10-01-2013, 07:11 PM   #17
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This also was without Digital Filter/Custom Image and lighting was too far away. Sorry I'm so green! I still don't own a torch to set the metal nor a polisher but I'm hoping with my first proceeds I can put it into getting these two items!
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10-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #18
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Looking good for first attempts.

My notes would be:

1: Move the lights a bit further away, purely so you've got some more room to move when you crop (rather than having the items right at the edge of frame after the lights are cut out)

2: a few seem out of focus, make sure that neither the jewelry, or camera, are moving when the image is taken (a tip with the camera part, use the self timer. You press the shutter, the camera waits for 2-12 seconds, then takes the shot. In that time any wobbles from your hand have usually stopped)

3: White balance seems a bit odd in some (some have a slight amber cast) maybe set the white balance to manual. This way each image will be uniform (rather than some white, some yellow, etc)




Maybe also consider some different backgrounds?
A few of the pieces with white stones seem to be a little lost in the white background. Perhaps a different colour (something that compliments the piece)
You can use sheets of card from a craft store for this (Card is better than paper, it's less likely to get little bends in it which show up on the photo)


edit:
re: lighting.
Maybe shift the lights out to the sides a little more. I noticed a few of the shots do have some shadows behind the product, and some harsh reflections.
10-02-2013, 05:27 AM   #19
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I have very little experience with this but I agree with most of what hks said above. Two additional items.

1/4" foam board from Wal-Mart at about $2 a sheet and some straight pins for hangers may provide a better presentation of the pieces.
A remanent of velvet or felt from a fabric store may provide an even softer background.
In addition to moving the lights back, place them to the side of pieces to eliminate the shadows (start @ about 45 degrees and see what happens) shown in post 17 above. This may require a 3rd light.
If you aren't doing so already, use a tripod and turn shake reduction off.
The final point may not apply since these were just test samples, be consistent in your cropping. For jewelry I don't think you want to cut off the tops or the sides (some of the hoops).

The turquoise pieces is quite attractive.

10-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
2: a few seem out of focus, make sure that neither the jewelry, or camera, are moving when the image is taken
It looks like it's the product that's moving. I'm saying that because, especially in the first two shots...which are of longer earrings, the wires that go through the ears are plenty sharp, but the farther you go from that pivot point, the more blurry the jewelry becomes. That makes me think that the earrings were swinging ever so slightly.
10-02-2013, 09:28 PM   #21
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Loving the advice and constructive critiques! Okay so I knew I wanted to try for "white balance" however when I tried to find it in settings (ALL the settings) I wasn't sure how to implement it. That said, I agree about the lights going more off to the sides. The problem I've been having with the two tiny flood lights that came with the photo tent and the art lamp have been in my inexperienced opinion, has been that they are too ineffective when moved more than an inch or two away.

Also, I have some black velvet material we bought a while back but I wasn't sure if that was good to use due to the up close dust particles showing but I'll try it after this next set of tweaks. Thanks for that suggestion.

Next, the earrings (some of them) were swinging ever so slightly. Call that impatient on my part. :P operator error for sure!

I tried today to figure out the delay of the shutter button so that I could push it and it'd take some seconds before taking the shot but I could not for the life of me figure it out yet. I will though. I'm beginning to know the massive numbers of setting options by heart as I've been diligently experimenting these past 2 days. I do have many questions about some of the settings too, but I'm sure in due time. I did find a menu option called Interval Shooting where it has a NOW option versus a start time option. When I tried moving it from 00:00"10' to less time it went to :59 hitting down arrow, and :11 hitting the up arrow. So I clicked on the start time option leaving it at the :10 hoping it was 10 seconds but when I clicked the shutter button to take the pic, it went black screen and took waaaay past 10 seconds for data processing on the camera body screen. So I cancelled it and put the setting back to NOW option.

I wasn't sure how the composition should be for the longer earrings as the longer they are the further away I must take the picture in order to fit the fittings (hooks) into the shot. I will likely try the foam board idea for sure. Also I was looking at some professional jewelry shots online and noticed for necklaces and bracelets acrylic surfaces are used and give a slight reflection of the product that looks pretty amazing to me.

I was using jpeg. 8M resolution size.... I was wondering if I should change that to either 5M or 12M the two next size down and up options offered, or should I stay with the 8M? Also, I'm not figuring out how on earth to change the f-Stop from f-8 to anything else. Ugh I'm so sorry. I am your willing subject so please know I hate to be a burden.

Since I cannot figure out the delayed shutter action setting yet, should I look at getting a remote then? I took some notes to ask if you don't mind.

The HDR and HDR capture... should those be set on auto? I'm trying to do this manually, so I wasn't sure if that was something I needed to look at.
IF HDR Auto should be turned on, there are 3 options to choose, HDR 1, HDR 2, and HDR 3.

Then there is Auto-Align... on or off?

Is bracketing something I need to look into also? I noticed in the many settings for my dear Penny (my Pentax K-30) that there is something called exposure bracketing and it's own options were + or - 1EV, 2EV or 3EV.

Also, AE Metering.... I have it on spot right now. I figured it meant that you are honing in on a small area. Should I go with the other options? the default option was a rectangle with a silouhette of a person's face and top shoulders, the next option is a rectangle with a green oval-like area in the middle taking up about 3/4 of the rectangle, then the 3rd option was a rectangle with a small square dot in the middle surrounded by two parenthesis lines and lastly was a rectangle of a small square in the middle plain n simple. It is called spot as I tried it on that setting today.

Lighting has been a nightmare but I did what you guys suggested and moved them more to the side and out of the picture as much as I could with the art lamp above my camera and then I opened the flash and did something that was called AWB - I think Auto White Balance with Flash or something. The flash actually helped these next shots but my internet was down all night last night and today due to a modem problem. So I really am just going to veg the rest of today. I'll get back on the saddle tomorrow after a coupe cups of java.

I have so many questions but I don't want to wear out my welcome! lol Lens correction, Dynamic Range Setting>Highlight correction on auto or off, and it also offers Shadow Correction but those options are pictures of an upper silouhette (face and top shoulders) with a vertical window next to each silouhette showing different degrees of being filled in. ?? I know! right? lol

Thanks for your compliments, your suggestions, mostly though thanks for all your time and efforts to help me on this! I really am truly grateful. Once I make a sale I shall donate/contribute for sure!
10-02-2013, 10:47 PM   #22
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Don't worry about wearing out your welcome. We love talking about photography. That's why we're all here! Eventually, once you get your lighting figured out, you ought to be able to set your exposure manually and use almost the same settings for all your shots, I'm thinking. It's just a matter of finding a lighting set up that works for you and figuring our what the proper exposure is for that set up. You mentioned that you had looked at some professional jewelry shots online that you liked. Could you post one of those so we could see what you're talking about? Maybe we could offer some suggestions that would help you get from where you are now to where these shots are. One thing to keep in mind when you're shooting jewelry...and this same thing applies to any reflective surface, like glass or cars...is that you're not trying to light the reflective surface so much as you're trying to light whatever it is that's being reflected in that surface. I'm attaching two pictures. In one, the person has shone their light directly on the set of earrings. It's caused a couple of hot spots on the earrings. What you're seeing reflected in the surface of the earrings is the light the photographer used and the dark room surrounding that light. In the second photo, the photographer has used a large soft box or piece of white card and placed it above and behind the earrings so that it fills the reflection in the earrings. They could have also placed some white cards to the front of the earrings if they had wanted to fill in the darker front areas of the earrings, but that's just a matter of taste.
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10-03-2013, 02:22 AM   #23
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Yeah I'm finding out more and more as I endeavor to get it right. :P Here is the link URL to the site I was speaking of regarding the Acrylic surfaces. Just scroll down 4 or 5 times to get to the examples. The poster also talks about soft lighting also. Though you, nor I, can tell it by the photos I took and experimented with Digital Filters and Custom Image settings to find the doable ones, I really do have a smart eye for the final product and it is not lost on me that I'm nowhere near the point I'd like to be yet. lol So thanks so much for your teaching me and I fully accept all the information you share as such a valuable blessing! So hopefully we will start seeing some results. In fact, my husband was on Ebay this evening and actually picked out a few lighting set-ups but at the time he had no idea which would be the most beneficial for this endeavor.

Well thanks and I'll keep on plugging away! Oh yeah, the site's URL! I almost forgot! Jewelry photography tips - how to take pictures of jewelry

10-03-2013, 04:40 AM   #24
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What you need is some sort of light tent. It's just a way of diffusing the light and give your reflected surfaces something to "see". In the website you linked to, the instructor is using one when he's shooting on the acrylic. Looks like his is called the EZ Cube. They're available on Amazon for not much money. Amazon.com: ezcube light tent

You could do effectively the same thing with things you probably already have around the house. There's a lady in my camera club who shoots flowers on black acrylic. She takes the white plastic shopping bags she gets at the grocery stores and cuts her diffusion panels out of those. She then suspends them on whatever side of her subject she wants and shoots her light through it. I used to work in a television studio where we did commercials for local jewelers. We would take a couple of sheets of white printer paper, crease them in the middle so they could stand on edge, then place them on either side of whatever our subject was...leaving a little opening in the front to shoot through, as well as one in the back so we could see the background. This doesn't have to be expensive.

Edited to add: P.S. I forgot to tell you...that's a great website for tips on shooting jewelry! There's great information there.
10-03-2013, 11:53 PM   #25
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Yeah, I have a photo-tent we bought off ebay which came with the 2 tiny flood-lights. Cost about $35. That site was the bomb. We had been trying to acquire the list of equipment but in a less expensive way if at all possible. My husband found some very good prices on lighting on ebay the other night but we had no idea how they compared to the ones listed on that jewelry tip site. I also considered their jewelry photo class but they are in Santa Barbara and I'm in Vegas. :P

Today I woke with a major sinus infection/soar throat so I did nothing but nurse some tea and watch the insides of my eye-lids every now and then. :P I will be sure to take more pics using more advice and better equipment asap though!
10-04-2013, 07:12 AM   #26
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You had a few camera operation questions, you can download the manual here Operation Manuals Download : Support & Service | RICOH IMAGING for something easily searchable.

The self timer options are on page 117, the 2-second option is what you want. Unless you have a wireless remote, then use the 3 second wireless option.

White balance is page 143. You might want to try "Adjusting the White Balance Manually" on page 145, this will let you set up a custom white balance tuned to your lights. If you know the colour temperature of your lights, you could also choose a default close to that or use "Adjusting the White Balance with Color Temperature" (on page 147) to manual enter the colour temp.

Changing the f-stop, the rear e-dial does this. See page 87 and on. You should be using 'Manual' mode.

If you're having trouble with the jewelry moving, wait longer for it to settle. If you're still finding they are moving too much, increasing the iso a little to get a faster shutter isn't the worst thing to do when photographing small dangly things that a very sensitive to any vibrations in your house.

I'd suggest you keep the flash off, the difference in colour temperature between the flash and your lights will give you an added complication.

Use your light tent. That link you gave has handy setup-shots for you to emulate (though never photograph a turtle how they demonstrate Product Photography Tips). Make sure all White Balance adjustments should be made with the tent in place- ideally it shouldn't affect the colour temperature but they often do.

I'd use the maximum quality and resolution Jpeg (you may wish to use RAW mode later on, but jpeg is fine for now and you may always be happy with jpeg).

Metering small reflective things can be a little tricky. Ideally, you could spot meter off the highlights to get them where you want, but the highlights will be so tiny. You could use the spot meter to get the background to expose as white, then adjust from there. You can try the auto-bracketing to help you get the right exposure, but once you find it you should be one shot per piece. Ultimately you should get to know the lighting setups you use frequently and record the camera settings for them to make your setups easily reproducible.

I've no experience with built-in HDR, or Auto Highlight/Shadow correction. I'd probably turn all that jazz off as you're in a situation where you are controlling the lighting and you should be able to place the tones where you want them. Someone with a newer camera than mine can hopefully help you on this.

If this is the smallest thing you're photographing, imo you can do just fine with the kit lens. Perfecting your technique (which you're working diligently at) will have a much larger impact on the image quality than a dedicated macro lens will.

Hope you're feeling better
10-04-2013, 02:26 PM   #27
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Yeah, you should probably disable HDR. But if it costs you nothing, you can simply take an HDR shot and see how it looks. (in-camera HDR is only available when you shoot jpeg btw. You can use the bracketing function and then use computer HDR software, too, but meh)
The idea is that you should set up the lighting in such a way that there are no shadows on the jewellery, and that the detail is nice and clear. If you cannot get the light setup to achieve this, you can use a tripod and HDR instead, especially if the scene has parts that are too bright and too dark (like, dark shadows and bright sky). But the in-camera HDR can go overboard and makes the photo look greyish, so you dont want that.
Shadow and highlight correction are also not really needed when you have a controlled light. I sometimes enable these two when there is too much contrast in the scene, but if you shoot raw and know how to read the histogram, you should turn these off and just fix the exposure in post processing. If you shoot jpeg, just play with the settings until you get photo that looks good. And remember those settings.
10-05-2013, 06:08 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
Yeah, I have a photo-tent we bought off ebay which came with the 2 tiny flood-lights. Cost about $35. That site was the bomb. We had been trying to acquire the list of equipment but in a less expensive way if at all possible.

If you've got a light tent, then you're good to go. If I were you, I'd hold off on buying any more lighting equipment for the time being. Your tent and flood lights ought to get you 90% of the way to where you want to be. Sorry you're not feeling well. Hope you get better soon.
10-05-2013, 06:06 PM   #29
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You're working with glass so your best bet is to get as much light working through it as you can. I always get rid of the standard display backboards when I photograph stuff like this. I use acrylic stands or I just hang the pieces up with filament line so they can get the maximum amount of light. ON it is not what you want. Taking shots that way can show it off some but if you can get the light going THROUGH it, think Tiffany window, you can really make that kind of jewelry look gorgeous. Try suspending your pieces in the box sans any backdrop or display boards....
10-05-2013, 06:42 PM   #30
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Good Evening, A couple of years ago there was a thread here on jewelry photography that lasted several months. The person was just starting out and went through the entire learning curve. It might be an interesting read.....They also distilled everything from the thread that they learned in to a guide....They are using a 10 year old 6MP Pentax *ist and a M 50mm f1.4 lens.

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