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12-29-2013, 05:58 PM   #46
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@TaoMaas, Thanks so much for your encouraging comment! Yeah it took so long as I threw my back out and in the course of healing I found that my computer chair became my nemesis!

@crewl1, Thanks for helping me with your suggestions! I will indeed try f16 and look into the focus stacking techniques! For those I posted most recently, I had been using F5.6 to F8 with an ISO of 100, 200, and higher just to see any differences. The software that came with the K-30 has been the processing software I've been using and that was just to lighten, sharpen, and add contrast to the pics. :P But my goal is to get more of the item into focus instead of one pinpoint being clear and the rest being blurred. Which in some cases is nice but in most others, isn't so desired! So thanks, I'll look into that and the video is very informative for being only 4+ minutes long! I am grateful for your effort to help me! In the video when he sets the first dial to M (manual) he then goes to the side of the camera and turns the AF.S, AF.C. and MF toggle to MF. THIS MAY BE WHERE I'VE GONE SO WRONG! I never set that side toggle to MF and I won't be sure where I set it at until I march downstairs to see! I suspect it's set on one of the AF options as the camera goes in and out automatically when I hit the "take-a-picture-button". EUREKA! Photo-stacking seems very awesome as well as intense! I like the idea of Helicon Software's ease. Taking somewhere between 6 and 30 shots at even intervals is something I think I'll need to baby-step into at this point in time. Thanks for your help and posting that awesome video about focus stacking! I'm so very grateful for your helps!

@sterretje I am using the tripod and the 2 second timer. I don't have a remote but I will need to see if my shake reduction is turned on or off to be sure. I thought I'd had it off. :P I AM using manual focus but there are a couple of inner-menu switches I'm not sure about that say AF-E or something to that effect that I suspect has to do with focus. I'm using the lens that came with the K-30 that has the best macro-type view but still having trouble getting up close with many shots recently. I think the cause was the ISO was too high at the time. I have since turned the ISO down and was able to magnify closer to an item. The only reason I didn't stay with an F/8 or f/11 is in the view window it brought down the lighting so much that I figured I'd stick with f/5.6 or f/6 as that kept the object lit well according to the monitor. I will change this and try your suggestion however, hoping that the silky pix software will lighten it up optimally! Thanks so very much for your time and expertise... and the compliment on my stuff. All of you guys are so nice and helpful! I'm STILL blown away by that! :P

@interested_observer OMG you're phsycic! I AM shooting at f5.6 and using the lens 18mm-55mm at ISO 1600! WHOA! I'm blown away! Today before logging on and reading these posts, I was shooting and turned my ISO down to 200 though. I tried to go higher on the F-stop but it brought the light down so much in the viewing window so I thought I'd done something bad there.
I will do the ISO at 100 as you've suggested. And I went to the link for:

MTF (resolution)
The resolution characteristic of the Pentax lens is a little bit of a mixed bag. At 18mm the center performance is excellent, the borders are also fine but the extreme borders are somewhat soft and stopping down doesn't really resolve the problems (in the focus plane). At large aperture settings the lens suffers from low contrast but this is resolved by f/5.6. At 35mm and 55mm the resolution is very good to excellent even at large apertures.

Thanks for explaining all of this to me! I shall brave it out and set out to redo them using f/8! Those charts were very helpful but even more so because you helped walk me thru them! So thanks for that!

Re: Depth of field: I got what you are saying and will do exactly this! I was shooting the necklaces on the form from about a foot away, and the close-up shots were about 5 to 6 inches. I was not aware there was a formula and so this will help me immensely! (ie, shoot wide (18mm @ f8) with your large pieces, and shoot narrow (55mm @ f11) for your very small items).

Re: Manual Focus, I had the dial on M for manual focus but for some reason when I pushed the button to take the pic, it'd go in and out and settle on it's focus and so being such an amateur, I thought this was manually focusing but suspected I may be way off on that. I saw the Focus Peaking ability on one of the inner-menu options but I think I have it turned off. If this is the case, I'll turn it back on. I have the manual but like I mentioned before I pretty much threw it out the window as I could not understand a lot of it and I even read every line of the Table of Contents! lol Thanks for pointing out the page!

Now, by "LIVE VIEW". Since I've no idea if I am or am not using it, I will tell you the procedure I'm using. After setting up the shot, and the MENU button has been initiated to tell me the F-stop, ISO, EQ level, etc... I hit the small round button on the upper left of my camera which I gives me a view of the items I set up. Once that is hit, I rotate the lens to get the distance and then lightly put pressure on the trigger (button that takes the pic) and I watch the lens move slightly in and out to focus, then I press a bit harder to take the shot. It pauses for 2 seconds and then takes the shot which appears in the view monitor for a few seconds so I can see what the shot looked like. The dial to the right of the flash cradle is on M but I'm not sure if something in the inner-menu settings has been initiating an auto-focusing act. :P

UPDATE RE MANUAL FOCUS: I just watched a video above about Focus-stacking and in the video when he sets the first dial to M (manual) he then goes to the side of the camera and turns the AF.S, AF.C. and MF toggle to MF. THIS MAY BE WHERE I'VE GONE SO TERRIBLY WRONG! I never set that side toggle to MF and I won't be sure where it's set at until I march downstairs to see! I suspect it's set on one of the AF options as the camera goes in and out automatically when I hit the "take-a-picture-button". EUREKA!

As you can probably guess I'm a guppy in a sea of experts and this guppy is SOOOO very grateful for your help and suggestions! I am so elated that you took the time to do so much for me! You really freaked me out about getting all my settings that I was using right though and now I'm wondering if I have a neuron-transmitter secretly planted in my head or something. lol

@Mactaus Wow thanks for the suggestion! I love the idea about using certain stone! I do have some Burgundy velvet material I bought for certain shots but I've not used. I'll play around with the background for sure! For now I'm stuck using the 18mm-55mm lens that came with the camera as I've siphoned as much money out of my poor hard-working husband as one could possibly suck out of one human ATM! But I'll keep in mind the lens options out there for sure! Thanks so much for your time and effort in helping me hone the shots for my goal to sell my stuff on etsy.com! I will try the above suggestions and see if I even need a better lens or see if I might be able to squeeze by with what I have on hand for the time being.

@previous posters such as rbefly, TaoMaas & normhead Thanks for posting and I have read them but I'm sorry I did not respond.

@normhead, OMGosh! Your lightbox is the bomb! The concept of having light come in from below for gemstones is certainly something I'm going to delicately steal from you! lol I'd been wondering in back of my mind how I could somehow get light coming through the transluscent jewels without the light blinding me or the lens! Wow! Stupendous idea and work! Once I get some funds coming in (hubby refuses to "donate" any more to my cause... for the time being muahaha), I'll have to get some materials like those you showed in your pics and see what I can do!

@ all of you, You guys and gals have really created a monster in me! I want to drink it all in and do my best to recompense you for your time and efforts to teach me! I just... "HALLMARK MOMENT".... wish I could convey just how grateful I am for all your hard work and helps! I'm getting verklempt now, and I'm not even Jewish! Thanks again and I'll try to post more as soon as possible after I make the suggested changes that will start my photography career...yep that's right, perhaps I will throw aside the jewelry and do photography by the time you're done with me! lol Just messin' with ya! Later once I'm done, I'm planning on asking you all how to take photos of my artwork! uh oh.. RUN! heee heee


Last edited by donya; 12-29-2013 at 06:00 PM. Reason: mis-spelled shake as shack :P
12-29-2013, 06:14 PM   #47
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A PS question: Do I want to toggle ON the Auto Distortion Correction option? Just been wondering that every once in a while when I come across that option in the menu. :P I didn't know if this would help the focus area or not. No obligation to answer this one for now, just wanted to put that out there in case it was an easy to answer inquiry. HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR! We just discovered Lambic. A double-fermented beer with black cherries used in the later fermentations and it's THEEEE Bomb! Comes in a larger bottle and is both corked and capped but costs about $10 a bottle. Oh it's so worth trying if you ever want to experience beer-bliss! Remember not to drive drunk nor text drunk! :P God's blessings to every one of you for a safe celebration!
12-29-2013, 08:08 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
Re: Manual Focus, I had the dial on M for manual focus but for some reason when I pushed the button to take the pic, it'd go in and out and settle on it's focus and so being such an amateur, I thought this was manually focusing but suspected I may be way off on that.
The M on the top dial is for "manual", but it's "manual exposure". To set your camera to manual focus, you have to change the dial on the side that has AF-S, AF-C, M, etc... The M on that dial is the one for manual focus. If you haven't changed that one, that's why your lens is still auto-focusing.
12-30-2013, 11:58 AM   #49
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QuoteQuote:
OMG you're phsycic! I AM shooting at f5.6 and using the lens 18mm-55mm at ISO 1600! WHOA! I'm blown away!
Not physicic at all. There is a free software utility called PhotoMe that extracts all of this information that is buried within the image's file. If you would have posted the original file, I could have told you the temperature inside your house (there is a temperature probe on the sensor taking this measurement). PS - Your lipstick is smudged.Here is an external wired shutter release. They are all the same - all the Pentax models use the same plug connector. It plugs in to the socket under the door under the SD card door on the right side of the camera.I had one from China for $1.99, but it only lasted a couple of months. Hopefully this one is a bit better.

Photography is a set of compromises. Its like playing wack-a-mole. Hit it here and it pops up over there.

I am not one for product photography. I am a systems engineer, so all of this is just a problem to solve. My wife tells me I have no eye or artistic talent for anything. That said, lighting is everything. Here are a few items that may help as you go along.So here is a secret. I go to google - search for something like photographing jewelry. I get the list. Then I click on images (up at the top - too slow to search through the links - show me pictures) and it lists all the images that it found that sort of matched. Then, I looked for diagrams of the type of stuff you are doing. Clicked on the image (I am using firefox, and it bring up a larger image. I click on it again and it takes me to the website. So, the list above was about 3 minutes of effort - by just knowing how to manipulate the various tools.The Live View Button - its the (LV) button on the rear of the camera - upper left hand corner next to the viewfinder. See page 20 and 24 of the manual. It will help immensely with focusing. Also put the camera in focus peaking (page 105 and 109). As you focus, it will put little dots around the area that is in focus. You can also zoom in on the area by pushing the OK and the arrow keys.


12-30-2013, 07:40 PM   #50
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One additional point -- If you're going to be photographing sparklies, it's worth getting a couple of full spectrum halogen MR-16 bulbs that will work with a gooseneck style lamp. They're fairly cheap (well, cheap compared to photography equipment, I suppose, a $10-12 lightbulb is rather expensive as lightbulbs go).

Those are the bulbs that jewelry stores use (usually in track lighting) to make their diamonds look so incredible in the display cases.

Something like this: Eiko 35001 - 35 Watt - MR16 - SoLux - 4700 Kelvin - Narrow Spot - Glass Face - 4,000 Life Hours - Full Spectrum - 12 Volt | 1000Bulbs.com

*edit* If you live anywhere near an Ikea, these actually work really well, too, and they're super cheap:
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20169658/
although on there it says that they're warm white LEDs and the ones I have seem to be much cooler. Maybe they changed. *shrug*

Last edited by narual; 12-30-2013 at 07:53 PM.
12-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by donya Quote
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
That's the same site I used for reference when I was photographing the engagement ring I had made for my wife (well, girlfriend at the time)
My desk is a translucent white glass desktop from Ikea, which made a perfect surface for doing the sort of thing he was talking about:



12-30-2013, 08:48 PM   #52
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Hi

Consider using a highly polished black surface on which to set up some of the items. Some of the glass or crystal pieces appear to me very suitable for this.

Then in addition to your main lighting, set up a small mirror behind the item in such a way so it will be in an angle to the lens and outside the framing. Then use a spot light and aim it at the mirror so it will reflect some light through the glass/crystal from the back. This will bring out some nice sparkle in the piece.

Lastly, what any potential clients want to see before even looking at the price are two things: firstly detail and secondly detail. I think you know what I mean.

A good way to judge your photos and find out if they will entice people to buy is to swap roles and become the buyer and see if you would put the item in the shopping basket on the account your images.

Greetings
12-30-2013, 11:55 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Not physicic at all. There is a free software utility called PhotoMe that extracts all of this information that is buried within the image's file. If you would have posted the original file, I could have told you the temperature inside your house (there is a temperature probe on the sensor taking this measurement). PS - Your lipstick is smudged.
LOL!!!! <.<
>.>
O.O *Runs downstairs to do the dishes, shut the laundry room door, and dust!*

12-30-2013, 11:56 PM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
The M on the top dial is for "manual", but it's "manual exposure". To set your camera to manual focus, you have to change the dial on the side that has AF-S, AF-C, M, etc... The M on that dial is the one for manual focus. If you haven't changed that one, that's why your lens is still auto-focusing.
I checked and it was set on the first one AF.C not on manual at all :P duh huh huh... ugh! lol So we got THAT one solved! lol Thanks TaoMaas!
12-31-2013, 12:06 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Not physicic at all. There is a free software utility called PhotoMe that extracts all of this information that is buried within the image's file. If you would have posted the original file, I could have told you the temperature inside your house (there is a temperature probe on the sensor taking this measurement). PS - Your lipstick is smudged.Here is an external wired shutter release. They are all the same - all the Pentax models use the same plug connector. It plugs in to the socket under the door under the SD card door on the right side of the camera.I had one from China for $1.99, but it only lasted a couple of months. Hopefully this one is a bit better.

Photography is a set of compromises. Its like playing wack-a-mole. Hit it here and it pops up over there.

I am not one for product photography. I am a systems engineer, so all of this is just a problem to solve. My wife tells me I have no eye or artistic talent for anything. That said, lighting is everything. Here are a few items that may help as you go along.So here is a secret. I go to google - search for something like photographing jewelry. I get the list. Then I click on images (up at the top - too slow to search through the links - show me pictures) and it lists all the images that it found that sort of matched. Then, I looked for diagrams of the type of stuff you are doing. Clicked on the image (I am using firefox, and it bring up a larger image. I click on it again and it takes me to the website. So, the list above was about 3 minutes of effort - by just knowing how to manipulate the various tools.The Live View Button - its the (LV) button on the rear of the camera - upper left hand corner next to the viewfinder. See page 20 and 24 of the manual. It will help immensely with focusing. Also put the camera in focus peaking (page 105 and 109). As you focus, it will put little dots around the area that is in focus. You can also zoom in on the area by pushing the OK and the arrow keys.
Omgosh some of those jewelry images are masterful! I'm a smudge in a sea of ink! Wow wee! I think I was excited to get from orangy-yellowish shadowy pics of my first tries to the ones I most recently posted, boy am I still way off! lol Thanks so much for your pointers on google searches (i also have mozilla firefox), and for the links! All your help is so appreciated! I will NEVER under estimate the power of a forum ever again! Btw, the comment your wife says? Well we have to say things like that once in a while or you big macho men of ours will begin to get too big for your own britches! lol J/K I saw some of your photos and I would have to say that your wife is playing with you. I'm sure she values your talents and artistry! Very kind of you to share your expertise and whack-a-mole theories. Makes me feel a heck of a lot better knowing it is more of a problem-solving quest rather than a 1 + 1 = 2 and if you don't get 2 then you're outta here!
12-31-2013, 12:09 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
One additional point -- If you're going to be photographing sparklies, it's worth getting a couple of full spectrum halogen MR-16 bulbs that will work with a gooseneck style lamp. They're fairly cheap (well, cheap compared to photography equipment, I suppose, a $10-12 lightbulb is rather expensive as lightbulbs go).

Those are the bulbs that jewelry stores use (usually in track lighting) to make their diamonds look so incredible in the display cases.

Something like this: Eiko 35001 - 35 Watt - MR16 - SoLux - 4700 Kelvin - Narrow Spot - Glass Face - 4,000 Life Hours - Full Spectrum - 12 Volt | 1000Bulbs.com

*edit* If you live anywhere near an Ikea, these actually work really well, too, and they're super cheap:
JANSJÖ LED work lamp - black - IKEA
although on there it says that they're warm white LEDs and the ones I have seem to be much cooler. Maybe they changed. *shrug*
Wow okay very cool tip! I'll seek out these very bulbs and endeavor to create optimal photos for my sparklies! Gosh, this entire Pentax forum experience has really brought home a feeling of starting out on a grand journey into success! I really am so very grateful! You pentax people are so intelligent and kind! Thanks for that!

PS: Those engagement ring pics are sooo what I'd like my results to look like! Wow! Great job! Glad she said yes! eeep! (sorry, female auto-response took over!)

Last edited by donya; 12-31-2013 at 12:12 AM. Reason: added PS
12-31-2013, 12:15 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schraubstock Quote
Hi

Consider using a highly polished black surface on which to set up some of the items. Some of the glass or crystal pieces appear to me very suitable for this.

Then in addition to your main lighting, set up a small mirror behind the item in such a way so it will be in an angle to the lens and outside the framing. Then use a spot light and aim it at the mirror so it will reflect some light through the glass/crystal from the back. This will bring out some nice sparkle in the piece.

Lastly, what any potential clients want to see before even looking at the price are two things: firstly detail and secondly detail. I think you know what I mean.

A good way to judge your photos and find out if they will entice people to buy is to swap roles and become the buyer and see if you would put the item in the shopping basket on the account your images.

Greetings
Very wise suggestions and pointers! I hear and obey! Thanks so much for your input! I am very very grateful and cannot wait to get all these tips printed out to take downstairs to my dining room studio! I can't wait til I've got something so much better to show you guys for your efforts and time! I am on top of the world in awe of your helps! I'm truly blessed through you all! Thanks!
12-31-2013, 12:23 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
That's the same site I used for reference when I was photographing the engagement ring I had made for my wife (well, girlfriend at the time)
My desk is a translucent white glass desktop from Ikea, which made a perfect surface for doing the sort of thing he was talking about:


Sorry JC but there is absolutely no sparkle in the diamonds and I can only conclude that the lighting was poor. Diamond photography requires narrow beam spotlight and reflectors strategically placed to scatter light.

Please do not feel offended but it is not a good example.

Greetings
01-12-2014, 07:39 PM   #59
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Hey guys!

This evening I was logging onto my favorite Bead supplier and found that they had a Photography Tips page! Here is the link and some of what they suggest for pointers. Photography Tips - Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

They have a video and a suggestion on setting up also but I wanted to paste this section in case there are others out there looking for somewhere to start for photographing your jewelry products in order to post them online:

Recommended Digital Camera Settings:

  • Always disable your camera's flash. Let the desk lamp lighting do the work.
  • Your digital camera should be set on the highest quality image setting possible.
  • If you have trouble getting your camera to focus clearly on a small object, you may need to use the macro mode of your digital camera. (This mode is commonly designated by a flower symbol on your camera settings menu.) If your camera is a regular film camera, you may need to use a macro or "close-up" lens.
  • Use manual focus if your shots are often blurry.
  • If your pictures are turning out too dark, try using an "exposure compensation" setting, usually represented by a +/- symbol on digital cameras. +1 is a good starting point on a white background.
  • If you're working with particularly shiny items like crystal and sterling silver, move the diffusion surface and light closer to the object, experiment with mirrors, or a strip of black poster board at the bottom of the diffusion surface (outside of the set) to create a soft shadow over the piece.
  • To control the reflection of flat metals, tilt them away from the light source.
  • Use a cable release or self-timer to reduce camera shake, even when you are using a tripod, in low exposure situations, camera shake can occur when you press the trigger.
  • When styling your jewelry, use jewelry displays that show how the piece naturally hangs.
Additional Information:This link offers other information and tips, so I took the liberty in copy/pasting that link here. I still am so very grateful to you all. Interested_Observer, you rock! Thanks for going above and beyond for me! I'll never forget your kindness!
01-13-2014, 08:42 AM   #60
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donya,

There are some useful tips from ganoksin jewelry site.

[Ganoksin] Jewelry Making - Basic lighting options for jewelery and small object photography

Tips from the Jeweler's Bench Article Archive - Ganoksin

A couple of years ago, when I started making jewelry, I read those articles, built absolutely simple (primitive!) light box from paper, used cheap p&s camera, auto setting (because I did not know anything better) and here was the result without any editing, just cropping. It looks funny to me now, but it's not a point. You can master your presentation with light box much better than me about 8 years ago.

Last edited by micromacro; 11-28-2014 at 05:49 PM.
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