Product shots

Started Sep 23, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Will R
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Product shots
Sep 23, 2010

The subject is a real headache - silver jewellery with clear & translucent gemstones. I'd say these items run a tonal range of about 5 or 6 stops from the dark stones / shadows in the silver through to the highlights in clear (rock crystal) faceted stones.

The brief is to shoot against a white background so they'll look good on the web.

I'm struggling to get a 'photographic' solution to this. If I overexpose the background enough to get pure white there, I invariably blow the highlights in the main subject. What we usually get for a correctly exposed necklace (using the in-camera spot meter) is the cliched light grey background.

I've tried lighting a reflective white background strongly and tyring to isolate the subject jewellery in front of this with secondary illumination but I'm not sure I'm getting enough light on the background alone to saturate the background completely.

If I backlight strongly through a translucent background, (like a lightbox) I tend to get unnatural illumination through the translucent stones.

I don't want to spend lots of money on equipment. I've got 2 Canon 580 speedlights and also 500 watts of daylight flourescent continuous light. Although no proper studio lighting, surely this is enough light to work with?

Someone suggested a software solution: shooting on a high contrast coloured background and post-producing (Photoshop or similar) to swap that colour for white but that's time consuming and I've got 50+ images to work on...

It must be possible to achieve what I'm trying to do without a full studio setup and / or post-production / HDR techniques?

I consider myself a photographer with reasonable understanding of the core principles but this is getting to me. Any suggestions / advice are very welcome!

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