Product shots

Started Sep 23, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Re: Product shots
In reply to Will R, Feb 11, 2011

Jewelry can indeed be a real headache. It's not something that one can learn to shoot a very short period of time. There's a lot of hands on trial n error required, especially because each type of jewelry (or even each peice winin a set) can require a different setup and create a unique glare-response approach.

The main problem and/or issue is often created because folks suddenly decide that they are going to DO a 'jewelry' shoot (for a variety of reasons)....when they don't actually have any real experience in doing it...and then end up scrambling, trying to cram a whole bunch of learning into a very short amount of time.

IF you are new to this...I also recommend that you use a continuous FL lighting it will just be easier/quicker to get a hang of the basics. For 'static' still-life, a WYSIWYG approach, I feel, is the best way to go. I've been using it since 1972.

Small jewelry items don't require that much lighting. Usually, 300W (tung equiv) per head is enough. You should use at least 3 lights, and also a sparkler-bulb (for gemstones...or a small shiny-reflector on the front of subject, etc.

All lighting should be 'diffused' of course. The idea is to completely control the glare threshold...but not create a flat or sterile image. Hence, it will also be necessary to introject shadow content and exterior environment influences too.

As mentioned, I also prefer the 'real' glass method (with a coloured underlay and/or lighting) plexiglas (whilst it does produce a nice natural reflection) can be an absolutel pig to keep dust/lint free and always requires a ton of pp cleanup.

IF you want to use a proper an optical-mirror, they are expensive, but don't create the double image reflection that an ordinary house product does.

You can go the complete CS5 route (all depending upon the subject matter) as I do some times...altho, be forewarned (before you spend loads of hours at it)...jewely "extraction" can be some of the most challenging...simply because of the commonplace blending of shadow regions between subject and background.

Often one will need to layer mask each image multiple times and re-blur edging (after cutout) etc... and all the rest of it.

On occassion, I resort to NX2 and use the "selection" control point masking (which doesn't create a true layer mask like in CS5)...but it does allow one to "blend" edges rather well.

Here's a couple of examples:

Here's a few silver peices (from a set of 50) that I recently took for a local artist. Just taken on simple black's not high-end of course, but neither was the price

I also suggest that you use a 'geared head' it's so much better for any precision adjustments than a ballhead....shoot ISO 50 or 100, and of course use a shutter remote. When I'm not 'stacking' images I regularly shoot still-life in the f/16 - f/22 range.

I hope this helps...


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