Ok, as promised, following my workshop with my wedding photographer, I can reveal the following tips for photographing jewellery.
If possible always set your camera to manual setting found on the "creative set-up". He agreed with me that until I buy my macro lens, do not use the auto settings for macro, however we tried my camera with his macro lens and the manual set-up looked better than relying on the automatic macro set up. It was amazing to see the difference with a macro lens.
Set the ISO to automatic
First take a white balance and use this photo to set the custom white balance for the rest of the shoot. I was doing this incorrectly and getting yellow photos.
If like me, you do not have a fancy expensive light monitor, then buy photo quality grey card, this baffelled me, but the explanation comes. If you rely on the camera to set the exposure time, it lies!! And arn't we always told that the camera never lies?
This is why jewellery photos come out over-exposed: heres the techy bit...the camera expects to see 18% of grey colour in the shot, the fancy light monitors know this and accomodate appropriately. The camera will only work to how it is set up, if you take a shot on a white background the camera is still looking for grey colour of which there is too little. After you have set the white balance now fill the shot with the grey card from your photo supplier, for me it was 10 euro so expect to pay a little less.
Now adjust your exposure time to the position where the light balance is centred, and if you do not change any conditions, leave it. If you change anything, position of lighting, intensity of lighting, then you must reset the white balance and reset the lighting using the grey board.
This sets the camera perfectly to the conditions of light. We took brilliant photos in a studio without photo tent or diffused light. Just used a little of the white card to reduce the glare.
To play around with shaddows and light use the white reflective foam board
If you must use a coloured background it must complement the jewellery or the colour detracts from the article. A white background allows you to play with shaddows, and light better.
I enjoyed the time, and must now put it into prectise myself, so when I have worked out how to upload photos to the forum I will show you mine.
It was long, but hopefully helpful...
Poor old Les
Thank you for sharing that with us. I only have a compact camera with a macro function. Light balance is chosen by selecting Auto, Daylight, Fluorescent etc so I am not sure it has any way of memorising the grey card. I compensate for the white background by incresing the exposure value, but the results are only passable.
It is easy to post pix here if you select the 'Go Advanced' option and click on the paperclip, but it does not accept too many large files. Look forward to seeing your results,
kind regards, Dennis.