View Full Version : Camera For Jewellery.

21-08-2011, 06:51 PM
Hi Si,

Welcome to the forum. How would you like to jump into the deep end with a photography question:

I have a dedicated photography table with two banks of daylight fluorescents above and one optionally below. But as I know little about photography, I only have a Sony Cybershot compact, which has Magnifying glass, a Macro function and fairly simple programme options.

If wanted to improve my photographs, particularly the depth of focus and the colour cast on white backgrounds, what is the most basic camera set up I could leave fixed to my table, for jewellery only?

At present I set the White balance at +2.0EV but the background is still greenish. This is much improve if I use flash, but obviously gives unwanted reflections. Here are pictures from my album:

Regards, Dennis

21-08-2011, 07:05 PM
Hi Dennis,

For increased depth of focus you really need a camera with a macro lens. I use a Nikon DSLR fitted with a 60mm Micro Nikkor lens. This lens has a minimum aperture of f32. which is great for the increased depth of focus on close up photos, but this type of photography comes at a cost. If you are wanting a digital compact then look at the Lumix LX5 or the Lumix FZ45, the LX5 has the best lens but the FZ45 is a great all rounder, both have Leica lenses. For fixing the greenish background colour invest in a decent Photoshop program. I use Photoshop 7.

21-08-2011, 08:48 PM
I use a fairly ancient canon G5. It has a macro setting and I disable the flash. for the bigger stuff I use a light cube and lights, but for my smaller stuff and ebay photos I use an ice cream carton with a hole cut in it and a sheet of cartridge paper. Those pictures are more about showing the condition of the item though and not about making an artistic presentation. I really recommend using a tripod.

I have an iMac so use the software on iPhoto if I need to adjust the balance. Generally the colour comes out ok, but what I do is adjust the exposure to slightly over expose and also reduce the colour saturation a smidge if I get a pinkish cast to the silver. I find photoshop very slow and convoluted to use but i have a really old version which for various reasons cannot be updated.

22-08-2011, 06:33 AM
Thank you for your input, James and Liz.

I was within a whisker of ordering an LX5, which seemed more within my ability and price range, when I read in a review that the comparable Canon has better colour reproduction. All this conflicting advice is making me uncertain.

I do tinker with my pictures using Photoshop Elements 9, choosing the guided option, but when I try to correct colour cast: ‘Click on an area that should be pure white, pure black, or pure grey’, the result is mostly worse. So I shall have to get help with that.

My camera has Steady Shot, is fixed to the table with an adjustable clamp and I use the 2 second timer just to be sure, so I don’t think shake is a problem.
My real problem is that, as I don’t sell anything, all this is just for vanity.

Regards, Dennis.

22-08-2011, 12:24 PM
Dennis I took a couple of test photos for you to compare, they are some stones, spread out about 2 inches from front to back and laid on grey card
on a window sill in sunlight. One photo was taken using my Nikon DSLR fitted with a Nikkor 60mm. Micro lens set at aperture f32, camera and lens cost me over 1000. The other photo was taken with my recently purchased Lumix FZ45, set on aperture priority and f8, this camera is on sale at amazon for 238.60. I think you will see how good the Lumix is for it's cost.


22-08-2011, 03:46 PM
if it's mostly correcting the colour cast, you should be able to sort that by increasing the exposure slightly and desaturating the colour. Apparently gimp is much easier than photoshop if you don't have a mac and access to iPhoto.

All my stuff is taken on an ancient old camera using the auto programme and it's looks pretty good, I think...

22-08-2011, 09:02 PM
Thank you James, that is very helpful, but in my book the Nikon wins hands down for clarity of colour, unless the light was changing.

Liz, I can only increase my present exposure by raising the EV and the maximum is +2.0, so I think a programme which tinkers with the background is my only further option. On top of that, this spell checker wants me to talk American and I won't do it. Dennis.

26-09-2011, 04:09 PM
Hi Dennis,
I have choices of light source on my camera so it could be for example daylight, overcast, tungsten, halogen etc. Choosing the appropriate setting will correct the white balance. But most of the time I leave this in auto as its pretty good.

I strongly recommend a lightcube they are brilliant with daylamps and can provide consistent results anytime of day.

Composition is a massive part of getting good results, for example:
You have a translucent bust with a pale background. You could have a black background and that would bring more vibrancy to the bust. It will also make the metallic properties of the jewellery piece stand out further.

Post production is important to, for example:
For this I would boost up the exposure to make the item appear more vibrant and white out the background. Many of your pics 'white' is actually blue giving it a cooler feeling. You can post edit and add some warmth there.

26-09-2011, 05:33 PM
Thank you for your advice, Arborvita. I note what you say, but my pictures are taken on a table top digital studio from Technical Lamps, which is provided with three banks of daylight fluorescents. I have found as you do, that the white balance is best on automatic, but to counter the blue-green cast, which is how my camera sees white, I can only increase the OEV up to +2.0.

I have considered a new camera, but all the advice I have read appears to be conflicting. In the mean time you will find in my future posts that I shall add some colour to offset the problem with white. Also I have no ambition to be mistaken for a High Street Jeweller, so I shall make a determined effort to do without those display stands. Kind regards, Dennis.

22-12-2011, 10:10 PM
The green colour cast is from the flourescents.

Instead go for simple cheap halogen bulb desk lamps, try Argos.

Get two, one for either side. Make a large tube out of tissue paper and then place a thin piece of tissue on top to cover over the large hole.

Pop this over the item you want to photograph which can be placed on a white piece of paper and cut a round hole just large enough for the lens to poke through in the side. Place one light either side of this.

The tissue paper acts as a large diffuser so you don't get harsh shadows.

If you have a custom white balance then set this without the jewellery in position and add +1 to +2 exposure compensation.

Hope this helps


23-12-2011, 11:40 AM
Hi Andrew, Happy Christmas. The fluorescents are special photographic ones supplied with my table-top studio and not generally available. I have recently bought a better camera, so hope you will see improvements in my pictures as I come to grips with it. Regards, Dennis.