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View Full Version : Right, had another go at this photography thing...



ShinyLauren
23-07-2015, 01:15 PM
In the ongoing battle that is photographing silver on a light background, here are some of my latest attempts:

Constructive criticism very much welcomed. I'm so used to looking at (and editing) my jewellery photographs with a dark background, anything else just looks all wrong to me!

7949 7950 7951 7952 7953

Is the silver too overexposed? Or too dark? I have no idea!

I like my dark backgrounds. The world sadly disagrees. I hate it when I'm wrong!

Lucie
23-07-2015, 01:27 PM
These are great. What do you edit in?
Having something in the background works really well - using plain white gives no perspective at all. I prefer the images with a splash of colour.
You could try "sharpening" the entire image - this would be the easiest way to draw the image out.

Are you using the photography box now?

Tabby66
23-07-2015, 01:33 PM
Oh Lauren, I'm with you every time on black backgrounds for shiny silver stuff!! Not only because it does tend to be slightly easier to photograph against, but I actually think that silver looks better against a black background!! But hey, what do I know!!!!

I can't offer any suggestions of how to improve your images, but I can offer a couple of observations for what it's worth. Love the set-up of the pictures, especially the way that you have displayed the stud earrings. Not sure about the second image, just because it's all white I think (though I am currently going down the all white background route myself!!) In the 3rd image, the definition of the middle edges of your piece are lost against the white, unfortunately, I haven't got a clue how to remedy this, your photography skills and knowledge have always far exceeded mine!!

They're lovely images overall and give a clear impression of the pieces.....I wish I could achieve something half so good myself!!

Lucie
23-07-2015, 01:40 PM
Increased definition is often achieved in something like Photoshop or Gimp. So although it's important to have a good initial image (you can't define details that aren't there), this has nothing to do with your camera or set up.
I'd be dead pleased if any of these were my pre-edits :)

I hope you don't take offense at this - I know photographs can be very personal. It was really just to show you. Can you see any difference?

7954

7955

CJ57
23-07-2015, 02:32 PM
I'm with you about darker back grounds or at least daylight. I have a bright light problem with my eyes so every time someone posts one of their super smart light box photos very often I just don't see the detail of the piece

Those must be your iced gems Lauren :)

ShinyLauren
23-07-2015, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the input everyone - it's really helpful. Caroline, I think I have the same issue with bright light!

Jill, I know what you mean about the definition being lost. I'm shooting on a light panel to get the background as white as possible, but anything close to the light just blends into it when it's shiny!

Lucie, no offence taken at all - thanks for helping! I use Lightroom to edit. I did sharpen the images, but then I amped up the noise reduction to smooth out any imperfections and I think I overdid it and blurred the detail too much! I'll have another go.

caroleallen
23-07-2015, 02:52 PM
I love them Lauren. I also know nothing about photography. The only thing I thought was that although I liked the colour, I couldn't make out what it was and it did take my attention away a bit from the piece. That's probably just me though. I could see quite a difference with Lucie's edit.

I always underexpose my images because I read somewhere that people like images to be really light. I don't have Photoshop (well I do but I don't have a CD drive on my new Mac, so can't install it). I use the Mac Photo editing system and it's really really easy, but doesn't do everything.

ShinyLauren
23-07-2015, 03:46 PM
Right, so more sharpening, less smoothing and maybe lighten the coloured props a bit.

I think I might have to open up the dreaded Photoshop!

Will post back later when I've had another go :)

Carole that makes sense about people liking lighter images - I exposed for what I (and the camera) thought was right, but then compared the images to standard white background jewellery shots online and mine looked super-dark in comparison!

Thanks again for the help everyone. I will crack this eventually!

Goldsmith
23-07-2015, 03:47 PM
I know most of my photos are of gold items, but I have had most success when taking photos with a grey card background, I bend it in a slight arc and use another piece of card to cast a slight shadow behind the item. Although most of my photography was taken with film cameras as the digital age had not started when I was taking photos of my work. one tip I always suggest is that you set the camera at aperture priority, mount it on a tripod, and set the cameras aperture to it's highest number my best lens can be set at f32, which is ideal for close up photography. If you didn't know the smaller the aperture (the highest number) gives you the greatest depth of field in focus, so on Lauren's photos the chain could be in focus also.

These were taken on grey card.
79567957


James

ShinyLauren
23-07-2015, 04:05 PM
I like the grey James, but everyone demands white sadly. If I could get away with grey it would be much easier!

I have a tripod and a macro lens. I've tried using F32, but I have found I prefer the way it looks when the chain is out of focus on a necklace. I use a higher aperture for things like rings and bangles though.

ajda
23-07-2015, 04:51 PM
I like the grey James, but everyone demands white sadly. If I could get away with grey it would be much easier!
I don't understand that. Who decides? Are your photos for a 3rd party publication or your own use? I'm not a fan of the bare white background for silver. If it has to be white, added elements with a bit of colour perhaps help - but, as Carole said, what you've used (is it glass rods?) might be drawing attention away from the jewellery itself. Possibly recognisable items might be better, possibly matt/textured rather than shiny, eg fabric, stone, wood...? But what do I know - my photography skills are pretty low level!

Lucie
23-07-2015, 05:03 PM
You could give Gimp a go - It's open source so you don't have to do much searching to find instructions.

It's great to fiddle around with.
Here's another one. I ramped the sharpening right up. You have to be really careful they don't start looking to cut out though!
7958

Unfortunately, every major publication that has approached me lately has demanded white or "lifestyle".

trialuser
23-07-2015, 05:09 PM
Lovely, and in my opinion to make them more so -
A tad less noise reduction, they do look slightly soft and I can't imagine noise will be an issue at the size you are likely to be using them. And a bees knees more depth of field but maintaining the defocused background, bring the plane of focus slightly forward if necessary.
It may be easier to control if you shoot with 'excess' depth of field and blur the background on a gradient in photoshop. (tilt shifting)
I am only nit picking though in the interest of the new found forum constructive criticism policy.
Watch out mcvities don't come after you though :-)
ŽIced Gems is the registered Trade Mark of United Biscuits (UK) Limited (UK) and Jacobs Fruitfield Limited (Eire).

Tabby66
23-07-2015, 09:53 PM
I like that last image you've posted Lauren, I think it's a definite improvement in showing the detail. As I said, my photographic/editing skills are very limited and my understanding of the guidance being given is also somewhat limited.....further reading needed methinks!!

I'm afraid that a lot of online galleries, fairs for catalogue/promotional material, magazines, etc., etc. require white backgrounds (much to my disdain).

Wallace
24-07-2015, 08:23 AM
You make amazing things Lauren.

Photos, white backgrounds for publishing purposes (industry standards are fine, if that is what it takes???)

I do an occasional white background, but have found for FB that there is more engagement (which means more chances of a sale, when the photo/s are done with props and not always using a white background). I am no photographer, but I do understand my page stats and look at what is working, or not, with the photos I do. Not much help from me, but I did just want to say how amazing your pieces are.

ShinyLauren
24-07-2015, 10:19 AM
I don't understand that. Who decides? Are your photos for a 3rd party publication or your own use? I'm not a fan of the bare white background for silver. If it has to be white, added elements with a bit of colour perhaps help - but, as Carole said, what you've used (is it glass rods?) might be drawing attention away from the jewellery itself. Possibly recognisable items might be better, possibly matt/textured rather than shiny, eg fabric, stone, wood...? But what do I know - my photography skills are pretty low level!

I'd like to start selling through other websites, which all demand white background/lifestyle shot. Boooo. I've seen a lot of jewellery photography done with fabric, paper, wood etc, and they look lovely, I was just trying to do something different, which is probably where I always go wrong and how I ended up with dark backgrounds in the first place!


You could give Gimp a go - It's open source so you don't have to do much searching to find instructions.

It's great to fiddle around with.
Here's another one. I ramped the sharpening right up. You have to be really careful they don't start looking to cut out though!
7958

Unfortunately, every major publication that has approached me lately has demanded white or "lifestyle".

Thanks Lucie :) I like the super-sharp one, but I'm trying to still go for a slightly 'airbrushed' look if that makes sense, so don't want to up the sharpening too much.

ShinyLauren
24-07-2015, 10:20 AM
Lovely, and in my opinion to make them more so -
A tad less noise reduction, they do look slightly soft and I can't imagine noise will be an issue at the size you are likely to be using them. And a bees knees more depth of field but maintaining the defocused background, bring the plane of focus slightly forward if necessary.
It may be easier to control if you shoot with 'excess' depth of field and blur the background on a gradient in photoshop. (tilt shifting)
I am only nit picking though in the interest of the new found forum constructive criticism policy.
Watch out mcvities don't come after you though :-)
ŽIced Gems is the registered Trade Mark of United Biscuits (UK) Limited (UK) and Jacobs Fruitfield Limited (Eire).

I am liking the constructive criticism - that's why I posted the pictures. I need help!

I did worry about the iced gem thing, but a quick search of Etsy brings up so many people doing iced gem/biscuity stuff I figured they'd have to sue everyone!

ShinyLauren
24-07-2015, 10:22 AM
You make amazing things Lauren.

Photos, white backgrounds for publishing purposes (industry standards are fine, if that is what it takes???)

I do an occasional white background, but have found for FB that there is more engagement (which means more chances of a sale, when the photo/s are done with props and not always using a white background). I am no photographer, but I do understand my page stats and look at what is working, or not, with the photos I do. Not much help from me, but I did just want to say how amazing your pieces are.

Aw, thanks Wallace :)

I'm going to keep some of my dark background ones the home pages and category pages of my website, but for the sake of consistency am probably going to replace most of them with white eventually.

ShinyLauren
24-07-2015, 10:25 AM
Had a bit of a play with photoshop. Lightened/dulled the colours a bit (although I'm trying to keep them kind of 'candy' coloured for the iced gems) upped the sharpening and added a bit of a shadow/reflection thingy.

Here is before and after:

7961 7962

Better?

trialuser
24-07-2015, 10:34 AM
Yes.
One other thing, it looks as if the join of the jump ring is at the front, may just be an illusion, but you could put it so it's at the back if it is :-)

Lucie
24-07-2015, 11:18 AM
I'd like to start selling through other websites, which all demand white background/lifestyle shot. Boooo. I've seen a lot of jewellery photography done with fabric, paper, wood etc, and they look lovely, I was just trying to do something different, which is probably where I always go wrong and how I ended up with dark backgrounds in the first place!

Thanks Lucie :) I like the super-sharp one, but I'm trying to still go for a slightly 'airbrushed' look if that makes sense, so don't want to up the sharpening too much.

Hehe. It is a bit over the top, but I thought it showed the sharpening off quite well. I also had a fiddle with increasing the contrast, but because it's so light it began to look a bit crazy and cut out.

Lifestyle photos I don't mind, but the plain white thing really bugs me too, mostly because I'm restricted to shooting at certain angles and I don't think it works that well.
Magazines are usually the worst offenders (grumble grumble) ;)

Nick martin
10-12-2016, 06:01 PM
Hi Lauren,

I'm very late to the party I know, but heres my input. Firstly I think your photos look great, but the lightings a bit flat which has an impact on definition.

In my humble opinion, lighting is key as its not only illuminates the piece correctly but also creates nice highlights, shadows etc.

Have you tried using a three light setup? I.E. Two lights either side of your piece aimed at roughly 45 degree angles, and one directly in front also pointing at an angle?

That'll create some nice highlights, shadows, and of course you can adjust the strength of the lights to suit the kind of image you're best pleased with. You can use expensive wireless flash for your camera, or even cheaper LED lights with three power settings work well. I mount mine on mini tripods and then adjust the angle to suit. You can use whatever setup you want to be honest for some interesting results such as directly from above, backlit, and so on to create nice combinations.

Another thing I find VERY important is getting the photo as accurate as you can in-camera, but also shooting in RAW format if your camera permits it? This means you can then alter the exposure, shadows, highlights, contrast, clarity etc in post afterwards to get the perfect image.

Another very important point is shooting in manual focus if you can. The strong highlights / reflections on your silver means that a cameras auto-focus system will really struggle to lock-on where you want it to. So if I were you, I'd switch my camera to live-view or use the screen if it has one, magnify the image, then fine tune focus manually. Then using a tripod ( and a timer or remote control ) you can be sure of a pin-sharp shot.

As james says, using a simple curved 'infinity' background is another great idea to add depth and shadow to your image, and setting the 'F-Stop' at a higher number will mean that more of your image is in shot. Personally I shoot with lower F numbers to get the out-of-focus effect, but its all down to personal taste really and still works as long as you can accurately render the parts of your piece that a customer needs to see.

Apologies if you know all of this already!

Nick

lina
20-02-2017, 10:46 AM
Hi everyone!

Read through all your posts. Useful information, thank you! But... still have so many questions.
I was trying to take the pictures of different size and color handmade bracelets but was not happy at the end. I tried to changed the light, background colors etc. But something is definitely missing. I am not professional photographer but wish to make one style pictures of these bracelets. The problem is that bracelets are different in their style, color and size.
I went through some tutorials which were helpful but i am looking more for the algorithm of the right picture which will save time or at least to the place where to find such algorithm.
I do not know, maybe i should set up the shooting place (desk) differently or something else...

Really looking forward of your advice how to make unique one style pictures with the different bracelets.

Thank you
Lina:)

Dennis
20-02-2017, 01:04 PM
Dear Lina, This is a rather broad remit, because what you appear to be asking is how to photograph jewellery: a very large subject which can't be covered here.

As a complete amateur, I learned what I know mainly from websites such as these: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=photographing+jewellery&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=XOSqWNzJK8WT8QfbkZugAg, But there are plenty more.

Your basic requirements are:
1. A table top studio. A cheap light cube will do.
2. A camera mounted on a tripod, or magic arm, operated by a cable release.
3. At least two daylight lamps one on each side and a sparkler to highlight faceted gemstones.
4. A means of editing your pictures.

I personally don't use the macro function, but I do use AP, aperture priority at about f8- f13. You also need to learn how to change the exposure compensation when photographing on white. In fact you need to study the camera instruction manual in depth.
Lastly you need props to compose your pictures and take umpteen views to learn what looks best. Dennis.

lina
20-02-2017, 01:33 PM
Dear Dennis,

Thank you for your detailed advice and the link. Will have a look closer.:)
Yes, I assume that this is quite broad subject but getting opinions and useful advice definitely helps me to realize where I should start. Aiming at some point to get photos which will look at least close to professional.

Which kind of daylight lamps is better to get? Something similar to the lamp used for studies?
Also, i it always better to take pictures on the white background?

Thank you
Lina

Dennis
20-02-2017, 06:26 PM
Another big question: Any two cheap table lamps will do, if they are tall and flexible enough and can be directed onto a light cube from front right and front left. Ikea might be a good source.

In addition an LED sparkler at the front helps to brighten gem stones.

The bulbs can be tungsten filament, tungsten halogen, fluorescent, compact fluorescent LED and probably several more. LED are flavour of the month at present.

The brightness to illuminate a 400mm light cube, right and left might be around 1300 lumens each and the colour temperature 5000K which is a slightly warm white.

I like to photograph on white, but it poses extra problems of exposure. Blue is good with silver, but for me black is too funeral. Dennis.

lina
24-02-2017, 02:49 PM
Thank you for the detailed information. Will visit ikea or something similar to buy the second table lamp and bulbs. One lamp is already.

Well, about the background. To be honest I wish to have something different from the white background. I prefer kind of dark background, probably something close to the stone colors. I agree that exactly black may look too funeral but something closer too dark color can be quite nice. However, most of my research about background colors lead to conclusion that white is still better...

lina
03-03-2017, 09:10 AM
Hi everyone!

I have a question according the image file format. Which one is better? GIF, JPG or any other format?

ps_bond
03-03-2017, 09:15 AM
Better for what? JPG uses lossy compression, but keeps the file size down - so if I want display images then generally I'd use jpg.
If I'm editing then I would prefer to work with a non-lossy compressed format - something like TIFF (or better, RAW).
If I need vector graphics (scalable logos) then there's a number of those.
If I really, really need a short animated graphic then that's about the only time I'd look at GIF.

lina
03-03-2017, 12:58 PM
Thank you for the detailed answer. Do you know how to import the RAW file when importing from a camera card shot in RAW+JPEG mode?

lina
13-03-2017, 09:01 AM
Hi everyone,

I managed to sort out with RAW+JPEG mode. Coming back to the background color. I saw yesterday something similar to the background material in the video. I really like this color and thought to use it as the background. Need your opinion before I buy it. I really wish to use it but I read the white one is better... What do you think? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz6yOJ4AReA

Dennis
13-03-2017, 10:27 AM
It depends so much on what image you are trying to project Lina, that you will have to make up you own mind. You will not need more that an A3 sheet, so it need not be that expensive.

Look at the websites of the members here. Have a look at wrapping papers in your local gift shop and try a few. If you decide on white you will have to overcome lighting problems and learn how to manipulate Levels in your editor. Dennis.

lina
17-03-2017, 12:41 PM
Thank you Dennis! I followed your advice and decided to take the trial approach. I bought different A3 sheets. Let's see what will I manage to do.
By the way, which image editing program would you recommend? Maybe something easier than photoshop.

Dennis
17-03-2017, 08:25 PM
People use all sorts of editing programmes, but I use Photoshop Elements 13 now. It has an automatic option called Quick, a Guided option and an Expert option. Even Expert is not too challenging, but if you are going in for product photography a learning curve is involved. Dennis.

lina
20-03-2017, 10:13 AM
Hi Dennis,

thank you for the reply. I checked and found out that photoshop may not work out because of the computer appliance. :(
I think I will try something from here (https://www.1and1.co.uk/digitalguide/websites/web-design/finding-alternatives-to-adobe-photoshop/). Found it today.

samsmith1337
14-12-2017, 08:41 PM
Nicely done. Did you use photoshop to edit it or what?