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Thread: Lifestyle Photography Grrrr!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default Lifestyle Photography Grrrr!

    Well, I have the swanky lightbox (thank you Cooksons, it's fab) and a half decent camera (Canon 1000D DSLR), an assortment of tripods, props and jewellery, so it should be simple!

    I'm using wooden bricks with bits of coloured paper as my props as I thought they had simple lines. I did try out some origami flowers to add interest, but they added too much interest. I get everything set up and then find the highlights are wrong and I can see my own reflection, so have to re-set everything. Then I realise the piece is moving on the prop and wait ages for it to stop. It doesn't stop. I have to blue-tack it down. In the process it all moves and the highlights are wrong again. Move it again and everything topples over !!!!!

    I'm also realising that I really need to get my head around manual settings if I'm going to get anything half decent. Luckily for me (I think!) someone local is advertising photography classes. Spoke to him and he's offered me a one to one specifically for jewellery. It turns out he's a retired product photographer, so hopefully he'll know some tricks.

    On Monday, I shall be an expert jewellery photographer. Watch this space!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    1,744

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    does the lightbox thing have a hole you stick the lens through? If it is white on all sides, you shouldn't have hardly any reflection (my light box is a large clotted cream tub with a hole cut in the top).

    Learning the manual settings is a must. Because it's silver (mostly) and light, on auto the camera is looking for the mid tones in the whole image. This can mean the light areas get over exposed. You can fix this in photoshop (or lightroom, which is cheaper and easier and does what you need).

    If you can set the ISO to a slower speed that will help. Also getting the aperture and shutter speeds can make a difference. It's all basically about getting the same amount of light in, but if your aperture is really small, (which creates slow speeds), you get greater depth of field (more is in focus).

    Big aperture makes for a fast shutter speed but this means focusing is critical as only a small area will be in sharp focus. The fancy name is Bokeh (sp?) and it's a bit gimmicky and naff, I think, but can be effective if done well.

    Also if you don't have one, get a shutter release cable. even tripods can be wonky

  3. #3
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    Wish I'd asked you for help in the first place Liz. I didn't know you were so knowledgeable about photography. I could have had a one to one with you - damn!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Bristol
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    Carole, are you applying the rule of thirds? (Forgive me if you know this). It makes a HUGE difference to the dynamism of your shots.

    Divide your viewfinder into thirds and then place the focal point on one of the intersections...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Putting the horizon on either horizontal can give a hugely different impact. Do an image search for 'rule of thirds photography' and you'll really get to see the impact it makes. If your lines are what you're struggling with, it can turn a mediocre shot into a winner.


    Hope this helps

    Vos


    *edit* I think your camera should have a 'grid' setting that will actually overlay this onto your live viewfinder.

    Just re-read and realised I completely skim read and it wasn't what you were struggling with. I'll leave post here though for others.
    Last edited by Vos; 03-04-2015 at 11:51 PM.
    All the gear and no idea

  5. #5
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    I'm struggling with everything Vos, so any info is helpful. Thanks for your input.

  6. #6
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    Carole, I bought something called Prop Wax to stop pices moving - it's clear and you only need a tiny bit to hold somethibg still.

    I also slways use a shutter release cable and manual focus whilst using the screen (zoomed in) to view rather than looking through the viewfinder.

    Pieces of white card are also useful to reflect the light where you want it.

    Photographing small shiny things is an absolute bugger! Looking forward to hearing what you learn in your one to one.

  7. #7
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    Apologies for terrible spelling! iPhone/sausage fingers.

  8. #8
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    I am sure you will get many suggestions Carole. One tip from me is when I take close ups of small objects I use a tripod and set my camera to A which allows me to set whatever aperture I want. I set the camera on the smallest aperture, which on a camera lens is the highest number. I use a micro lens that allows me to set it at f32. This gives the greatest depth of field in focus, making the sharpest photo possible, I also prefer to use manual focus rather than auto. I also use an off camera remote control to avoid camera shake. As Liz said I also use sheets of white cardboard to control reflections and bounce light where I want it.
    One final suggestion on props, how about collecting some beach rocks and shells, setting them in a tray of dry sand and mounting jewellery pieces on rocks or shells, the sand could also be decorated with a fork to give stripes drawing the eye to the piece.
    For plain silver jewellery how about using a nice chunk of mineral with crystals, like a block of amethyst.

    The benefit of digital photos is that you can crop and change them on a computer. I use Photoshop to tidy up my photos.
    Sorry if too many suggestions but photography is a passion of mine.

    Good luck
    James

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    I use a tripod too,and a macro lens.
    Mostly it seems to be a question of trial and error as far as reflections are concerned if you are using supports with colour.
    You want some reflection or the pieces look dull so its a question of arranging it and looking where the reflections are through the lens.
    What helped me a lot was learning how what I saw through the lens would look on the photo.
    Jewellery photography certainly isn't easy though!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    I cut a hole in a piece of white mount board, just big enough to fit onto the end of the camera, but completely cover the opening of the photography box. That way, the only thing to reflect (if anything depending on the angle), is the very end of the lens.
    I also use Prop Wax like Lauren (or blue tac when I can't remember what I did with the wax) & carefully edit it out afterwards x

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