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Bright, Shiny Gems

September 7, 2010
INV 52 front - Copy


INV 55 front - Copy


INV 50 front - Copy

INV 49 front

I did a photo shoot of some gems for a friend to help her out with getting an online store going, and all of the stones were tiny.  I have access to a 12 mpx 35mm DSLR with a 18-55mm lens.  Getting photos of things half the size of a dime is not easy.  Also, I’m the queen of shaky camera shots, you better believe I used a tripod.  Jewelry and tiny, shiny objects are really hard to get good photos of.  Here’s my learning curve for this adventure:

  • Use a light table:  I fortunately have a tiny 6” x 8” light table for paper crafts.  The light coming up from underneath the gems was a huge help.  Defineitely use a light table or back lit tracing table.
  • Lots o’ Lamps:  I used three other lamps in addition to the light table.  It got really hot, too.  I basically bathed the top of my coffee table in blinding light.
  • White Balance Weirdness:  I have no idea why, but all the gem photos shifted to a yellow-tan hue; I failed to set the white balance right or figure out why the shots were tinted.  I had the power of the sun, but it was mostly incandescent light.  I was not feeling too patient, so these images are color corrected with the power of the PhotoShoppery.
  • Frontal Photos Only:  Gems are cut to bounce light around inside of themselves and up through the top facet.  Attempts to take photos of the rear of the stone, using the same conditions and distance as the frontal photograph, came up as a real disappointment.  Side by side comparison makes the two seem to contradict each other, which I think would hurt sales.  Trying to photograph the backs of the stones was a waste of effort.

Here is a frontal photo:

Here is the rear of the same stone:

The back of the stone does not photograph well.  It looks like I was trying to document defects or something.  It just seems to be the nature of the materials.

Also, doing this project was giving me some retro 80s flashbacks and a particular song was stuck in my head and on repeat mode:

Categories: Photography, Uncategorized
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