jewelry from nature

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by arjen van de merwe, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. I have to photograph some jewelry from natural materials. My photos come out dull and uninspired, while they
    should inspire the viewer to want this stuff. For some photos I will bring in a model, which will help, bu tnot
    for everything. Look at my attempt. Can anybody give me some hints on spicing up these images to something
    exciting that will make people buy?
  2. What attempt?
  3. Can't be too helpful if we can't see an example, but if it's like most ho-hum jewelry shots, it's probably lacking in sufficiently dramatic lighting.
  4. [​IMG]
    sorry, some technical problem did post, but not upload my photo. Here it is:
  5. If this is metalic and crystal/gem jewelry, how they are exciting to folks are because how they reflect and refract light. If you have limted light for metal to reflect, they will look dull. If you have no light source for the crystal to refract, they will look dull. You need amble directional light sources for metal to reflect. You need enough point source for crystal to shine.
  6. This is driving me nutz. Again it's not working.
  7. Your use of soft diffuse lighting is your problem. You need some spot lights or something similar that will give you some specular highlights and produce intense saturated colors.
  8. Thank you everybody.
    Mike: I am not clear on your post: the top left phtoo has diffuse lighting, but the others do have specular highlights, that bring out the shapes of the jewelry. If I go for very directional lighting, I do get less colour saturation I think. I'll try it and post.
  9. Tahnk you all.
    Mike: I tried your suggestion. As I expected more directional light gives less saturated colours, but more modelling, and a more mysterious look. Here's my test.
  10. Please forgive me if some of my suggestions seem too basic but I don't know your level of photographic experience.
    There are several other things that affect saturation besides lighting. One is color balance--I'm assuming you're using a custom white balance? Another is lens quality. Specular lighting should not lower color saturation unless you have a poor quality lens, like a cheap kit lens, that's producing flair, which will have the effect of lowering contrast, and therefore lower color saturation. But this should not happen with a good quality macro lens (unless it's just dirty), which is what you should be using for the type of images you're producing. And hopefully you are using a lens hood and are not shooting with a filter on your lens, as a cheap filter can also lower contrast.
    But even a good high quality lens can produce a poor quality image if it is stopped down too much to the point where it is in its diffraction limited range. Any lens stopped down past f11 (which is very common with macro work) will start to lose contrast because of the increased "fuzziness" produced by diffraction. Try taking your shots with different apertures, say from f4-f16, to see if there is any appreciable difference in image quality and/or saturation.
    Also, what camera (digital or film?) and lens are you using?
  11. Here I used a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 135 f2.8 and a Sigma achromatic close up attachment. I lit with a Multi blitz profilight 200 with a honey comb, and a Adoram silver reflector. I put a Nikon SB28 on the background.
    How do I use custom white balance with flash?
  12. You shouldn't need to with flash--you camera should have a flash presetting in its menu somewhere. So try the shot both with the flash presetting and with AWB to see if you prefer one over the other.
    Another possibliity is your close-up lens which if it's not coated, and most of them aren't, could be one source of your lower contrast/color saturation problem. In order to determine if the uncoated close-up lens is a, or possibly the, source of your problem shoot the same scene and lighting without it and see if your color saturation improves. If there doesn't seem to be any difference then do the f stop test I mentioned earlier (what f stop were you using for your shot?).
  13. f16
    You feel there is a saturation problem? The subject is low saturation itself (earthy colours).
    The way I see it, directional light should give lower saturation anyway. Tell me if I'm wrong:
    With soft frontal lighting you have more middle tones, with directional harder lighting you have more bright and dark areas.
    In middle tones you get the highest saturation: 255,0,0 or 255,255,0.
    For brighter or darker regions you get lower saturation, darker like 127,0,0 for brighter 255,127,127
    Is this not correct?
  14. My comments on saturation just come from your own comments on your photos looking dull, which to me means a lack of color punch or saturation. But you're the only one who knows what the original looks like so if the colors look accurate to you then that's fine. But your pictures are uninteresting exactly because there is no drama, or high and low contrast areas, to them. In order to produce that kind of "drama" you need to use differentiated or uneven lighting that does create highlights and shadows. If I were shooting small items like jewelry I'd use spotlights along with flat lighting to add some punch to the photos.
    Also, at f16 you're definitely into the diffraction limited area of your lens which will lower both contrast and resolution. In my experience having one area that's razor sharp with the rest being soft looks better than having everything uniformly even but slightly soft. Again, try my suggested experiment of shooting at a range of apertures to see if maybe a wider one will look better. And also try a spotlight or two.

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