Photograph of sterling silver filigree horse necklace

Photographing Jewelry and Highly Reflective Items

Welcome to my new blog! I’m so glad you found the page and I hope you enjoy reading about the various facets involved in creating jewelry. As a first topic I’ve decided to write about product photography. I have been working on posting some new designs to my web site lately. The most challenging part of this is of corse getting quality pictures that do justice to the work.

What makes jewelry so difficult to photograph? Well, a great number of things, the largest being the fact that polished metals and gem stones are highly reflective. Controlling these reflections is the key the to your success, but can be easier said than done. Light boxes are designed to surround the piece with white to decrease dark surface reflections. The light in these set ups must be diffused, as direct light will cause harsh glares. Comercial light boxes have built in diffused lighting, however similar results can be achieved by bouncing day light equivalent lights against the white sides of a home made light box. Light boxes are not difficult to make yourself for very little money. The largest expense will be the day time equivalent lights, if you don’t already have them. To start line a cardboard box with white paper, large sketch book paper works great. The next step is to get a large white plaice bowl, I got one from Walmart years ago for about eighty seven cents. Cut a hole in the bottom of the bowl about the same size as your camera’s lens. Of course a macro lens is ideal, but any wide angle lens will be fine. While the light box can be a very inexpensive element to your set up, in the end the quality of your camera will of course have a very large impact on your photographs. I’m a Nikon girl myself, I got a D7000 a few years ago and it’s been great with the jewelry.

Larger light boxes can be created as well, I have seen photographers build frames lined with sheets of tracing paper or something similar that lights can shine through. Shinning light through tissue paper will defuse it as well. These boxes can be built any size.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Even if you manage to keep all other unwanted reflection out of your light box, the lens of the camera still has the potential to interfere with your shot. Try different angles, you may even want to include something to cause reflection, light or dark. Round pieces or designs that are more dimensional present the biggest challenge. These are the least forgiving where unwanted reflections are concerned.

If you have something shiny that you’d like to get some pictures of, try building a light box. Have fun!

light box
Home Made Light Box

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