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Topic: A Rant - Photographing Jewellery  (Read 3084 times)
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talyra
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« on: May 23, 2007 01:40:47 PM »

I have been here a few months and am really loving this place. I'm just fed up of threads full of terrible, blurry photographs! I'm not demanding professional quality technical perfection, I don't exactly achieve that myself, but how can anyone get a good impression of what your work is like from fuzzy blobs? I don't claim to be an expert, and I'm sorry if I sound arrogant. I do know how to take a photo that's in focus, though, so I hope this is useful to someone!

Oh, and I'm writing for the camera clueless, mainly cos I suspect that they are the most likely to take fuzzy pictures! If any clever photographer types want to hijack this thread and share some ways to take good photos of jewellery, please, please do so: just keep it beginner-friendly!

If you have a digital camera that cost over about a hundred quid, you should have a 'Macro' mode. It usually looks like a little flower next to a button or dial - instructions will be in your user manual. It adjusts the settings so that it is easier for your camera to focus on small things. Like jewellery.

You might have lighting issues. Too little light and whatever your camera uses to sense the light will not record the picture properly. On most cameras the flash will kick in automatically if you need extra light; problems usually arise when people turn off the flash because it ruins the colours in a piece. There is complicated stuff you can do involving lamps and light boxes; however, if you lack space and facilities it is easier to a) accept the colour yuckiness and just be grateful that you can see your work clearly; or b) wait for daylight and take your shot in a well lit room (although preferably not in direct sunlight - cameras hate too much light as well as too little). 

Most importantly,however, and I cannot say this enough, DON'T GET TOO CLOSE! You know how you can only see a fuzzy blob if you put those earrings two inches from your face? Well, the camera is the same. It just can't focus if it's too close.
'Too close' depends, basically, on the lenses in your camera. About a foot is usually OK, though don't go too far back or you'll get no detail at all.
With digital, if you make sure your image is high resolution (above three megapixels) you will get more detail in when you crop down. If you don't know how to do this, read your user manual. If you have a 35mm camera, you are probably better off just putting the piece through the scanner.

If you do all this stuff and your photos still come out blurry, read your user manual. Carefully. If that doesn't help, take it to a camera shop. If they can't figure out what you're doing wrong/what's wrong with the camera, give up and use a scanner.

I hate to grouch but taking nonfuzzy pictures really isn't that complicated! Hope this helps some of those of you having trouble, and like I said anyone with experience is begged welcome to share their advice  Grin
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2007 01:50:06 PM »

Please remember that not everyone here has the same skill level or equipment that you may have. We encourage everyone to share and post their work, regardless of photography skills or available resources. While it's always great to see high quality images, no one should be discouraged from posting even if a fuzzy image is the best they've got!
That being said, thanks for sharing your tips. I've found that a scanner is also a good way to photograph jewelry clearly.
Keep on crafting and sharing those lovelies!  Kiss
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2007 10:23:39 AM »

I understand; unfortunately however, cameras sometimes go on the fritz, and force people to be creative and use their ultra-crappy web cams, lol.  Wink
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2007 11:25:15 AM »

I have a pretty decent camera but lack the skills and patience for tacking good pics. I've resorted to using my scanner. Whole lot easier and better quality. The way I see it, I'd rather be spending time crafting than worrying too much about the pics. (but thats also why I've managed to post only a couple finished projects with pics...heh.) But thanks for the tips!
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2007 03:40:42 PM »

In terms of fuzzy--i'm willing to bet that most of the problems come from trying to get too close and bad lighting.  flash will, after all, make the object look flat, so many people do not like using it. 

my recomendation for small pieces is to a) make sure you are using a macro lens, or, failing that, take a good picture from a little far away at the highest resolution, then zoom in after it's been up loaded onto the computer.

b) take the picure in full spectrum light if possible.  if not--find a lamp, take off the shade, and point the bulb at the object you are trying to take a picture of.  this will give you a good deal of light, but not the white-out and flattening effect of a flash.

c) put the object on a white backround.  a white sheet works well for this.  the white will reflect more light onto the object.  (obvoisly, if your object is white or very very light, then using a dark or contrasting background would be more  effective.

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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2007 10:17:58 PM »

It's also important to make sure your camera is steady. Put it on some books when you are taking the picture. If you can't because you are taking it looking from the top down, it helps to rest your arm(s) on something, like a printer or whatever else you have on the table.

If your camera has zoom, then "zooming in" while in review mode (i.e. when you can see the picture you already took on the LCD screen) may allow you to zoom into the picture and see if it's blurry up close.

For those interested in more serious camera tips, etc, or if you need help buying a camera, check the forums at digitalcamerareview .com for unbiased advice.
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talyra
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2007 05:29:55 AM »

Thankyou guys! hello summer! - that's a really good point about keepint the camera steady, I actually can't believe I forgot that!  Embarrassed
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zahirahvega
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2007 12:28:15 PM »

thank you for the tips, i have to try a bajillion pictures of one piece before I can get one that I think is acceptable (I'm a perfectionist).  i really need to get off my but and try some different things.
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gallstones
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2007 01:31:53 PM »

There's an old, old bit of advice that applies whenever one is talking about tools. Cheap isn't always a bargain.
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2007 05:56:50 PM »

Thanks for the advice, but keep in mind that some people don't have photography skills or fancy photographs. Smiley
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