Jewelry photography

Ring test-118-EditJewelry photography is one of the most difficult technical photographic skills out there. Even after you get a handle on the lighting and setup, that is only 30% of the process. More than likely you’ll have to do focus stacking to get the maximum sharpness for an image, and that can be after using a tilt-shift lens. After getting all the photographs taken, there’s still  50% of the job to be done in post-processing to get the image even close to what a client wants.

Take for example the ring in the upper right hand image. It is 60 years old and has seen a lot of use. The piece is very dear to the client and they wanted the best image possible within a budget.

This was a tall order, as the rhodium plating has worn off in many spots and the casting of the ring shows a lot of pores. Getting the look just right for their use takes quite a bit of work. The bottom Ring test-051diamond has a big chip in it, the ruby has several inclusions and surface defects. Of course, all of these are invisible when the ring is worn. But when the client needs a photograph for it, all the defects become painfully apparent.

You can see how the image started with in the bottom right picture. The color is off. The depth of field is shallow, the background is not white, on and on. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Some of the imperfections have been left, as the client did not want to make the ring “too perfect”. Just good enough for their use.

Product photograph – wine

Wine bottle
Wine bottle

Photographing products is one of my specialities. I take great care in making sure the image looks exactly like the client wants it. Today’s case in point – a bottle of wine out of a case.

If you click on the image, you’ll see a higher resolution sample of the work. This bottle had quite a few wear marks on the label as well as dings in the actual glass. It added to the post-processing time but the final result is well worth the effort.

The actual photography of the bottle didn’t take too long. But the bottom label gave me some trouble because it has gold foil. As soon as I lit the bottom label for the gold foil, it ruined the dark color of the black, making it an ugly hazy gray. That required some extra work that I would have prefered to avoid doing, but doing all the usual tricks to lighten up the gold foil ended up making other problems worse. So, a little magic and voila.

Original image
Original image

As you can see in the picture on the left, the original, there is quite a bit of damage on the label and some in the bottle. That caused some extra trouble, too. The bottle was very dirty and the cleaning process left the edges of the label shredded. The holding stand is of course visible and the left side of the image isn’t perfectly white.

As I was able to make the background around the bottle 255 white, I didn’t have to do any time-consuming (and sometimes miserable) post-processing select, trimming, pen tool, or other work. It’s just such a joy to get the area around the product white enough that I don’t have to do anything more with it. So often, masking the product out of the background vaporizes more time than anything else. So if I can get it white, I do it.

The super clamp came in handy to hold the wine bottle on the light stand, as I didn’t have my regular platform. This worked out okay, though it was a little precarious. Nothing bad happened in the end.

Now it is time to open that wine.