Some Photographic Tips and Tricks and Setups
Just a few simple photographic setups for shooting your stones or Jewellery. The person iS the subject/stone in this Case. Discs are reflectors and disc around camera lens is a macro Lens reflector which can be had from Adorama.com for under $10. The reflectors can be true photo reflectors or white poster board, cardboard wrapped in crumpled up aluminum foil or a silver reflective fold up car windshield shade which cost about $6 from Wal-Mart automotive and are essentially same thing as a real photo one as long as get the oval ones that fold up into a small disc.
I like to use a simple square of white lexan as a base plate or a mirror some times.
Lights and camera are self explanatory. Just try to keep camera perpendicular to the table of the stone for Best results. Natural diffused sunlight works best of course, but Ott-lite CFL HD 100 or 150 Watt 6500K bulbs work quite well and are The best affordable cross platform bulb that offers close to full spectrum with far less spiking compared to OTHER CFL bulbs, Even the $40 each ones supposedly for photo usage, or spend about 2x the cost and pick up a set of 3700K (might be 3500K forget off hand, they only have one choice in the 3#00 series bulbs) Solux bulbs, they are very nice but not super powerful as only 35 or 50 Watt choices. So just less diffusion and/or longer shutter times is all.
The same type setups for lighting can also be used but instead of diffusing the lights traditionally you can use a frosted plastic Tupperware type bowl and cut a slot in it to shoot through and it will do the diffusing for you. Just make sure slot is large enough so you can move up and down enough for different stones and keep your camera perpendicular to the table of the stone.
Diagrams are at end of the article.
Just quickies and program used to do the graphics had no options for gemstones as a subject, LOL, only people, as it ifs designed for portraiture in the studio, but worked for this fairly well I think.
A similar setup that can also be used, and better, well, easier, is to use a copy stand and use a drilled piece (for pavilions of the stones to fit in) of 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick piece of clear lexan or plexi over top of the white lexan piece. Much easier to get the 90° angle to the table of the stone. Lighting setups are sill the same and can even still use the bowl but cut hole in the top instead of a slot in the side. Don’t have a bowl you can cut up, save and cut the bottom off of a translucent white milk gallon container, works nicely. Top half works well for smaller hand held cameras as lens will fit in mostly and some just need top of jug modified a tiny bit and your camera will rest right on it a use drilled plexi over the top of the white lexan as the base and to bold the stones using one of the 3 light sources I mentioned above, works really well on a nice sunny day.
Hope this helps some of you take better pics or just give you an easier way of doing it.
Jamey Swisher, R.G.