Author Topic: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design  (Read 1336 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Cowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 538
    • View Profile
Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« on: July 06, 2014, 06:25:14 PM »
A friend asked about the light diffuser booth I use to photograph jewelry and cabochons, and I thought I should post a thread here with the design. 
Hi Tammy!  hatsoff14

It's simple, completely adaptable to whatever size you need, and easy to build with minimal materials.  Here we go:

Start with a simple board, this one is about 24 by 24 inches, particle board. 18 by 18 might be a more suitable size, as this one is far larger than needed for most jewelry photography. Pretty much any kind of sheet goods will work: plywood, masonite, even sheetrock, though the hoies might need some reinforcing in sheetrock.

Ultimately, you're going to drill six holes in the board, three along each edge. The size doesn't matter except that it needs to be at least slightly larger than whatever wire you use for your hoops, as the end of the wire needs to fit inside the hole. So choose your drill bit when you already have chosen your wire. All this will make more sense when you see the pics, so . . .

Here's the board with the six holes:



Next, cut three wires, long enough that you can bend them into a rough semi-circle and create a hoop that rises above the board, with the ends of the wires inserted into the holes you drilled, like this:



Next, you need some kind of white or light-colored cloth, thin enough that light readily shines through it. A simple white sheet is about perfect, but there are lots of thin white fabrics that would be suitable too.  Cut the cloth into a rectangle, as long as your wires are long, and as wide as the board, from front to back, plus a couple inches.  Now fold over each edge and sew a pocket along the front and back edges, wide enough so the wires will slide into the pocket. Sew a third pocket, using a long scrap of the cloth, right down the middle, so you have three pockets running the length of the fabric rectangle, roughly equally spaced so they line up with the holes you drilled in the board.  Like this:



Now simply insert your wires into the pockets, and insert each end of the wire into the holes you drilled, so you form a simple "hoop house" like so:



Now you're ready to start experimenting with photographs. Find a work surface at a height you like, either sitting or standing, depending on how you prefer to work. The jewelry or other subject of your photographs usually sits near the front edge of the board.  You can hold most cameras by hand, but a tripod is nice for those of us who have trouble holding still. I set the tripod in front of the edge, looking into the "studio" area like so:




You can use all kinds of backgrounds for your photographs, leather, cloth, felt, paper, glass or a mirror.  Arrange rocks of small boxes under leather or cloth to prop the jewelry in the position you like.

The most important things from this point are the light and your camera settings.  For light, I like natural sunlight, shielded by the cloth in the tent.  Natural sunlight, shileded by the diffuser cloth results in photos that are a lot like you would get just sitting on a table on a cloudy but bright day: diffuse light with no relections.

 If I'm working at night, I use the same sort of goose-neck lamps that I use around my grinders and on my jewelry bench. You can experiment with all kinds of light bulbs to create the light "color" that best shows off you jewelry. I find that modern digital cameras are able to make good photos with nearly any color bulb, as long as you choose the correct camera settings so that the camera corrects for the light color.

Some cameras have settings under the heading "White balance" and some cameras give you a choice of several light sources, including incandescent and fluourescent, as well as sunlight. Most cameras also do a pretty good job choosing a setting for themselves when they are set on "automatic".  Try moving the light around, as it will make a photograph look different when the light comes in from different angles, even though the light is filtered through the diffusing cloth. The reason the cloth is there is mostly to prevent glaring relfections off the polished surfaces. It will still make a difference what angle it comes from. Here, I've moved the lamp to shine in from a different part of the tent.  If that is all you change, with the jewelry and camera in the exact same positions, you can get a very different picture, so do some experiments and see what works best. Digital photos are cheap!






You

(more photos coming shortly!)

Enchantra

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6348
  • Gender: Female
  • Insane Bead Woman
    • View Profile
    • EnchantedRegalia
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 06:30:55 PM »
Awesome tutorial!
Stickying this!

Cowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 538
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 07:01:16 PM »
Thanks Amanda!  I'll continue the tutorial later with some photos to demonstrate different concepts that people will find useful.

southerly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1090
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2014, 03:32:09 AM »
Cool, I need to improve my photos.

David

Charles

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 505
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 03:56:28 AM »
Thanks Cowboy, This is a great post. I can really use this information.

itsandbits1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1293
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2014, 07:03:27 AM »
NICE yes16 C>B> even eye can make one of those :)
The wheels of life go round and round, round and round, round and round, and then they hit a rock


Carol M

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 09:40:43 AM »
Awesome tutorial!
Stickying this!

Ditto.  Cowboy.....your tutorials are THE BEST!!!   yes16 Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.
That's one of the coolest things about this forum.....The unbelievable generosity and sharing of the members.   yippie24

On another note - a question for Amanda.  What do you mean 'Stickying this!'   
I'm assuming its a sort of bookmark.....or using a snipping tool......or is there another goodie I don't know about? dunno28
Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"


Cowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 538
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2014, 01:15:28 PM »
Awesome tutorial!
Stickying this!

Ditto.  Cowboy.....your tutorials are THE BEST!!!   yes16 Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.
That's one of the coolest things about this forum.....The unbelievable generosity and sharing of the members.   yippie24

On another note - a question for Amanda.  What do you mean 'Stickying this!'   
I'm assuming its a sort of bookmark.....or using a snipping tool......or is there another goodie I don't know about? dunno28

Carol, a sticky thread is one that always stays at the top of the page in its category, usually because the moderator of the forum thinks it deserves special treatment because of the valuable information in the thread.  If you click the link below, you'll see the "Miscellaneous Shop Talk" forum where I posted this thread, you'll see two "sticky" threads at the top, highlighted, including this one. The rest of the threads below them cycle up and down, popping back to the top each time somebody posts a reply. Lots of replies keep a popular thread near the top, while a moderator's "sticky" keeps the thread at the top all the time, and highlighted.  A less popular thread slowly fades down the page, then onto page two, then page three, and in the long term, they disappear into the "back pages" of the forum where people don't see them much.

http://gemstone.smfforfree4.com/index.php/board,4.0.html

Stickies are a way for moderators to make sure that a thread with useful or particularly timely information is seen by lots of people, and after a while, they do some housekeeping in the forum, un-sticky the thread, and let it fade to obscurity with the rest. You'll find a few sticky threads at the top of most internet forums.  In the contests forum, the current month's contest thread is always sticky, and the voting thread is sticky until the voting finishes, then they all get to fade down the page.  When you see sticky threads, it usually means that the moderators want more people to see it.

Carol M

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 02:04:57 PM »
Ah.....!!!!
That totally explains it.
Thanks [yet one more time (smile).....for the clear explanation. yes16
Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"


Carol M

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1028
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2014, 02:20:27 PM »
Cowboy, since you said in your first post 'more photos coming shortly'.....
a request regarding that.

Could you do a jewelry setup for a photo shoot, and then when you're taking shots, with lighting I assume you do several variations, such as -
1 with the light from the upper left,
1 with the light from the middle left,
1 with the light from the right,
1 with the light more front,
1 with the light more back, all with basically the same setup
1 with a mirrored glass below,
1 with a different set up [like from leaning on a box to sitting among stones or whatever]

I'd love to see all the shots.  The wonderful as well as the turkeys....and comments on why you like them or why you think it's/they are turkeys. hide35
I know I'm asking a lot.....so .....[GULP] no pressure bricks21......just a request [smile]

Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"


Cowboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 538
    • View Profile
Re: Lapidary and jewelry photography booth design
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2014, 04:48:26 PM »
Cowboy, since you said in your first post 'more photos coming shortly'.....
a request regarding that.

Could you do a jewelry setup for a photo shoot, and then when you're taking shots, with lighting I assume you do several variations, such as -
1 with the light from the upper left,
1 with the light from the middle left,
1 with the light from the right,
1 with the light more front,
1 with the light more back, all with basically the same setup
1 with a mirrored glass below,
1 with a different set up [like from leaning on a box to sitting among stones or whatever]

I'd love to see all the shots.  The wonderful as well as the turkeys....and comments on why you like them or why you think it's/they are turkeys. hide35
I know I'm asking a lot.....so .....[GULP] no pressure bricks21......just a request [smile]



That's not asking for so much, since that's exactly the sort of thing I had in mind for this thread.  As soon as I get all this work done, I'll get right on it! :)   OK, back to work, Break over.  bricks21