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Friday, 4 November 2011

Jewellery Shoot

I had a commission in October last year to take promotional photographs for a Jewellery designer who wanted to use the images on a website.

From a lighting perspective this was quite a demanding job; firstly the designer wanted to have the jewellery placed on a black shiny surface on some and a white reflective surface for others, rather than having to decide which pieces would suit which surface I decided to shoot each piece on both and then the at least the designer could decide what suited each design best.

I was allowed to place the jewellery into shapes and use lines and placement within the ‘frame’ for composition, but the real challenge is the light reflections of of the different surfaces!

Product Photography London and Kent

To reduce the amount of unwanted reflections in the images I used a diffusing Light tent. Essentially a collapsible box made of wire and covered in a thin material that is ideal for diffusing the light. I also use sheets of acrylic which is a perfect reflective surface for this type of work (although a nightmare to keep dust free and requires a little extra re-touching to remove it). My light source for the job were two off camera flashguns on wireless triggers that are fired when the camera fires. I used manual triggers so no flash TTL metering, so I also had to set the power manually on the flashguns; I do not have expensive TTL radio triggers so I have to meter the light manually and adjust the power of the flash to the settings I had decided on the camera. The flash guns were on either side of the light tent at around 30-45’ degrees. (Direction of light even on both sides at the same angle.

Product Photography London and Kent

As I was using a small aperture to control the depth of view as much as I could (in relation to the focal length I was using); and at that small an aperture  (f/16) I would have had to have very long shutter speeds to reach correct exposure, with the ambient light that was available (not much as I was in a basement!). To avoid long exposures I decided that everything was going to be lit by the flashguns. The the shutter speed was irrelevant in controlling the amount of light as there was no ambient light to control (The aperture controls the amount of flash exposure). With the aperture set at f/16 I set the camera speed to 1/250 sec (the maximum sync speed with my equipment) I then fired the flash guns so that I could take a TTL Meter reading, then adjusted the power of the flash guns rather than the camera settings to obtain correct exposure: Note - This shoot was back in early October 2010; over year ago from writing this entry, I now (in a controlled shoot with flash) also use a hand held light meter rather than always rely on the cameras TTL metering to determine my exposure.

The shoot was very successful and had some reasonable referral work from it.

To see more examples of the work from the shoot please click on any of the pictures.

Product Photography London and Kent

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