Thursday, March 26, 2009

DIY Light Box

This Light Box is made with foam boards and it can be done within an hour. Here is how....

1. You will need two of those. You can find them in any Wal-Mart store in the section where Bristol Papers are. They are 22" by 28". You have to cut them in half to have 4 boards of 14" by 22". Use 3 of these boards for sides and back panels. Cut last fourth panel into 2 pieces - one is 14" by 14" will serve as top (roof) panel and second is just 14" by 8" which is enough for bottom part to hold the shape.

2. All walls are joined with masking tape. As you see in the Ready for shooting picture I have fixed lamp with daylight bulb that I can't use in position other that lightening from the top. To accommodate this setting I made an opening covered with trace paper (from any dollar store, craft section)

3. Place lights on both sides of your light box and as it shown in my case I place top light through the window. Make sure your lights on sides beam to the opposite wall to have defused effect. Now it's ready for shooting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Discover new mode in your camera for your product pictures

If you are not satisfied with your Macro settings pictures so maybe it’s time to experiment with something else.
I personally had difficulties to take my pictures on contrast background, specifically pearls on black fabric. Also, I had problems to catch flashes in stones like labradorite for instance.

Since, I have never heard other suggestions but Macro setting so I was constantly annoying my husband blaming wrong settings/lightbox/camera/lamps and etc. Well, I had to have someone to blame. He helped me a lot with that, since he had good knowledge in this matter.

So one day he decided to try AV setting in out Cannon Power Shot S70 camera. Wow, results were amazing. You don’t have to be that close to your item. With 5 or more Mega Pixels you can always crop your image with no harm to quality.

Here it goes:

AV or A (AV in Cannon and A in Nikon).

AV or A mode determines whether all the photograph is in focus or part of. Like you can choose to have a sharp foreground and background, or you can blur the background. If you have SLR camera aperture is indicated by F-number value. The higher the F number, the greater depth of field of the photo that will be in focus. In other words, the higher F-number the smaller the hole in camera lens. You can see what aperture your digital camera is set at by looking at the back LCD screen for a F number. To understand that better I would recommend refer to your camera user manual guide to find out how to change F-number for your camera. The best way to understand how aperture works is to take numerous photographs with different f-number values and see what the difference is.

Shutter Speed.

You also need to understand what shutter speed is. In my case my camera determines stutter speed automatically. In theory shutter speed is amount of time a digital cameras shutter is held open for when taking a photograph. Shutter speed allows light to reach the cameras image sensor.Depending on your camera you will need to point your sensor on the brightest spot of your item. Again you have to refer to your camera user guide to find out how to change shutter speed and experiment with different settings to see the difference.

ISO Number.

ISO denotes how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor. This increase in sensitivity does not come free. There is a price to pay with your image appearing more noisy. ISO speed affects the shutter speed / aperture combinations you can use to obtain correct exposure.
If you set your digital camera to a low ISO, for example 100, the resulting photograph will be less noisy than one set at 1600. Therefore go for a low ISO number whenever possible.

Don’t forget.

Have proper lightening in well constructed light box.
Always use tripod.
Set white balance.


Now look at this necklace photographed in Macro and AV mode. Finally I got labardoriote flashy stones shown.

AV Setting

Macro Setting

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glass background for your picture shots

I have been always attracted to jewelry photography on glass background because of reflection that makes jewelry even more sophisticated.
I have been experimenting with this and I still am.
I would like to share my latest tutorial on how to make a nice glass background for your picture shot.

You will need:
  • Cut glass
  • Succors
  • Masking tape
  • Silver acrylic paint from Michael's (spray may work even better)
  • Sponge brush

1. Take a piece of cut glass in a size that is suitable to your item size. Can be just glass from any old pictures frame.

2. Wash it with the soap and dry it with paper towel.

3. Apply at least two coats of paint on one side of glass. Let it dry between second (or third) coat. Let is completely dry.

4. Cut stripes of masking tape and wrap all sharp edges of the glass. You don't want bleeding while taking pictures shots. How do I know? ;)

5. Place the glass painted side down in your light box and enjoy experimenting.

6. Some more ideas. I have painted another piece of glass in black color. Looks stunning. But be careful of a mirror effect that reflects everything. Though I managed to crop that properly. :)
Next time I am going to try to paint with white color.

7. Almost forgot. When you remove your newly painted glass from your lightbox don't put it on the chair beside you... You may forget and sit down on it. Guess again how do I know that too? LOL