I did this practice at home 2 month ago. I am feel to write a summary now. Hope some people can find some useful information.
I am not a dedicated jewelry photographer. Jewelry photography is very hard. About 4 months ago, I joined a paid membership at a website called http://www.photigy.com. It is a dedicated community for still life photographer. After watched many tutorials, I thought I should give it a try.
The main tool used for my practice is the hand made shooting cone. It is exactly follow the instruction at photigy.com (although this is from a paid tutorial).
This is the hand made shooting cone. Basically made with some diffuser material and glued on pvp pipe.
You can find shooting cone at b&h for about $400. That is much more durable and has better material. But this thing I made is only about 10-20 dollars. So let’s take a look at the result of using this cone.
It is a bit overexposed though. Very simple lighting set up. Just two light on each side. No light modifier on the light except basic standard reflector. That black dot on each bead is come from the hole where I insert my lens into it. This can not be avoided. All we have to do is post production.
I would say this looks pretty good. It is all contributed to the magic of the shooting cone. You just place jewelry inside, it will look great immediately. Even if you do not know much about photography or the science behind the lighting. Just follow this set up, it should work out nicely for most small jewelry. But you still need photoshop skill to achieve the final result.
I know there are other kind of tools you can find at b&h that are specific made for jewelry. such as these.
They are not as versatile as shooting cone. The major reason is that it got bright everywhere inside because it just reflect light everywhere. It is good for one type of look where your jewelry is bright overall. but it can not control which part of your jewelry is brighter and which part is darker. You can do this with shooting cone. Let show you my another shot.
Using same shooting cone. pretty much same set up, two light on each side. The only difference is that I added snoot on the left light. so that is why you see that highlight. This is what I want to say. You can control how big or small the light to hit the subject. With those box I mentioned above you can not, it just throw light everywhere.
I can say this those box can only create high-key look. It can not create low key look because it throw light everywhere. With shooting cone, you can create both high-key and low-key look.
I am still learning jewelry photography, but I believe I can still provide some useful information.
Try use shooting cone rather than those box if you just start out jewelry photography. If you have budget you can buy the shooting cone at b&h for $480.
Foba Large Acryl Diffuser Cone – 19.5×19.5″
Lastly I highly recommend anyone interested in still life photography take a look at photigy.com. I learned most of my still life photography skill from there.
Let me know if you have any thought and question.
9 Comments Add yours
Hi Kai, I saw your work and I liked very much. Congratulations for the good work.
I’m curious about the cone that you showed here. is it possible to know ow to make one? I know the translum paper, but I need help with the pvc part.
PVC pipe or PEX pipe. cut the length depend on how big you want the cone to be. Then use T shape connector that match the pipe diameter to connect both end. Tape or glue the diffusion paper to the pipe ring.
I appreciate your learning and enthusiasm for photography. i found you with reference of Photigy. i am also learning jewellery photography, looking some support from you to share few tutorials about shooting and post production of jewellery as you learnt / get links from Photigy paid membership.
Thanks..I am no where near to the skill of those instructors on Photigy. My skill is just good for small business. I am not willing to become a still photography pro like Alex. I subscribed to the pro corner for total one year. I learn most from Alex tutorials. There have everything you need to know. Then the rest is just practice.
If you have any particular question, you can ask. I maybe able to answer. You can also post question on Photigy fourm. I asked question regarding shooting there a few times. Quite helpful.
Help those that view your site by explaining how you got the pvc pipe bent so smoothly into a circle. What methods were used? What is the approximate size of your DIY cone? What was the hardest part of constructing your cone?
something like this. How big the diameter depend on how big you cut the paper.
I bought one lesson from http://www.photigy.com that give step by step instruction of how to make the cone. So it is not hard. I recommend you go to http://www.photigy.com to take a look at. Even free stuffs there still has tons of information.
Where to buy this cone from?
I tried jewellery photogr. totallyamateur and only once or twice, but I was overwhelming how a good photo could differ the viewer/buyer sight..
I even propose some profesionall jeweller shop in my city which has online facility and photos of products so not engaging, that anyone who, sometimes, stay and look closer at shop window at the street, cause in current quality standars of jewellery – Very Low! (and mostly automatic) there is a rare possibility to see real nice looking and quality produced jewellery, despite medium and prize.. I had XIX and early XX Century family jewellery so I know what I am talking about..
And this shop has some nice jewellary, but on photos on its site they look so “grey”, without a life, not transferring a half of real impression.
I try to make some amateur photos of the same jewellery, which have so bad photos at shop site – and results was great – as the owner of the shop aggree..
But when I ask – if She is interested in making a set of photo – to online gallery better look – She thanks and said that that is costly…
About technique, I just may write, because I do not pracise more jewellery phot. and product photography or macro photography at all – that I had – at this first try – particulary good results with Leica lenses.
The colours and mood of lightning, reflections and tones, so important for jewellery photography, pair with Leica. And I don’t have extensive experience, I just had compact Leica fullframe body Q1 with builded Summilux 28/1.7 mm..
regards ! MD