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I'm shooting on the AV setting on a Canon 7d with a 60 mm lens. I've got two standing lights + natural light, with the jewelry inside a lightshed. My aperture is about f8-11. These are for online use.

How do I get more clearer pics with better white balance, clarity, less shadows?

Here is what I'm coming up with so far:

Ring pic

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My suggestion is to use manual focus, manual shutter and aperture. Use the remote control software part of the package that came with the camera to compose the image on your monitoR and not the back of the camera. Also use the shutter release from the computer and not the camera as it is inevitable that you will create camera shake.

Use the smallest aperture for maximum depth of field as it is very limited at close range.

Keep the mirror locked And ensure a firm tripod is used.

Once you have the composition on your monitor, place small white cards around the subject to get the desired effect with the reflected light, all whilst managing from your monitor.

Try not to mix two different types of lights, that is, natural and spot light as they are different kelvin and will make your jewelry look different to what it actually is.

A glass table with a white sheet of paper with a light underneath will provide a great white background with no shadows.

A white card at the 5 o'clock position to take away the shadow next to stone and a black card at the 10 o'clock position to bring back depth will help greatly.

Once set up is done, ensure you have secured all the reflectors from moving and now you are ready to photograph all similar jewelry without any further rearranging. Ie, rings.

At a more advance stage, you can also consider, photo stacking.

  • I was using the smallest aperture, but I noticed that the back loop of the ring was very out of focus at that aperture, so I increased it. Is that not the right way to go? – springsummer Apr 11 '15 at 22:11
  • Am I correct is saying that when you mention the smallest aperture, you mean f22 or f32 and not f4. If so, then that is exactly what you need to do. – Abdul Quraishi Apr 11 '15 at 22:13
  • Looking at your picture, you need to place a white card at the 5 o'clock position to get ride of the shadow next to the stone, and then you need to place a black card at the 11 o'clock position creating more depth to that side of the ring – Abdul Quraishi Apr 11 '15 at 22:19
  • If you are able to place a white sheet of paper on a glass table and have a light underneath, that will provide you with a perfectly white and shadowless base – Abdul Quraishi Apr 11 '15 at 22:23
  • Oh wow!! I just tried the glass table and light, and got an amazing shadowless picture. Thanks for that tip and the white card idea. That was something obvious I should have started with for white balance. I don't have any black cards right now, but I plan to get some tomorrow and experiment with the shadow/depth. THANK YOU again. – springsummer Apr 12 '15 at 1:06
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1) You need contrast. An interesting metalic surface photo is all about reflections.

A well defined light, (like a softbox) is very important. If you don't have a softbox simply use a roll of vegetal paper.

Also some well defined black zones. You can do this by putting some black cardboard rectangles here and there to make some more interesting black reflections.

2) Your photo also is underexposed. A grey paper doesn't look very interesting. Over expose the photo more.

3) Don't rely on ambient light for this. Use just one artificial light (flash) and learn how to make an interesting 1 light photo with it. This way you will learn to make consistent photos.

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I don't personally find the amount of soft shadow in your example picture to be distracting or otherwise detrimental, but that's up to you. One thing to keep in mind with photographing small shiny objects is that methods you might use to soften the lighting for other purposes may have the undesired side effect of washing away the specular highlight "glints" that you might very well want to keep for jewelry photos. In this case, the illuminated-paper-background might be a better method of reducing shadows.

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