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I am trying to do some pretty jewelry photography and I am wondering what type of lens I would need to create a shot like this? Also what is the lighting environment required to take this shot?

enter image description here

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You want a macro lens. In both Canon and Nikon lineup there is a 100mm f2.8 macro. Both are excellent. If I remember correctly a 100mm macro is made also by Tamron, Sigma and Zeiss. If you don't have one try a prime lens on an extension ring (the basic 50mm works fine).

On a cropped sensor body a 60mm lens would give you similar view as a 100mm on full frame camera, but the 100mm is still better as it gives you more working distance (it comes at premium when doing macro).

Lighting jewelry is tricky, as it is all shine and sparkle. You want as soft light as possible. A macro tent (the smallest one) helps immensely.

Be careful with your aperture. If you push it too hard (f22 or so) you will run into diffraction artefacts. Best to keep it to f11 or lower and add depth of field via stacking.

A stable tripod is must, and a focusing rail and wire release highly recommended.

  • Or go for shallow depth of field like in this sample shot. Stacking requires a very stable mount. A normal tripod may not be the best way, instead a clamp mount on the same table holding the subject might be better. – Chris H May 2 '17 at 11:07
  • @ChrisH the sturdier support the better. For jewelry a tripod is OK (been there, done that). For smaller subjects such as pinned insects you may need to ger more fancy. But the main message was not to overdo it with aperture. Diffraction is a real problem. – Jindra Lacko May 2 '17 at 11:20
  • I've had tripods that would do very well and others that wouldn't quite do it for stacking. +1 for the diffraction. – Chris H May 2 '17 at 15:34
  • I use a Manfrotto 190XB tripod - decent, while not spectacular - and an old film era focus rail. I have shot lots of fishing flies with it; these are roughly the size of smaller jewelry items. While the standards of angling press are surely not as exacting as jewelry catalogues my work with this setup was good enough to get published for actual cash, not just exposure (tm) :) – Jindra Lacko May 2 '17 at 15:48
  • Why wouldn't you use a lower aperture for a narrow DOF like in the sample photo? Why recommend something as high as f11? – JPhi1618 May 2 '17 at 20:32

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