Before I decide how I want to stage an heirloom piece, I consult with the client to understand the story and emotions connected to the object. In this case, this cameo is an old estate piece. It is never worn, but evokes memories of a bygone era.
The first step was to choose a background. I first looked at the piece against black velvet. The look was just too stark and heavy. The burgundy lace complemented the color of the cameo without matching exactly. It is rich and makes me think of a formal dress.
Cameo & Pearls
The first photo I took was just of the cameo on the lace. It was still too stark, there was nothing to put the cameo in context. Given the size of the pin, I was very limited on any accessories. And I wanted the attention to be on the pin, not the other pieces.
I decided a string of pearls might be a nice complement and found a set of costume beads in my own stash of jewelry. I wanted to frame the piece without being too obvious and played with some layouts. Arrange the pearls, look through the viewfinder, rearrange the pearls, look through the view finder. etc, etc. Finally I found a look that I liked. With the settings I used, I was able to get the pin sharp but leave the pearls just a little soft.
But what I thought would be easy to edit and finalize… wasn’t! Once I pulled the image up and really looked at it, the pearls were just a little too cool and contrasted (badly) with the warmth of the cameo. Ugh – I really didn’t feel like reshooting because I was happy with everything else. So I went to work in Photoshop. I created a layer on the top with circles aligned with each and every pearl. I used that to apply a filter to warm them up, just a smidge. It’s not a dramatic change, but it made a world of difference to my eye.
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