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Practice, practice, practice

“Forget perfect on the first try. In the face of frustration, your best tool is a few deep breaths, and remembering that you can do anything once you’ve practiced two hundred times. Seriously.” -- Andrea Buchanan

I’ve learned that the secret to photographing jewelry is practice. And more practice. And still more practice. Those photos you see that look absolutely amazing? They are typically either CAD drawings or a composite of many, many photographs. To get something so small completely in focus really can’t be done any other way. This necklace is an example of that.

Diamond Pendant

This image is a composite of 9 different photos – all focused on a different part of the necklace – the left edge of the diamond, the center of the diamond, the right edge, the sections of the chain, the right edge of the pendant and the top and bottom. All while the necklace is held perfectly still – no movement whatsoever. The camera also has to be completely still, and stay in the same position, so a good tripod is essential.

Once the photos are completed and edited a bit, they are combined using software like Adobe Photoshop or Helicon Focus. Personally, I like the Helicon software better, but they’re both pretty impressive. They use algorithms to determine which parts of each picture are in focus and combine those to a single image. But they can’t fix bad shots or shots that are different in placement. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way! And when that happens, it’s back to the studio to reshoot (and I can’t charge clients for that extra time – gotta work to get it right the first time!).

I actually find this process calming. I focus on the photo shoot and the editing, and all my worries disappear for a while. But I suppose it can also be considered tedious. I’m sure I’ll get a project that feels that way, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Let me know if you’ve tried jewelry photography and have any questions. Maybe we can troubleshoot together. And if you have a family heirloom piece you want photographed, let me know. I’d be happy to help out.


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