View Full Version : Tight close ups

06-23-2006, 01:59 PM

I hope this thread is in the right place.

I'm trying to get some nice shots of the jewelry I've done since I'd like to take commissions. What are some optimal light/camera settings for taking good, close up craft pics?
I know my camera has a "macro" setting for extreme close ups, but I haven't been pleased with the results.

A few shots here. (http://images.cosplay.com/gallery.php?cat=43578&member=36190)

Few more here! (http://images.cosplay.com/gallery.php?cat=36596&member=36190)

Thanks a bunch!

06-23-2006, 03:59 PM
For close up shots of jewlery or small items, you generally want the light to shine from the side of the subject or the back at an angle. I can't give you specifics, but some other photographer might be able to help you with that.

Are you using a point-and-shoot (P&S) camera? Since the P&S's flash is on the camera near the lens, yout tend to get pictures that wash out the subject like in your examples.

To get really nice shots, you probably need a flash system where you place the flash to the side or rear of the subject and use the camera to fire off the shot. But this arrangement is not generally possible with P&S cameras.

06-23-2006, 05:53 PM
Are you using a tripod with these pictures, or at least a steady table?

Irregardless of the lighting, which I think Eriol probably is right on, the thing with macro photography is that focusing usually has to be really precise, and an inch difference in movement is more than enough to throw off focus. The basic movements of the hand will throw off focus much much faster in macro than anything else, so you need to either be dead steady, or use a tripod. Since you're talking about photographing fixed objects, a tripod makes a lot of sense here.

If you can control the focusing manually, macro work like this would be a good time to do so, especially if you're using a tripod, where you can then make predictable adjustments in focus to get things right.

My sister actually works at a place where one of her duties is macro photography & digital touchup of jewelry for a wholesaler, so I'll make sure to ask her, since she may have tips on lighting that even I don't know about.

06-25-2006, 12:36 PM
I knew one person who shot jewelry on a regular basis. Hist tools included wires and glass.

06-26-2006, 06:18 PM
A very big thing for macro is lighting. Many times you are so close that a normal flash will fire over the top of the item you are trying to take a picture of. What you need are lights on the item and to turn off the flash on the camera, if it is a built in flash, and rely on the lights you placed on the object. There are many ways to light an object. The best is usually putting 2 lamps, one on each side, or putting 1 above the object to light it. Below are some other suggestions I gave someone else on lighting.

For lighting you can open the curtains and place the item in the light from the window. Another option is to use a lamp that you have laying around. You can also put something on the front of the lamp to diffuse the light so it isn't as strong; paper, plastic milk carton sides, and white fabric usually work really good for that. For lighting you will just have to experiment to see what gets you good results. Another option is to set the camera on a tripod and use a longer exposure time, just set the camera to auto and turn the flash off and the camera should do the rest. Doing this though you really can't hold the camera by hand so a tripod or something to set the camera on would be needed.

Hope this helps.

06-30-2006, 04:08 PM
Hello everyone, thanks for the advice!
I'm going to try taking some more photos after Anime Expo. The camera I'm using is a Canon SD550. Its macro setting seems a bit more finicky about light than the Sony CD Mavica I used to use.

I rested my camera on some hardcover books to keep it still, I've got some black velvet to place the jewelry on so it gets most of the light. Most of the bad photos I've taken were at night so I'm going to see if going outside during the the afternoon as well as messing around with some desk lamps to try back lighting the pieces.

Again, thank you all!