Have you heard the term candela? Yes, it has to do with
light that is part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation
that the human eye can see. So what has candela
to do with jewelry photography?
Well, everyone knows that photography is a form of art
made possible by of light. Without light, there is no photography.
Understanding and controlling light have
always been the most essential aspects of great jewelry
The biggest mistake amateurs make when taking pictures
is expecting to capture the same range of light on a
digital back as seen by the eye. Not so fast: the amount
of light you see is a broader range than the amount of
light a digital back can capture. While the eye can see a
wide range at the same time, digital chips cannot. The
difference is that a digital chip can capture light all
across the light spectrum, but not all at the same time
like your eye can. Let's examine a few lighting techniques
used in digital jewelry photography.
The simplest form of lighting. It is achieved by placing
the light source around the camera lens pointing towards
the object to be photographed. For example flash units
on top of cameras, ring lights or soft boxes next to the
lens. Front lighting is flat, and is best used
for illustrative purposes. When used for jewelry photography is unexciting,
flat and sometimes causes glare from certain
areas on the reflective surface that reflects the light from
Side lighting gives the impression of three dimensions.
By illuminating the subject from the side, the viewer
gets the impression of depth, as opposed to the flat, two-dimensional
effect of front lighting. Side lighting can be
most effective in accentuating the textures of surfaces.
Used in jewelry photography one must be careful placing
the light to avoid unwanted reflections.
AVAILABLE NATURAL LIGHT
It completely surrounds a subject. This lighting situation
is very even and already exists in an indoor or outdoor
setting without adding any artificial illumination by the
photographer. When combined with other reflective surfaces
such as silver cards, it can be an effective technique
in jewelry photography to achieve soft and pronounced
edges on metals and gemstones.
Direct lighting results in high contrast especially when
it's coming from a single source such as the Sun or a fixture
equipped with a fresnel lens. It produces high contrast
captures with deep shadows and overall drama. In
jewelry photography it's mostly used in combination
with other softer light sources in order to
add a certain creative effect to the general capture. Using high contrast
lighting adds impact and as well as accentuates textures.
It can also be used to light through diffusing surfaces
such as acrylic or cloth to create a softer shadows.
Diffused scattered light rays, produce softer light, lessen
contrast and smoothes out details in the subject. The
resulting images tend to be dreamy, romantic. This technique
is very good for showing overall and shadow
details. It is the most widely used method in jewelry
Spotlighting is a useful tool to focus attention on a certain
area. Direct spotlighting is very dramatic however in
jewelry photography most surfaces are reflective;
therefore special techniques must be applied when spotlighting
to diffuse and control the reflections and glare.
The end result can be quite compelling.
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