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Gemstone Photography

Gemstone photography is one of the most critical aspects of selling gems online.  While our own photography has improved markedly since starting the website, we know there is plenty of room left for improvement.  Even with the best equipment and photographic skills, this particular area is incredibly specialised and very few people can do it well. 

One of the best photographers around for this type of work is Jeff Scovil – his work is incredible and his photo gallery shows just a few examples of his work – Jeff Scovil Photo Gallery

rut_quartz.JPG

There are lots of great shots here of gemstones, minerals and the like.
One I particularly liked was this rutilated quartz from Brazil.
(copyright J.Scovil at www.scovilphoto.com)

As for our photography, we are currently using a Fuji Finepix 9500 digital camera with a Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro lens.  Camera is held steady with a heavy microscope base which allows some fine adjustment for manual focusing.  Cool white flourescent lighting is used to approximate daylight in a standardised set-up.  Even with all of this, a good shot can take many attempts and much time.  

To the casual observer, it might seem an easy job just to shoot off a few snaps but it is not unusual to spend some hours on getting a shot we are happy with.  The tiny size of a gemstone (usually much less than a centimetre) and many facets where light can reflect and glare creates a number of photographic challenges.  And just when you have the camera set up for a cut sapphire for example, switching to a rough aquamarine means adjusting all the settings.

Professional photographers who are skilled in gemstone photography are very difficult to find and justifiably charge a lot for their specialised skills.  We have made the decision to do this job ourselves so we can pass these cost savings on to our customers.  Hopefully our customers will allow for the fact that we are doing the best we can with the limited resources at our disposal.

For those interested in doing this kind of photography, be prepared for lots of trial and error.  These websites have a lot of great information that can help you get started:

http://www.theimage.com/photography/index.htm
http://www.theimage.com/photography/photopg26.htm
http://lapidaryart.com/projects_2.html
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/directory/library/subject/9/1

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah Lane (Aussie Sapphire)

 

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  1. Ping from Shane Johnson:

    Andrew and Leah,
    I understand what you’re saying re the challenges in taking good pikkies of gemstones – every time I go to take pikkies it takes me three times as long as expected. In no particular order, the things that go wrong are usually:
    – stoopid Olympus 5060, which is an otherwise great camera, tends to focus on the wrong object in macro shots with small surface area objects (such as gemstones!!).
    – insufficient depth of field to produce a clean shot across the entire photo. More of a problem in massed gem shots or strongly 3d objects.
    – poor lighting. flaring or flat light, even both at once. Am getting better at the lighting, but it’s quite a different approach to traditional photography.

    The thing I find frustrating about gem photography is that I’ve been doing SLR photography for 30-ish years, yet am still not getting it right. I know that with a DSLR instead of a compact digital, plus dedicated lights, I could do better, but the darling wife might object!!

    Regards,
    Shane
    PS – Did you confirm that 7 Oaks is sold or closed down?

  2. Ping from Aussie Sapphire:

    Gday Shane,

    Yes it is a challenge to say the least.

    Have not checked on 7 Oaks but will do so asap.