taking pictures of pearl jewellery

Hi Anna! Please excuse my unprofessional terminology ahead of time, ok?

I think picture one, in the upper left hand corner looks the best, although the pearls have a creamy tint in them that the others don't show.
Also, in picture one the pearls have a 'complete' look, you can see a whole pearl. The other two have a whiter-white look, but they look incomplete because the light is so intense the outline of the pearls is 'blasted open'. Overexposed.

Let's see, you noted that a light box Flattens the appearance, all three exposures look 3-dimensional...are we judging for metering with a gray card? The upper right photo looks un-gray-carded, to me.

Still, why the yellowish tint in the first photo, but not in photos2 & 3?

Are we judging between automatic light metering and manual metering and "scene" options on a digital camera?
Thank You LIsa
These photos were better than the ones I made before but I posted them, I saw how imperfect they still are.
Pursuing a white background, they are still overexposed. All shot with macro setting.
YES the first one is with white balance, I think that's the reason why they got a yellow tint, second with gray card, third with grey panel, so the last 2 look "whiter-white".
The gray system is good except I still have to improve the shooting ... first a better camera.
Thanks again
Hmmmm. So the photo 2 was gray-carded. I misread that one, because the background was more gray tinted than photo 3. Since you gray-carded photos 2 & 3, what was different in how you photographed them?

I certainly enjoy your quizzes Anna! I'm not often correct, but you give a brain a valuable workout! It's a great exercise, and visually wonderful, without fail.
I've noticed when I enlarge some commercial site photos of pearls that there's often a wavery area around the pearls. Perhaps the perfectly matched white backgrounds with wavering pearl borders are an indication that the photos are cropped and the pearl images are superimposed on a standard background?
Lisa, too kind of you :)
I photographied 3 in the exact same way, I wanted to compare the white balance /vs gray card / vs gray panel.
Next I will be trying a non-macro setting because for strands, we loose a lot of depth of field with the macro, better for "only" one pearl.
White backgrounds, that was also my conclusion : superimposed on a standard background, meaning that the whole strand has to be completely cropped, OMG, what a job !
Here is what I consider as nice photos.
I'm guessing that Octavia would kinda like to meet Smeagol too !!
I looked at the link, but even the good photos look a bit flattened. Still lots to work on, even for the pros.

I'm going back to the page with underwater photographs, and work fwd again.
Hello friends,
Here is another shot that I tried to improve, thanks for any comment.


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Wow, way better!!! Beautiful and not washed out. You can see the overtones on the pearls in this one. :cool:
Thanks I am glad, I tried so many ways, I spent so much time, tried superimposed of light and dark photos, tried grey card, tried light box, OMG !
At final I do prefer daylight, the setting is macro but shooting is not too close, so that to keep a good definition all over the strand, put it on a white sheet, the direction of light from window is very important, I overexpose the setting, white balance on white sheet, I choose morning light or end of the day.
Post treatment consists of lightening the dark parts of the background paying attention not to cheat with pearl color but keeping the natural shadow of pearls.
At final I "rub" the angles of photo to get it whiter so that not to see the borders/edges of photos.
I think the moment in the year where photos are taken is very important too.
That's my tips !
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Great job! I know how hard it is to take good photos of pearls and it's fun to see your hard work pay off. :cool:
I would like to share how I finally mastered the task of taking good pictures of pearl jewellery!! DIY like a real kiwi I build a light box out of an old carton, masking tape, white light fabric and some white paper. Using a cool white/ daylight lamp placed on top of the whole construct I am now able to take clear pictures!
Why buy, when you can DIY?

Good for you and thanks for sharing. I can do that. I never thought I'd even try a light box, so thanks!

I have one question. How do you put the light on there?
That is totally cool and within most any budget! Thanks for the great photos :)