We wrapped our first catalog shoot for Jewelry Design Center, a new client for our studio and one of the largest jewelers in Spokane. Shooting diamonds and precious stones is always an exercise in patience as even the slightest movement in lighting, camera, or subject position can dramatically change the sparkle or "fire" in the stones.
The settings and bands can also be a challenge because of their highly reflective properties which mirror essentially every angle in the room. Trying to balance the two (stone/settings) and make them both captivating at the same time takes a bit of magic.
Typically, for an advertising shoot, we would shoot for each of those elements separately and composite them in post. On a catalog shoot however, efficiency is key. The budgets are smaller with time frames to match, which means we have to capture the entire piece in a single setup.
With our PhaseOne camera, depth-of-field (depth-of-focus) is very shallow (only a couple millimeters) so we have to shoot 15 images per piece, adjusting the focus slightly with each press of the shutter. We then merge all those captures together in a process called "focus stacking" using special software. This allows us to show the entire piece in focus, a task that would be almost impossible with digital cameras.
Once we've merged the photos, we send them off to a retoucher specializing in jewelry, who cleans up any imperfections.
We look forward to doing more elaborate advertising imagery with JDC in the future, but this project was a great way to get familiar with the client and their preferences. Here's a few of the catalog images we created: