Join Konrad Eek for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with diffusion boxes, part of Product Photography for Jewelry.
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So, lighting for jewelry is essentially a task of modifying the light in a very small area. And I'm going to show you a couple of different tools that you can use in order to create that modified light. The first and most affordable is a fairly simple project you can take on. Starting off with a sheet of foam core that you can get at the, local art supply place. These full sheets come in 32 by 40 inch sizes, and we're going to make a series of cuts in order to make a small diffusion chamber to use for lighting.
The first cut I'll make is in the 40 inch dimension. I will cut crosswise with a very sharp knife at 12 inches. And then I will make a second cross wise cut once again at 12 inches. These two pieces I'll then take and cut at the 12 inch mark creating a hinge. The way this will work, if you look at foam core the way its constructed, it's a layer of light card stock. A layer of foam and a lay, another layer of card stock.
So you've got card stock, foam, card stock. To make a hinge, I'm just going to cut through the first layer of card stock and the foam. And this is really pretty easily done. You'll use a straight edge. You'll let, be able to feel your knife penetrate that first layer. And you just don't want to use enough pressure to cut through the second. Then you can fold, at that point, and you'll have, essentially, a paper hinge. That you've created in the foam board. So we'll make that same cut at 12 inches in each one of the boards, and then in the second board we'll cut a window out of it.
Leaving two inches on each side, and the window that we've made is 8 by 13 inches long. Reason for the two inches is strength. You don't want the foam core to be so weak that it won't last over time. The reason for the 13 inch length of the window is most of the backgrounds we'll use will be about 12 inches by 12 inches. This way you've got a diffusion panel here. That's wider than the background you're using. So you'll be able to get nice diffused light over the entire width of your shot.
To make the light diffuse, we're going to use some sort of material to diffuse the light. in this case, what I'm using is a product made by Rosco called Tough Rolux. And you can see, it's just kind of milky. You can see if my hand behind it, how it softens the lines of my hand. and we're actually using two layers of it to make it even more diffuse. The advantage of this product is over time, it's color neutral, and the color of it won't shift, it won't add any kind of a color cast.
You can probably find this at any camera store in a 20 by 24 sheets. One sheet would be enough to double over for the diffusion. If you don't have access to Rolux, you can also use wax paper. works very well, or grafting vellum. Just anything that is translucent and white. And if you do have a little bit of a color cast, it's a pretty easy fix in Photoshop to make things neutral. So we've started off and we've got this that we've cut out. We're going to set that aside. Going to take our two panels, and you can see the hinge.
You fold it and it allows it to stand up. Then you'll take the other panel and fold it, and overlap them like this. The 12-inch dimension, once again, matches up with the size of whatever background we might place within here. And then the remaining pieces, we're going to make two cuts going in the opposite direction at 13 inches in width. And what we use these pieces for one of them I'll cut at about one third and the other I'll leave in tact. And when we have this set up we use these as fill cards the 13 inches allows it to overlap the 12 inch dimension.
We put a fill card on the top, leave a gap for the camera. Put in another fill card. You've got a third one for the front. And then we shine our light in through the Diffusion panel on the side. And what this does is provides directional light with lots of fills, so you get very soft shadows and a nice, even illumination. Cost wise foam core. If you get regular foam core it usually runs about $6 or $7 for the 32 by 40 sheet. If you can find it, I would recommend buying acid free foam core.
The advantage of the acid free foam core is it doesn't change color over time, where the regular foam core will. You'll pay a couple of dollars more a sheet if you buy the acid free. Okay, another way to go, if you want to spend a little bit more money is you can buy a manufactured diffusion chamber. The one I want to show you we got from Calumet Photographic. And you can see it's larger and the entire thing is made of diffusion material.
It's a plastic and, so you have both sides, like this, are smooth and translucent. So you can position your light source anywhere, giving you more control over the illumination. The other advantage is this scale you can put larger objects in it. it also really gives you a little bit more lighting control. For shooting purposes. It has three holes that you can use. One for a low angle, this one for kind of the medium, to three quarter angle.
And then this hole right here for shooting straight down at your product. the other thing that's nice about this, it all comes apart, it's put together with zippers. And you can see you, under the zippers lay the parts together, you can roll it up into a tube, and it will actually pack and store in this bag that they provide with the unit. it's well made and durable, and is a good option, cost wise, with shipping it came in at less than $100. So, these are two tools that we're going to use to demonstrate lighting techniques for you, for jewelry, and small objects.
The course then demonstrates several shooting scenarios, including a ring, a wristwatch, and a necklace and earring set. Each scenario explores a different lighting tool, from inexpensive flash to larger studio strobes to continuous lights. Along the way, Konrad shares tips for styling and positioning jewelry for best results. Last, learn the kinds of Adobe Photoshop post-processing involved in refining jewelry photographs.