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Photographing Jewelry Using a Homemade Light Tent
Homemade Light Tent to Photograph Jewelry
Tim Woiner of Brooks Metals, a jewelry wholesaler in Pittsburgh, hired me as a consultant to teach him to photograph jewelry for in house use and promotional mailings. The above picture is the light tent I helped him build out of items that he had around the office. The Lowell hot light hanging above the set could easily be replaced with a reflector and daylight bulb.

The frame for the light tent is a file cabinet frame for hanging folders. I used white pillowcases to surround it to soften the light and eliminate reflections. The white pieces of fome-cor are used to back the pillowcases on the sides if more light is needed because the pillowcases let some of the light through. The additional clip-on light is used when a more directional fill is needed to give dimension to the piece of jewelry.

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Important to note that Tim uses a small table top tripod to keep the camera steady during exposures.
The soft wrapping light that an umbrella or soft box puts out is only available if the device is closer than the diagonal size of the device. If it's used further away than that distance, it turns into a more direct light source. When Tim first showed me the set up, he had the Lowell soft box hanging from the ceiling and he was shooting on the floor. It was almost no different than using on camera flash. I moved the set to a table to keep the light source within that magic distance and his pictures improved right away.

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