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As some of you may know since I've mentioned it before, I've been shooting vintage jewelry with my Nikon D800 in a light tent, or out of the light tent but with soft boxes. (just got a $2,000 advance last week).

 

I've run into this problem several times.  I shoot a piece that is a shade of light purple, and when I load it into Photoshop, the color is light blue.

I set the jewelry on my desk as I develop the images, so I can be sure to get the color right.  I may have 10-20 pieces scattered around.

 

 One day, as I looked at the image on my screen, a beautiful blue piece, I begin hunting for that piece to compare.  I couldn't find it.  Looked and looked.  Finally I found it by shape and detail. Uh oh, it was purple.  No wonder I couldn't find that beautiful blue piece.

 

Yesterday, I worked on a piece that had dark purple stones in the middle with two-deep light purple smaller stones around the edge.  I got purple in the middle and blue on the edges.  It was quite lovely, but WRONG!

 

What the heck is going on?  I color correct with the white balance tool, and have use the eyedroppers in levels, but I still get blue for purple.  What can I do to combat this?  Is it the camera?  I know purple is made up of blue and red channels, somehow the camera is reading the blue on certain shades but not the red.

 

Again, what can I do to fix it?

 

Betty

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Betty are the stones backed at all, or are the settings open. If they are open sometimes, I stress sometimes, a piece of silver foil placed behind the stone can help. 

I have not shot much jewellery on digital but I remember on film stones like sapphires, for example did often go very dead looking.  

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One possibility might be to use an imaging program that offers different color tastes based on types of film. I use Silkypix 6 which, like previous versions, can modify JPEGs and TIFFs as well as RAW files and allows one to choose among Velvia, Kodachrome, Provia, etc.. Recently I took the option of downloading a free DxO Filmpack 3 that does a similar thing. I don't know what effect it would have on gems or other reflective objects but it might be worth a try.

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Sometimes a light tent can give problems flare/reflection on the stone can affect colour/ color. Some direct light that will bounce into the facets and reflect back the colour. It is all trial and error. I had many errors on film!!!

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Betty,

 

in Photoshop, do you use any way of getting rid of CA or color fringing? Some can be quite crude and leave you with weird discolored or desaturated rims.

 

With most product photography that involves critical color rendition, it's a good idea to profile your camera for the given light. And even then with certain fabrics; car paint, white paper or gems, you get weird color shifts because some pigments just behave differently than others for a given light.

Profiling in Photoshop: pdf here

The DNG Profile Editor for Mac or Windows.

You will need a ColorChecker. The Mini version is far more useful, but discontinued in favor of the (more expensive of course) ColorChecker Passport.

 

wim

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I suspect it's a characteristic of the sensor Betty. It doesn't seem to be a simple case of white balance because, as you say, only segments of the image are at fault wherein globally you're OK. My Leica M240 displays a colour shift wherein under certain circumstances black invariably renders as purple. When I enage this problem, i.e. studio lighting and product shoots, I employ a UV/IR filter for correction.

 

It may well work in your situation. Worth a try.

 

Conversely, being aware of the issue I also have a pre-set in my workflow were I have corrected the flaw manually.

 

As you may gather, it's just one of those things we need to live with but easily countered.

Edited by ReeRay
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How are you setting white balance on the camera?  Do you have the camera set to auto white balance?  For product photography you should at the very least use a gray card so you can be sure your color is accurately represented and consistent between images.

 

Many product photographers incorporate the use of an X-Rite Color Checker to get appropriate color balance.

Edited by Ed Endicott
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Oh my, gems . . . why not choose something hard, Betty? (Kidding, of course.)

 

Do you have Nikon Capture NX2 on your Mac (or the Nik add-on for PS)?  Perhaps you could change the color with the Color Points tool? Also you might take one of the problem gems outside and shoot it in bright open shade, as a test to see if that produces the correct color.  If it does, your problem might well be your lights. 

 

This is not my area, but I once had a client for tabletop, a fancy wristwatch company. Gems or watches, shiny, bright surfaces are tricky.

 

Good luck!

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I think Ed has it . . . if you're shooting NEF with your Nikon, Photoshop is not as accurate with the colours from Nikon cameras as Nikon's own software, Capture NX2. The differences can sometimes be quite distinct, and it's why I always convert NEFs to tiffs in NX2 before opening them in photoshop.

 

IF you are shooting NEF, I'd strongly suggest you open them in NX2 and compare--it may be that simple.

 

dd

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Hmmm, I no longer have NX2 on my computer. When I bought my last iMac, I didn't load it.  Do I still have it around somewhere?  Who knows...but I think that is a good option.  This morning, I just went through a major search hunting for my quarterly tax form, thanks to cleaning and reorganizing a month ago. I love it when I reorganize and then can't find anything. :D  Looking for NX2 isn't appealing today! 

 

Also I have several Nik programs, not sure if they are what I need for this.  I have Color Efex 4 Pro.

 

I do use a grey card to set white balance while developing, either that or a black card at the edges of the photo so I can set the color.  But I do have the camera set on auto white balance.  

 

Ed, yes, when I was approached for this job, I saw the opportunity but yet didn't have a clue how to go about it.  Lots of Internet studying and I came up with a plan, and actually the client is pleased out of his mind.  Does a lot for my ego to hear him rave about the images.  He has shown a lot of business people the images and has people asking for my name and phone number, wanting to hire me.  I told him to please don't give out my contact info, he's keeping me busier than I would like, actually.  A Swarovski rep even raved about them! I guess I'm doing something right, but if I were shooting for Rolex watch company or someone like that, I'd be woefully technically under equipped.  I know that.

 

But $7500 for 4 months work, part time, earning $40-$60 an hour can't be sneezed at.  No job I ever held in my lifetime came close, even if I doubled my other salaries to come in line to what they might pay in today's market.  At the most, I might be earning $20 an hour with those previous jobs today.

 

What I earn is variable according to how long it takes me to set up the particular shot and how many pieces are in the shot.  I get $8 for one piece, $10 for 2 pieces, $12 for 3 (a necklace, earrings and bracelet) $15 for a troublesome special setup.  So how fast I shoot them and how long it takes to PP makes it variable. I usually only shoot 10-15 pieces at a time.  I do have a life outside of that!

 

Thank you all for the suggestions.  Do any of you have experience in the color channels of Photoshop?  I do wonder if there is a technique there than can be used.  I don't mess with channels.

 

Betty

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The issue with color channels in photoshop is that they effect the entire image at once.  You will need to create multiple layers, then adjust each layer accordingly, then erase what you don't use and flatten the image.

 

A much easier/more efficient way to do it would be to take a photograph of the gray card, then set custom white balance in the camera based on that photo, then shoot your images...you can "drop and pop" through multiple photos that way.

 

If you are shooting over a white background you can adjust the color (I would start with white balance) so that the product is correct, then if you want a #FFFFFFF background, you can select a brush and over expose the background by two stops to make the background an ultra pure white.

 

Here are examples from a shoot I did a couple of years ago

 

 

D49T7X.jpg

 

 

D49T7M.jpg

 

 

D49T4Y.jpg

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P.S. Don Giannatti did an excellent tutorial over at Creative Live a couple of years on product and tabletop photography.  Very good resource if you're starting out.

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I've got my routine down how I like it, but the color shift on purple is what reared an ugly head.  Before I started, I checked out many links from reputable jewelry shooters and picked up tips.  I'm actually not shooting on white, but black and silver.

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Guest dlmphotog

Betty,

 

I use the ColorChecker Passport to "profile" all my camera sensors this insures true color on profiled monitors using software that is color aware.

 

I shoot the color target in the lighting and camera ISO I will use for the shoot. You then make a DNG from the RAW file (I use Adobe Camera Raw) save this DNG to your Desktop then run the ColorChecker software. Drag the DNG file onto the ColorChecker window and it automatically generates a color profile for your specific camera sensor and ISO.

 

http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?Action=support&ID=1257

 

Hope this helps.

 

David L. Moore

Edited by dlmphotog
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Betty,

 

I use the ColorChecker Passport to "profile" all my camera sensors this insures true color on profiled monitors using software that is color aware.

 

I shoot the color target in the lighting and camera ISO I will use for the shoot. You then make a DNG from the RAW file (I use Adobe Camera Raw) save this DNG to your Desktop then run the ColorChecker software. Drag the DNG file onto the ColorChecker window and it automatically generates a color profile for your specific camera sensor and ISO.

 

http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?Action=support&ID=1257

 

Hope this helps.

 

David L. Moore

 

Thanks David. I watched the video and it looks a very useful item.  I pretty much understand everything except the part I underlined above. This changes only the group of pictures taken in that particular scene, by my choice, right?  I don't particularly understand how it knows what camera I'm using.   You see, I'm not too technical. I'm a left-handed, right-brained creative.  A different animal from most of you techies.

 

Betty

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Betty,

 

No worries, the software will do its magic and generate a profile and save it to the folder/location where Adobe Camera Raw can find it. In Camera Raw under the Camera Calibration tab (looks like a camera) you will see a drop down menu for Camera Profiles. This is where you select the profile that you saved earlier. You can apply this profile to all/some of the images being processed in Camera Raw just as you can do with other Camera Raw settings.

 

Color consistency from capture to display to output is the goal. Profiling each link along the way is the way to achieve this goal. I’m not a color expert just an end user striving for color consistency.

 

Hope this help,

 

David L. Moore

Edited by dlmphotog
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Hi Betty,

I sometimes make subtle colour changes in photographs by making an adjustment (in Photoshop or Lightroom) in Hue Saturation Luminance, by altering the Hue of the colour I want to change.  It may work with your jewelry images, to produce subtle colour changes.

 

Graham

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Betty I spent may years photographing antique and modern jewellery and some stones can a problematic, even within an item. Quality, cut etc can make some stones difficult. It strikes me that this far into your job profiling is not necessarily the issue.

 

I suggest again experimenting with lighting and technique on these 'purple' stones. If there is no backing to the stone try a little bit of silver foil behind it. Reflecting some back through the facets can, in some circumstances, lift and improve the colour.   

 

Ed's suggestion of shooting in daylight might help a different quality and colour of light might alter the way the stones colour is recorded by the sensor.

 

Try shooting outside of the light tent a softbox and or tracing paper can give better results.

 

You can try all this in conjunction with the excellent advice above regarding profiling etc.

 

Bets of luck and you are obviously doing something right if your client is very happy. 

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Wow, you guys have some great suggestions.  The stones are backed, BTW.  Listen to this.  Today I decided to try the Fuji X-T1.  I've been wanting to for awhile, but the project I was working on had me slammed for time, and I just didn't want to figure out a new camera when I had my setting perfect for the D800.

 

I shot 3 test shots, put 'em into PS, and was very pleased!  I shot with the 56mm portrait lens, but it did admirably.  The setup I'm using now is actually outside the light tent.  I still do some inside on busts, but most of it is with the jewelry lying on black or silver satin on a bench, with the softbox lights pointed down, and the camera pointed down.

 

I was so pleased I did the whole shoot today with the Fuji, and one of the pieces was...drum roll....purple.  And I got a perfect rendition of color.  It must be something with the Nikon sensor, because the purple that went blue with the Nikon was shot with the same setup.  The images are also sharper with the Fuji.  The 56mm is only barely perfect for this. I will try the 18-55 next because I will be needing to shoot some 3 piece sets and will need to zoom out.  Short of putting the tripod on a lift, the 56 won't cut it.

 

Take that, Nikon. :wacko:

 

Betty

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Guest dlmphotog

Betty,

 

Glad to hear the positive news.

 

Have you tried or are you using the Fuji Camera Remote App? If you have not tried this app and have an IPad or IPhone it is a GREAT way to control the X-T1 on a tripod (even if it is on a lift) :)

 

David L. Moore

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No, David, I haven't tried the Ap.  I have a iMac, but traded my iPhone in for a droid last year.  Never did get the iPad, though I've considered it.  Ahh, that would be one more thingamabob to find another outlet for recharging.  If the power grid ever goes down, this world will be a strange place.  Besides, the technical luddite I am, I'd probably get an ulcer figuring out how to use the Ap! :P

 

Thing is, I have to look through the viewfinder to get the jewelry centered just so.  Then it is nudge, nudge, nudge with bits and pieces.

 

Betty

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Wow, you guys have some great suggestions.  The stones are backed, BTW.  Listen to this.  Today I decided to try the Fuji X-T1.  I've been wanting to for awhile, but the project I was working on had me slammed for time, and I just didn't want to figure out a new camera when I had my setting perfect for the D800.

 

I shot 3 test shots, put 'em into PS, and was very pleased!  I shot with the 56mm portrait lens, but it did admirably.  The setup I'm using now is actually outside the light tent.  I still do some inside on busts, but most of it is with the jewelry lying on black or silver satin on a bench, with the softbox lights pointed down, and the camera pointed down.

 

I was so pleased I did the whole shoot today with the Fuji, and one of the pieces was...drum roll....purple.  And I got a perfect rendition of color.  It must be something with the Nikon sensor, because the purple that went blue with the Nikon was shot with the same setup.  The images are also sharper with the Fuji.  The 56mm is only barely perfect for this. I will try the 18-55 next because I will be needing to shoot some 3 piece sets and will need to zoom out.  Short of putting the tripod on a lift, the 56 won't cut it.

 

Take that, Nikon. :wacko:

 

Betty

Told you it was a sensor thing.

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Betty,

 

Looks like FujiFilm makes an App for android.

 

http://app.fujifilm-dsc.com/app/camera_app/pc/en/

 

David L. Moore

 

Quite right. I have this app on my phone for surreptitious shooting. Only tried it out once but works well. Allows you to select focus point by touching the image on the phone then shoot.

 

Allan

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 It must be something with the Nikon sensor, because the purple that went blue with the Nikon was shot with the same setup.

 

Take that, Nikon. :wacko:

 

Betty

Told you it was a sensor thing.

 

 

You both are trying to say that you have not profiled your camera. And that the default profile in Adobe Raw is not perfect in this case for this light and for this subject.

 

For this light: Profile your camera.

 

For this subject: learn how to use the various color sliders in Camera Raw, for the correction of the rendition of specific pigments however tiny the details. 

If you have to do this often or the client is demanding accurate color rendition: get a color viewing booth and put the original in there next to your monitor (which of course is calibrated to the same standard).

 

Welcome to the world of product photography. After you've mastered this, try copying paintings or shooting tulips for packaging.

- I was not very good at tulips ;-)

 

wim

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