Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Photographing Gift Baskets

We recently had a question about photographing gift baskets. Of course an EZcube light tentworks great for shooting gift baskets. And keep in mind that baskets are fairly large so you will probably need a larger size EZcube to allow you some flexibility with your shooting angles.

But here's the real tip. When taking a photo of a gift basket, shoot it without a cellophane wrapping. The cellophane might be critical for shipping and it probably gives your basket a nice finished look. However, cellophane wrapping is very difficult to shoot. Because cellophane is so reflective and sections of it are positioned at alls sorts of crazy angles, it is nearly impossible to avoid unwanted glare when shooting a subject covered in cellophane. And loose cellophane creates even more of a glare problem. So do yourself a favor and shoot your pictures of gift baskets before you cover them with cellophane.

To convince yourself that even professional photographers remove the cellophane before taking a photograph of a gift basket, visit a site like Harry and David. You'll see they have removed the cellophane for their photos.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is an inexpensive lens OK for jewelry photography?

We frequently receive questions like this one from Gary M.:

"I just purchased a Canon Rebel XS with EF-S, 18-55mm lens. I will need some of your items such as the EZCube and other products. First I need to know if this lens is sufficient for jewelry photography."

This question comes up a lot because the entry level digital SLR cameras like the Canon Rebel, Nikon D40, D40x and D60 series are often bundled with inexpensive lenses. These are really nice cameras which are now selling for very affordable prices, including a basic lens.

Quality wise, the inexpensive bundled lenses should be OK, especially if your are shooting images that will end up on a web page. The main issue with lenses for shooting images close up is the minimum focusing distance. As long as the lens can focus on a subject which is about a foot away from the front of the camera, it should be fine. (It needs to be able to focus that close when it is zoomed out to 55mm, not when it's in wide angle mode.)

If you aren't on a tight budget, then a 60, 100, or 105 mm macro lens can deliver better images. But considering that a good macro lens often costs $500 or more, many of you will want to stick with the lenses already bubdled with the camera.