Opal Magic

I have recently had a number of requests for one of a kind, opal designs and although my opal collection is extensive, the opal selection on my web site was neither up to date nor impressive.  Most Februarys, I attend the Tucson gem and mineral show to hand pick opals and fire agates to incorporate into custom jewelry designs. Returning home, I weigh and catalogue each stone and attempt to take photos of my treasures, but capturing the true color and illusive fire of the stones is challenging and the results often disappointing.

Two weeks ago, updating my opal selection on the web site became a priority and I handed my daughter Alisha, a bag of iridescent treasures to photograph. She has been my product photographer for over a year now and has mastered the nuances of our light box and continually delights me with her creative product imagery.  For two days Alisha struggled to take photos of our opals using varied exposures and lighting options. She spent another day editing the images but in the end, we were both disappointed with the results.  In real life, these opals are iridescent, fiery delights but the first round of photos lacked luster.  Undaunted, Alisha ventured outside with various colors of paper, slate, marble and camera. Traditionally, jewelry shots are taken in a light box to eliminate distracting shadows, but opals come alive in sunlight and Alisha does her best to make the dramatic shadows work to her advantage. From our upstairs office window, I can see her kneeling on the cement patio, taking photos of the stones from multiple angles. She frequently downloads images on her computer to see if she has captured the magic before moving onto the next opal.  In retrospect, I wished I had thought to take photos of Alisha, crouching down with glittering stones scattered about her and her camera poised.

Many of you may not realize what a lot of effort goes into a single posting of jewelry. Not only do we design all of the jewelry on our web site and fly to Tucson to hand pick exceptional gemstones, but we create all of the online content for both  martymagic.com  and www.etsy.com/shop/martymagic

Alisha does most of our product photography and up until recently, all of the photo editing. We recently added Laura to assist us with “operations” and she is already doing some photo editing and copy writing so there is light at the end of the tunnel instead of just the oncoming train. There are images to size and edit, files to download and skews and key words to enter. I will continue to write the majority of product descriptions but with Laura’s help both Alisha and I look forward to more creative time in the studio.

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2 Responses to Opal Magic

  1. Roy says:

    Thank you for this nice blog article.

    Yes, opal-photography is indeed a special field and hard work.

    Like your daughter I’ve started to experiment with different cameras & objectives, camera settings ,backgrounds, lighting setups . . .

    Now I keep it simple and use my DSRL camera equipped with a macro objective, two flexible gooseneck lamps for directional lighting and capture the images of opals on a plain black or white background.

    For me it is more time consuming to find the right position of the opal to show most of the play-of color than the image processing afterwards.


    • marty says:

      Hello Roy, Thank you for your suggestions. I will pass them on to Alisha. We do some image processing after the shot, but try to keep the images as true to life as possible.

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