Photographing Antique Sterling Silver
by Grant Copland
You'll want to use a digital camera to photograph your antique sterling silver pieces. Taking high quality photographs of antique sterling silver and jewellery is something that most people don't seem to know how to master the art of. But professionals do know what to do, and you can learn from them. Professionals know that it's really not that hard.
Find a digital camera that isn't too expensive and you've got all the equipment that you need.
The first thing you want to do is get the right focus. Use your camera manual and learn how to set your camera to “spot focus”. A digital camera's normal focus mode is some kind of average focus mode. In other words, normally the camera shall automatically go into wide-angle mode and then, once having assessed, it will take an average focus needed for that area and make that the matrix for its focusing.
Spot focus mode permits you to control with more precision the part of the view that the camera focuses on. Keep in mind though that even with the spot focus mode on, many cameras still cannot lock in on a small detail or a shiny object with the automatic focus working. So, you'll need to have a camera with a high quality manual focus if you're going to need to capture minute details. Another thing you'll want in order to get a good, sharp image is a tripod.
Once you know how to focus really well, the next thing you'll want to look at is lighting. Soft, or “diffuse”, light is what works best with antique sterling silver. Flashes on a camera wreck the lighting and don't give you a clear picture. The flash when doing antique sterling silver photography is not in the right position and it is too bright at the closeness level that you need. Again, a flash on the camera will create thick shadows that aren't appealing and are distracting.
Continuous lighting as opposed to flash is what is best. Continuous lights makes visualizing the final outcome that much easier and more accurate. Compact, daylight-balanced fluorescent bulbs are what many photographers recommend. Even these bulbs will need to be diffused, however, and the recommended thing for that end is a light tent.
Then you need to concentrate on exposure. To do this you need to be getting enough light to the camera's “image sensor”. The camera's auto mechanism might be set too low if you are taking displeasing photographs of your antique sterling silver. The mechanized system does not anticipate a light background. Slightly overexpose your image to solve this problem.

Copyright 2007,Lemur Holdings Pty Ltd, All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or published without our written permission.
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