December 2012, Ustudio were commissioned to photograph 50 pieces of jewellery and create a new website for Paves Jewellers in Puerto Banus. Paves Jewellers, owned by Nick Yeoman, described as jeweller who revives the classic ethos whilst using modern techniques, materials and styles to offer clients a vast array of options and choices. “Now more and more people walk around with previously exclusive jewellery, those with the means are looking to have bespoke jewellers create unique pieces designed especially for them. It has caused a renaissance of the master jeweller who employs craftsmen to produce individualised jewellery made entirely to order.” Nick Yeoman, is one such master Jeweller. “We sell ‘conventional’ jewellery too,” says Nick, “but those who can afford it are increasingly searching for something more personal and exclusive.”
Trained as a jewellery designer himself, he has been in the trade since he was a teenager, learning everything from his father and evolving with the times. “It is good to see that true jewellers in the classic sense are coming back, for it is they who can produce the custom-made designs and finest workmanship that large-scale producers simply cannot match.”
Individualism, quality and ultimately design are key issues – be it in jewellery, silverware or personalised accessories – with exclusivity top of the list. “Some of our clients ask us to make personalised versions of famous Cartier rings or Chopard necklaces, but I prefer to create something with them that is truly unique to their style. After that, we throw away the mould. Combined with the complexity of handcrafted work it pretty much ensures no one else will be wearing the same thing.”
It is this such vision and creativity that has led Nick to trust Ustudio with creating a website that will match his quality pieces, photographing jewellery is a tricky business and our photographer Adam Vida was more than up for the job. Described as a perfectionist with a an eye for detail, Adam Vida is one of the best photographers in Marbella at the moment.
“Jewelry is very difficult to photograph because it reflects in many cases up to 99% of the light is receives. It is very shiny, highly polished and above all this it may contain color stones or diamonds that make the job even harder.” says Adam
“In many cases, photographing jewellery is like taking a picture of a mirror – you will see all kind of items being reflected into the piece – the lights, the camera, yourself, the table etc.”
The solution to Jewelry photography is the use of an enclosed lighting system. The reasons are many. The enclosed system wraps even and balanced light around the entire product you’re photographing. The advantages include an even distribution of light, consistent natural lighting, elimination of glare, and illumination of hard to reach spots.
Ustudio were in Paves for a total of 11 days, photographing a total of 67 pieces in various angles, taking over 2,000 images in total. All the jewellery pieces were professionally steam cleaned beforehand.
The most difficult and time consuming part of this process is setting up the lighting for each piece. Each piece of jewellery is unique and will reflect light in different ways which means taking dozens of test shots and experimenting with the white backing boards to get the desired result.
When we are happy with the final test image, we can proceed with the actual shooting of the jewellery piece. With the camera attached to micro rails, Adam will move the camera closer on each shot, taking up to 12 shots. Our Master re-toucher and photoshop expert Igor Leshchenko will take these 12 camera raw images and begin with the Focus Stacking technique.
Focus stacking is a technique used to increase depth of field in a shot with post production. This works especially well for shots using long lens and in this case, a macro lens. This technique combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than any of the individual source images.
The starting point for focus stacking is a series of images captured at different focal depths; in each image different areas of the jewellery piece will be in focus. While none of these images has the jewellery entirely in focus they collectively contain all the data required to generate an image which has all parts of the sample in focus. In-focus regions of each image may be detected automatically, The in-focus patches are then blended together to generate the final image.