Folksy Ltd

Photographing opals

(Sasha Garrett) #1

Does anyone have any tips about how to photograph the colour play of opals (its a welo opal I’m working with) before I throw a tantrum worthy of the toddler next door?
This is what I’ve achieved so far


(Helen Smith) #2

I should think it’s the same problem that I have with some of my glass… I guess you can’t show something being more than one colour at once…? I’ve done a composite photo for one of mine

  • if you find a better solution please let me know!

(Samantha Stanley) #3

I think you’ve done well in the bottom one. I’ve had similar problems with labradorite-it may be something to do with the fact that the camera only has one lense, so it is hard to recreate what we all see in the flesh using our binocular vision. Maybe you could try positioning a small LED light at a 45 degree angle to try and bounce some light around inside the stone, which is a trick some of the professionals use to show the fire in diamonds (or so I’ve heard).

Love Sam x

(Sasha Garrett) #4

I’m off to find my LED light shall report back later…

(Sasha Garrett) #5

This is with the LED light @SamanthaStanley

I don’t know what angle its at - the lamp has an adjustable neck so I just moved it about until I got a good flash. It gives a good show of the green flash but none of the blue or red - I’m wondering if the bulbs aren’t daylight balanced and I need the full spectrum to get maximum flash of colour. Hmmmm, I think whilst I have the lamp set up I might photograph some labradorite to see what sort of results I get for future reference.

(Samantha Stanley) #6

The colour is definitely brighter though! It looks like you are getting a little bit of the violet colour right at the bottom of the opal as well, so with a daylight balanced bulb there is a good chance you might get more colours. I had never tried this myself, I just read about it a month or so ago.

Love Sam x

(Sasha Garrett) #7

The LED lamp trick works well with labradorite/ spectrolite

Again I set up the camera and stone so that they weren’t at funny angles and moved the lamp around until I got a good flash of colour and these ones have come out pretty true in terms of the range of colours shown.
I have now found a 6000 kelvin LED bulb but it doesn’t fit my lamp!

(Jacqueline Ostrowka) #8

I had trouble with opal but labradorite in natural daylight worked well too although could be better.

(Helen Smith) #9

Ooh now the LED lights pics look really interesting…definitely something to try.

(Samantha Stanley) #10

That does work well, Sasha! The labradorite is especially good. It’s got the full range of colours just as it looks in real life. :smile: I will have to try and replicate this myself the next time I use my labradorite beads.

Love Sam x

(Sasha Garrett) #11

This is the led lamp I have - I clamped it to the table and can reposition the lamp to my hearts content to get the right angle. It normally lives clamped to my work bench where the adjustability is equally useful.
It would be interesting to see what effect it has on your glass.

(Helen Smith) #12

Ooh thanks @SashaGarrett - I was thinking only this week that I needed more lighting on the newly made worktop at the back of my studio :smile:
I have some similarly flexible battery powered led ‘music stand lights’ which I use for extra light on my fair display - but they only have 3 leds, not 15! Still, I might have a go with them in the meantime, they probably won’t be bright enough, but worth a try. The perennial problem with glass is getting enough light on it without getting a reflection of the light source…