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  • help stop the madness!

    The company I work for is looking for a fast way to shoot images of jewelry between our monthly photo shoots at the studio photographer we use.

    They asked me to investigate this set-up: http://store.tabletopstudio-store.com/jephkit1.html

    I really want to dissuade them from making this mistake. I already do a lot of retouching in post and don't want to even go here.

    What I am asking is what equipment: cameras, lenses, ect. would we need to make this wonderful under $300 table top studio work and what are the associated costs (high end)? Nobody here at our corporate office, including myself, is a photographer so I also have the argument that even if they spent the $ to buy the equipment, they are going to have to hire someone who has some photography experience, as nobody here at corporate, including me, has any.

    We also have this piece of equipment: http://www.ortery.com/
    Management asked me why we are not using it and asked me to research the possibilities so we can have a conversation on why/why not we would be/not be able to utilize this equipment. The have a Sony Sure Shot 7 mega pixel camera to use with this box. I could not find any documentation in our studio so when I looked up the company and equipment tutorial, I started laughing when a picture of a floppy disk (do they still make them?) came up to show how to save images. My creative director, who has been here for 3 1/2 years has never used the box and thinks the last time it was used was 4 years ago. I can see where this is going as they are trying to cut the budget, and if this archaic piece of equipment finds its way into being used.... the next step would be for them to move our product shoots of 200 pieces from our photographer to this box.
    Management's argument is this is the equipment they used prior to hiring a professional photographer (many moons ago) and they sold lots of jewelry using the images...
    Of course this is when they were a much smaller company and didn't have the budget for a pro. I hate to see all of the advancements we have made in the quality of our images go back 10 years.

    Ok I am done rambling. Any information anyone can supply to stop this madness would be appreciated.

    ~Nancy
    Last edited by Nanls; 03-06-2008, 05:58 PM.

  • #2
    Re: help stop the madness!

    Management's argument is this is the equipment they used prior to hiring a professional photographer (many moons ago) and they sold lots of jewelry using the images...
    you could make the argument that in the past they where competing with companies with the same technology.
    so if they want to keep competing with them they'll need to use the latest technology.

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    • #3
      Re: help stop the madness!

      just so you know, i've seen similar kits on ebay for half that price...

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      • #4
        Re: help stop the madness!

        Originally posted by dataflow View Post
        you could make the argument that in the past they where competing with companies with the same technology.
        so if they want to keep competing with them they'll need to use the latest technology.
        That is good point. Thanks!
        ~Nancy

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        • #5
          Re: help stop the madness!

          I have done a fair amount of product photography for small companies and have faced that same mentality. My bottom line was that crappy photographs of your product meant that you thought your product did not deserve anything better. So crappy photos meant crappy product.

          In your case where it appears that they want to do this in house, then you have an employee producing these crappy photographs. That should be good for everyones job security.....

          There is an old saying that when times get tough, you need to increase the advertising budget, not cut it back.

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          • #6
            Re: help stop the madness!

            I have to agree with Mike. Image is everything. A good quality image makes a positive statement about the product and the company.

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            • #7
              Re: help stop the madness!

              I do high-end executive portraits and not products but I often run into people who, although they make tons of money, blanch when they hear my prices. Often times these are lawyers who bill $700 an hour and who say, "Well, Fred down the hall has a digital camera. Maybe we'll just have him do our portraits." To which I reply, "Good idea. And if I get arrested for drunk driving, I'll be my own attorney!"

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              • #8
                Re: help stop the madness!

                Jewelry is particularly hard to light properly! So while the old stuff might get the image, it will not be up to the standards required by an ever increasing competitive environment.

                Just over the State line from me, is Attleboro, MA, which used to be the "home" of the jewelry industry in the US (not any more). I agree with the comments above. Advertising has to be out in front, not lagging back!

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                • #9
                  Re: help stop the madness!

                  Thank you for all your replies. Some really good points.
                  Does anyone know what the cost would be to buy a good enough camera and lens for jewelry that would work with the table-top set up?
                  ~Nancy

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                  • #10
                    Re: help stop the madness!

                    from what i've read, a Canon 5D with an L series lens would be a good starting point...

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                    • #11
                      Re: help stop the madness!

                      First determine what the final use of the photograph is, especially the size (1 x 2 inches or 1 x 2 feet or 10 x 12 feet etc) this will be called X. Then determine what size the objects that you are going to photograph are (1 x 1 inches, 3 x 3 inches etc), this will be called Y.

                      So now you have
                      X times the camera system = Y

                      I can imagine scenarios where one could get from X to Y with a $1500 system and I can also imagine scenarios where you might want to spend $50,000. But no one can accurately answer your question till X and Y are known.

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                      • #12
                        Re: help stop the madness!

                        Originally posted by Nanls View Post
                        Thank you for all your replies. Some really good points.
                        Does anyone know what the cost would be to buy a good enough camera and lens for jewelry that would work with the table-top set up?
                        ~Nancy
                        I shoot jewelry frequently and I use a Canon 5D and Canon 100mm macro
                        most of the time. That would be in the realm of $2600. for both. I believe the 5D is going for about $2000-2100 now.

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                        • #13
                          Re: help stop the madness!

                          Originally posted by Wolfman View Post
                          I shoot jewelry frequently and I use a Canon 5D and Canon 100mm macro
                          most of the time. That would be in the realm of $2600. for both. I believe the 5D is going for about $2000-2100 now.
                          thanks, guys
                          Gee I was hoping it was more, lol.
                          ~Nancy

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                          • #14
                            Re: help stop the madness!

                            I have used the Tabletop Studio for my jewelry photography with a Canon 30D and a Canon 100mm macro lens. I have gotten very good results with the kit. But I also use plexiglass, a large light table for completely shadowless white backgrounds, several strobes (Alien Bees), sweeps, white and gradation papers. The Studio is just another tool to help eliminate ambient light and to enclose a product to get the best shot possible and save time in PS post work.

                            Shooting jewelry is still a challenge no matter what kits or boxes are used and many pros use them and some make their own light tents using diffusion papers and foam core. Just a thought...

                            Steve

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                            • #15
                              Re: help stop the madness!

                              Hi Steve
                              Thanks for the info. Would you mind uploading a few images as shot (before retouching) so I can see if this would work for what we are doing. I could also send you a private email if you would prefer.
                              Thanks
                              ~Nancy

                              Comment

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