Jewelry on Black Backgrounds is Hit or Miss

Photo settings: f/5, exp 1/10 sec with -1 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length, Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
 
The post,  Lessons Learned From First Photo Session shared my first experiment with my new camera. I thought photographing gold rings on a black background would showcase the items. I have photographed many items with white backgrounds but have noticed that some things look better on black.
 
After photographing a number of different rings, I have to say that using black is really hit or miss if you are an amateur photographer.
 
With this setup, the gold ring does not stand out against the black background. This was a Miss.
 
f/6.3 exp 1/6 sec with -1 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length
Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
 
Perhaps pairing the previous ring with a second ring helped this photograph. This is a Hit.
 
f/6.3 exp 1/8 sec with -1 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length
Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
 
Changing the rings orientation changed a Hit into a Miss.
 
f/6.3 exp 1/4 sec with -0.3 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length
Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
I added a foil-covered board as a reflector to bounce more light to the front of the rings. The previous Miss became a Maybe.
 
f/6.3 exp 1/3 sec with -0.3 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length
Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
This ring, perhaps because it has less gold overall looks nice on the black background. Hit.
 
f/6.3 exp 1/4 sec with -1 bias, ISO 200, 55 mm Focal Length
Partial Metering Mode, White Fluorescent White Balance
One final ring, this photograph of the two high school rings is a definite possibility. Maybe.
 

Are there ways on camera and with the positioning of the lights (or a different lens) that I could make a gold ring on a black background look better? Perhaps I should have used the shiny side of the backdrop and not the felt? These are questions to consider if the dark background is the look I have to achieve. However,  I want what’s best for the piece and not necessarily a certain ‘creative’ look.

Next time, we’ll examine some of these pieces with a white background.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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