My wife’s been collecting Swarovski figurines for about 3 years now, and it was the idea of bringing photos to an upcoming designer signing nearby that got me inspired to break out the gear and shoot some photos of her crystal treasures.
Eventually, I’m hoping to build a small lightbox, probably black or navy blue, to take out individual and related pieces to shoot something more staged and play around with some of the lights bouncing off the crystal at different angles.
But for now, I went ahead and shot them right in our curio cabinet. When I get to do the lightbox project, I’ll probably spring for a macro lens, just to do it properly.
The lighting in our living room isn’t that great as far as shooting crystal figurines goes, and the cabinet lighting is a not so flattering yellow lighting (which is why we hardly turn it on). So, in order to get the best lighting I could without an elaborate setup was to use the natural light from our balcony doors.
We have a south facing balcony, harsh sunlight wasn’t going to be a concern until later in the afternoon. I was planning the shoot in the morning on Sunday, but ended up sleeping in (which I hardly ever do anymore) and these shots were taken at around 1pm. It actually worked out nicely because the skies were overcast enough to give me some soft light to work with, although I did do a little testing with the cabinet lighting and a small flashlight.
HDR to the Rescue
There were some scenes I was shooting that just weren’t working for me as is. So, I shot a few of them as bracketed shots, since I was already using my tripod and remote shutter release anyway. I went with the realistic tone mapping for this one and not any of the surreal settings like you see with other HDR photos. I’m still playing around with PhotoMatix, and I probably could have done a better job had I not been using the trial mode still and went with the Details Enhancer.
Still, I’m fairly happy with the results, and of the 16 original photos in this photoset, 4 of them are HDR. Other than checking the Flickr tags for “hdr”, can you tell the difference as to which ones are single shot exposures and which ones are HDR?
You can see all the photos over at the new Swarovski Collection photoset on my Flickr page, and if you happen to be at the Woodfield Shopping Center for the designer signing event on Saturday, stop by and I’ll show you the prints, too.