Did I mention how much I LOVE creative aperture? I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that the creative aperture kit contributed to 80% of why I purchased the lensbaby Composer. I made it a point to use it in every wedding I shot. The HEART and STAR plates and I had some great fun together. One day while I was taking catalog shots for a jewelry job, I decided to take a risk and see what would happen if I used the lensbaby to get some editorial images.
However, I was thinking about the custom aperture DIY method I had seen over at Kevin and Amanda and Phamster; I wondered if I could just try to make something like that work on my prime lenses. Don’t get me wrong, I love my lensbaby; but a girl can only manual focus so much before she misses out important moments during a wedding job. I decided to test out the DIY plate.
I had purchased some mini craft punch from Superstore, originally for the lensbaby creative aperture kit. I chose the maple leaf for this tutorial.
I basically just used a pencil to trace around my 58mm UV filter on a piece of black poster paper, then cut along the line. Â Next, I folded part of the paper so it will fit into the punch. After that, I simply trimmed the paper a bit so it will fit under the UV filter lens. The reason why I didn’t make a custom box for my custom aperture is because of I figured the LONG lens hood (from Sigma) should be enough to block out any glare. I would recommend that you follow Kevin and Amanda and Phamster instructions as it would yield much better results.
You will have to fiddle with the F-stop in order to get the correct custom bokeh effect, but I was shooting around F4 to F5 on my sigma.
I used light painting to photograph showcase Jewelry because it is the easiest way to light the jewelry and the different direct mean that you can bring out all the crystalline. This is how I set up the above photographs:
To paint with light, you will need to set your camera on a tripod. Your D-SLR will need to be able to set to BULB and you will need a cable release. (If you don’t have a cable release, the Canon one will set you back $100), you can try to set it at 30 seconds, and do a couple of different takes and combine the result in PS using layer mask. It will involve a lot of work, and trust me, you will eventually get a cable release because it will drive you nuts!).
There is no definite lighting styles or correct methods for light painting, all you have to do is just experiment and be creative. I love using this style because it has no limitations, you can use anything that has a light source to paint. I used flash light, pen light, the optical on my mouse, a match and sparkler for light painting. You will have to do a couple try to work out the correct exposure. I usually set mine to ISO 100 to 200 and at a higher apertures so I can get a longer time to paint everything evenly. In the above case, I open my aperture at F4 since it is the size of my custom maple leaves, but since I work in a pitch dark room, I had plenty of time.
The following were photographed using a single pen light, shine on different angle of the jewel to get the different color tone draw out. The pearl necklaces at the very end had a Flash fill (fire your flash 1/2 to 1 stops down) simply because I feel the pearl would showcase better in a white background.