Saturday, 12 March 2011

Look out for .... Jade Ferreira Jewellery

A quick turnround on these images as they're for a client!  Jade Ferreira is a young, up and coming craftsman (or should that be craftswoman?!) who hand makes unique and unusual pieces of jewellery.  She needed some unusual and dramatic pictures of her work for a portfolio and to send to a top jeweller in London - so she turned to me ...

OK - let's not get too carried away.  She didn't see my work and go 'WOW - Andy, you're the man' although you could understand if she did (!).  No, we've known Jade's family for many years and have seen her and her sister grow up - indeed it was doing craft work including making small pieces of jewellery with my wife that inspired Jade to study jewellery making.

Now, I've done some photos of jewellery before - as I said my wife makes and sells small pieces - but nothing quite as shiny and reflective as the pieces Jade produced.  Thinking cap on!

I 'built' a studio in my conservatory setting up black backgrounds to manage reflections, but still able to shoot with natural light to give an alternative to using flash.  I set up my studio flash using three strobes, two fitted with softboxes, one with a snoot.  Turns out Jade's Mother works in the plastics industry so she was able to acquire a sheet of black acrylic - made for a fantastic reflective surface.

Jade wanted some unusual images to match the nature of her pieces, so we'd developed quite a long shoot list with at least five options for each of the three pieces we were shooting - turned out to be a full days work (am I slow or does it just take that long?).

First up was the ring, made to look like a diamond cut and polished to a high shine.  To add a bit of drama and contrast we set it in a large rose flower ball, and also it in a cocktail glass full of large (plastic!) diamonds finished with a pearl cherry!

Other variations included shooting on the black acrylic to take advantage of the reflectivity.  Positioning the lights to manage the reflections took a while - to help I tethered my camera to a laptop using the Lightroom Auto Import feature (I run V2 on my Mac Book so couldn't use the tethered shooting feature on Version 3 - must get that installed on the Mac Book soon!) to be able to have a good look at each picture and move things around just a bit (camera was on a tripod of course!)

The second item was a neck piece which we decided to show both in context being worn by a model (in this case Jade's sister Danielle) and also in abstract with close up macro views of the individual elements - some of these were shot with ambient light to get a more even tone and avoid highlights.

Finally, and most unusually, there was a letter opener which looks like, well, anything but a letter opener!  Hand forged out of a solid bar (which, if you realise Jade is a dot of a girl so to wield a hammer to this extent is a truly impressive undertaking) it looks more like it should be a weapon!  It was a sod to light as well, with all the twists and facets of the 'flowers'.

Overall the photos were not a bad effort if I say so myself - which I just did - but Jade was absolutely delighted with them which is the important thing.

So keep an eye out for Jade Ferreira - if you like her work and want to talk to her about a doing something for you or someone you know email her at jade.ferreira{at}