Floating Image System

What it is

The Floating Image Lighting System is a small-footprint (8″ x 18″) lighting system designed especially to quickly produce images of jewelry, colored gems and other small objects on a white, shadow-free background, ready for web use, like this: (Click image to enlarge)

IMG_3527a                003468a                      IMG_4005apdt

What’s the point? I’ve seen lots of light boxes out there.

This is much more than a “light box”. This is a complete system, designed by a jeweler and a photographer to meet the needs of those who need web-ready images on a white (or other color) background and don’t have the time or skills needed to strip those images out and get them on a clean background.  This has been one of the biggest obstacles to creating jewelry images in-house of professional quality.  Now YOU can do it! And quickly!

The system includes the enclosure, an assortment of diffusers and reflectors along with very complete instructions  on photographing rings, bracelets, chains, pendants and earrings with any type of post, clip or other back, all on a pure white background in seconds.

Unlike other light “boxes”, domes or tents, the Floating Image Lighting System provides a way to create different qualities of light from direct to indirect,from moderately diffuse to very diffuse.  Different types of surfaces require different lighting conditions, which is why most fixed-light boxes are not useful in lighting certain objects.  Polished surfaces need different lighting than textured surfaces; coins, rings, cameos and pearls all need different lighting that fixed-light boxes can’t provide. This system can do it all for only $269.00.

The Floating Image Lighting System can be used with fluorescent lighting (provided as a $39.00 additional cost option) or with inexpensive small flash units.  We recommend flash units that we use here ourselves for those who do not wish to deal with the  changing light values or electrical cords of fluorescent lighting.  See below. Of course, we give complete instructions and are available by email and phone for any questions.

The system also includes the materials and instructions needed to produce professional quality images of loose colored stones. These images were made using the system:



Fluorescent vs Flash Lighting

We no longer advertise the fluorescent lighting option but we will provide it on request. The fluorescent lighting units we can provide at additional cost ($39) create excellent images. Be aware that all bulbs, including fluorescents, will age and shift color over a few months time and need to be replaced.  You also must wait a few minutes for them to “warm up” when you turn them on.  Also, they have cords, so there is the danger of tripping or yanking the light onto the floor. We have used them for hundreds of images and they do provide a low cost option, but you should be aware of the shortcomings.

We use flash in our daily work here in the studio and at shows where we demonstrate our system. Here are some of the advantages of the flash units we use and recommend:

1.  Small and lightweight, compact and portable

2.  Powerful enough to allow small apertures and great depth of field in our images.  Everything is in focus!

3.  The color is always correct!

4.  Long life.  50,000 flashes is not unusual, so the cost over time is very low.

5.  No cords to trip on.

6.  Power is variable, allowing fine tweaking of exposure without adjusting camera settings.

7.  I can provide you with the proper settings to use on the flash and the camera.  We will be shooting  exactly the same way.  What you get is what I get, so it’s easier for me to guide and help you.

I recommend either  the Yongnuo  YN560 EX II or the Yongnuo YN460-II flash units, and you will need two of them.    They are available from a variety of sources on Amazon.com.The 560 model costs about $74.00 each; the 460 model costs about $55.00 each. Each work very well, the 560 model being more powerful. Simply use Google to find a source on Amazon.

Full directions for their use are included in the instructions for the Floating Image Lighting System provided at time of purchase.