Photographing Diamonds how to


Photographing Diamonds

I’ve shot a lot of products over the years but when it comes back to photographing jewelry, HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH DIAMONDS is always a tough one. Especially when there are 250 diamonds on one piece! Diamonds are NOT all the same color— meaning if you’re shooting a piece with 30 diamonds you’re going to see a difference in color. The more you blow it up the more you’ll see a color difference.

What are the variables? Well, I’m NOT a gemologist, but I would assume the cut and the natural color of the stone along with how it’s placed in the setting will make a difference. And I’m not even referring to “colored stones” or the color-treated diamonds. There you have to deal with all sorts of issues deep blues, light blues, reflections, etc.

The Light Setup I use

I’ve tried all types of light setups from LED’s to Florescent, tungsten, and strobes, I don’t lean to any one of them in particular. I suppose if I were looking for a warmer temperature maybe for gold or colored yellow diamonds I might shoot with Tungsten lamps, as that color temperature runs around 3000 — 3380 Kelvin.

Fluorescent Lights run anywhere from 3200 to 7000 but I shoot with 5000 Kelvin lamps in general. So it’s a little cooler. What I find more of an issue is keeping the glare off the diamonds, and trying to get a somewhat consistent color out of the piece. I find if you shoot straight into the piece you won’t get the surface glare that comes from shooting on a cross angle.  A light diffuser is a must, however. I use the photo booth picture.

Light meters, gray cards, and custom white balance are all good things to have to lessen the variables. As you will have enough to deal with.

Diamond Facts

  • The Diamond is the hardest natural substance found on Earth
  • Diamonds are made of just one element – Carbon
  • Most diamonds were formed 1 to 3 billion years ago
  • If you picked up a diamond in the rough it would look just like a pebble
  • The largest diamond ever found was 3,106 carats
  • Diamonds come in a spectrum of colors, blue and pink are among the rarest
  • Diamonds sales have grown three-fold in the past 25 years
  • Arkansas is the world’s only diamond mine open to the public and is a dig-for-fee operation for tourists and rock enthusiasts. One out of 100 visitors finds a diamond.

Colored Diamonds

Out of 10,000 carats of diamonds mined, only 1 carat will be a fancy color. Out of Australia’s mine 30 million carats a year, less than 1/10th of 1% are pink diamonds

Color-treated Diamonds

Color-treated diamonds are regular natural diamonds that were color enhanced. The main methodology is called High-Pressure High Temperature or HPHT

Let me know if you have questions.

Lester Palifka talks about his ties to the Charles Morgan

Once on board the Morgan it’s hard for one not to notice the rigging, cords and cords of rope, nearly endless, and neat. The colors, texture and arrangement were amazing, I knew this was a highly managed system. But I left not learning the back story, until a couple of weeks later when I received a comment on this blog post from a very learned and passionate gentleman.

Charles W. Morgan interview with Lester Lester Palifka found my blog site while searching the internet for photographs of the Morgan. In the comments he asked if he could have some of these photographs for his collection. He told me he had amassed some 9000 photos over his lifetime, and explained that he was on-board the Morgan and piloted her while on her 38th Voyage.

Continue Reading

Southport Maine, Loafing Rocks, Booth Harbor

A Place called Loafing Rocks

I’ve never been to Southport before, it’s an island town in Lincoln County Maine. The 2010 census pegged the population to about 606 full time residents. Seems like a low number, even in late September there was a good amount of people buzzing around the small center village of Southport.

When I put a camera into my hands everything slows down, I’m not there just to snap a picture and run, or show it to someone… I become part of the environment. It’s a time of mixing colors, seeing the light and blending in, so much beauty can be seen when your silent.

Jane and I are on the board of our local City Art Museum, she along with her husband Bob own the Cottage in Southport, which they call “loafing rocks”. This is where I stayed recently for a weekend. The coastline offers some of the finest pine and stone ledge landscapes I’ve ever seen, mixed with some wild flowers and blue ocean the colors are magnificent. Truly a magical place and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to stay there.

Continue Reading

Bike on the wall Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard Photo Adventure

Martha’s Vineyard is a grand destination for the photo bug, I can attest to that. I’m lucky to be only just across the bay from this beautiful Island. I’d recommend if your heading down to the area either take the Island Queen from Falmouth or even the high speed, Sea Streak out of New Bedford, the high speed will cost you, over the Island Queen if New Bedford is closer for you then it might make sense.

If your not staying overnight and you plan to shoot during the day don’t forget to bring a polarizer filter as this will be needed not only for the mid day sun, but to bring out the rich blues of the sky and the ocean. There is so much to see and photograph.

So start packing for you Martha’s Vineyard Photo adventure!



Westport Mass

Town of Westport MA.


Westport Point, located at the southern most tip of Main Road where it meets the river and Westport Harbor. The harbor is also referred to as Acoaxet which means “black swan”.

According to Westport Historical Society the Point area was settled and developed into farms in the early 1700’s. Family names like Gifford and Macomber were some of the first to settle there. 

Main road came about once the Harbor Area was built, it most probably was a Native American trail prior to the road. Wharves, maritime activities and the ferry built in 1712 operated through to the 18th century.

During the Revolution, small private boats used the Harbor as their base of operations.This protection was due in part by the complicated network of channels and dunes which kept the British from landing troops in the area.

Today this picture-rest harbor is bustling with sail and powerboats along with a few commercial fisherman. The area is a popular spot for summer rentals.



Black Bass Dartmouth Ma, Mark Medeiros

Black Bass Dartmouth Mass

I like food photography assignments… although at times they can be nerve racking. Black Bass Dartmouth Mass was different, for the most part It all depends on the Chef and the staff as to how well organized they are. The trick is to shoot the food while its hot- to me it seems to bring out the color and of course the steam radiating from the food helps. You don’t always see it in the shot but overall I like to shoot right out of the kitchen.

I shoot food with all kinds of lighting systems, I have a portable Hensel lighting kit/strobes that are high output. And I also have a large kit by Arri, hot lights, and various florescent kits. If I’m shooting near windows I prefer to shoot with 5000K florescent lights. If I’m shooting inside of an elegant restaurant with candle light then I’m inclined to use 300 watt Arri tungsten at about 3K kelvin.

In all cases I use a tripod and camera remote with my Nikon D3’s. And while I do use toothpicks, hand-towels microwaved wet for steam ( at times ) I don’t get into the motor oil, glue, shoe polish and all that stuff. I try to keep things as natural as possible.

I photographed this session at the Black Bass Restaurant in Padanaram Village in South Dartmouth, MA. The staff was great- and so was the food, or so I hear. Actually it looked so good I went back on the weekend!


Goat Cottage Mark Medeiros photography

Goat Cottage Farm

This was fun… shooting food at Goat Cottage Farm, out in Westport MA. First was the ride, I drove a 1/2 mile down a dirt road to a remolded farm house. What a fabulous setting and the views of open fields must be stunning in the spring an summer.

Their bakery specializes in gluten-free classic sweets and savories using alternative grains. The bakery is located in Westport’s historical farms – uses only certified gluten-free ingredients as well as their own farm fresh eggs. If your looking for the best gluten free baked goods you have to check these guys out. Goat Cottage Farm email them at: [email protected] or call: 508-636-2916