Photographing Blue Hues and Other Impossible Tasks….

This looks like something Winnie the Pooh might write, in which case there should be a little song, but I won’t attempt that…! I have such difficulties photographing pale stones; the hardest being pale blues and aquas. Stones which are a intense, bright hue in real life, such as Swiss Blue Topaz and Apatite, turn out pale and washed-out looking. Pale stones such as sky blue topaz and aquamarine are even harder. One of my customers tells me that it is due to to the wave length of the colour blue and it is notoriously hard to shoot in print media. This sort of thing is common, pictured left are Swiss Blue Topaz 4mm cabochons. It isn’t horrible, but Swiss Blue Topaz is a very vibrant stone and this makes it appear soft and pale. In addition, the background is a murky greyish colour and there are bright white reflective patches on the stones. If I twiddle with the levels I can get the background whiter but then the reflective patches get very extremely white and the colours begin to look very unreal. I have recently developed a new technique – can anyone see what I’ve done here? These are Swiss Blue Topaz, 6mm cabochons (right), and Apatite 6mm cabochons (left), and here you can see that the colours have remained deep and intense. I’m much happier with these, as there are none of the white patches and the colour is much more true to life. My only problem is that the image is now quite stylised, and sometimes I suspect almost cartoonish. What do you think? I would love to hear from anyone who has the same problem and who has found a solution. If you share yours, I’ll share mine!

About Julia Aufenast

I am a UK based professional gemstone supplier and GIA graduate gemologist. I specialise in rose cut cabochons as well as standard cabochons, and I have a carefully nurtured reputation for high quality. Currently I carry mainly semi-precious stones and I also have a range of pearls in white and natural colours; strings and half-drilled, round and keshi. This blog is attached to my website - - and is where you'll find information about new arrivals in my shop, discounts and offers, as well as an opportunity to leave comments and feedback.

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