Most of us have some sort of camera on our phones now and many take quite high resolution images but it can still be difficult to take sharp, detailed jewellery pictures with just a cameraphone. This is where the Nimbus Cloud Dome cones in – it is a mini studio set up designed specifically for taking jewellery pictures with a phone. We were intrigued when we heard about it, so asked photography tutor Elaine Yeung to take a look.
The Nimbus Cloud Dome Starter Set consists of the photography dome and photography base, which can also be purchased separately. Using the cloud dome, you can get professional looking photos of jewellery without going anywhere near an actual camera or computer.
Like flat pack furniture, the product requires an initial assembly but once put together, it is lightweight, portable and ready for action. The thick translucent plastic material of the dome and base diffuses the light surrounding it giving the object under the dome even lighting and no distracting reflections.
You simply position your camera phone in place at the top of the dome using the elastic cords and put the dome over the jewellery, which is either on the base or any other surface you choose. It is that straightforward. No need to wrestle with the collapsible light tent, get tangled up with the wires for lights or endlessly adjust the tripod. With this setup, the photos can already be online in the same time it takes just to set up all that other equipment.
The base gives an evenly lit background to the photos, though not quite the crisp white the product description suggests but this can be rectified by changing the camera settings or any editing the image after either on or off the phone.
The hole in the base is for an additional light source which, in the spirit of mobile technology, we tested using the light from another phone. The light was concentrated in the centre of the background causing dark surrounding shadows, which may have been the fault of placing the light source too close. This may work if the item being photographed is small and you zoom in to take the photo. Otherwise, a suggestion would be to place the light further away or decrease the intensity of the light.
Because we were backlighting the piece for this try we used the flash on the camera. The resulting image isn’t flattering as the flash from the camera is harsh and direct.
Instead, we tried using a studio light but the thickness of the dome meant the light needed to be close in order to raise the ambient light levels inside although this doesn’t spread entirely across the dome.
Over all we found it was tricky to get the lighting right and would need practice but if you were using the dome in a room with bright ambient lighting you shouldn’t need to use additional lighting and the dome will diffuse the light to reduce shadows.
The Cloud Dome starter kit is a good option for those who want photos fast without the fuss of bulky equipment and camera or the extra step of downloading, processing and uploading photos with a computer but you will be limited in how much you can edit your pictures and how big you might be able to print them at a high resolution.
The Nimbus Cloud Dome Starter Set costs £95.99 (inc VAT) and is available from CooksonGold