Creating New Jewelry From Old

Ever wonder how a master jeweler takes your old jewelry and creates something completely new out of it?  Recently I had the opportunity to photograph the process from start to finish for Izzy Israeli, the owner of Atlanta Diamond Design.

Izzy explained to me that in the custom jewelry business it’s sometimes advantageous to show the process used to create piece of jewelry. This helps the client understand the process they are entering and that they are paying for the precious metal, stones and the time and expertise of the designer as well.

The first step in the process is to create a CAD drawing of the piece.  Once approved, a wax model is created that is used to create the mold.  These images show that wax model and the total mold of the ring seen through the magic of Photoshop.

Wax Cast 1

Wax Replica

Wax Cast 2

Alternate view

Mold showing wax replica used in making final casting

Mold showing wax replica used in making final casting

Then a rubber compound is poured in around the wax model to create a final mold into which the molten silver is poured to cast the actual ring.  Once the casting was done, the ring is polished and the jewels are set.  Only then could I create the final images of the diamond ring.

Final Ring

Once the CAD design was approved, the process took a bit over 3 weeks from start to finish.  I’ve known Izzy for a few years now and he really does create very fine jewelry designs.  It was a pleasure creating these images for him!

Actor Headshots – Liz Harrison

Now a days in Atlanta, there seems to be a production company on every corner shooting the next release for a famous Hollywood actor or a plethora of Zombie’s skulking around an abandoned warehouse or factory looking for brains.  Unless you’ve been living a really sequestered life, you realize that Atlanta has become Hollywood southeast and a lot of people wanting a shot at getting on camera.  To do this, they’ll need a portfolio that shows their diversity and brings out a bit of personality.

© 2013 di Sogno Photography

Portfolio image.

When Liz contacted me, she was happy to make it past the first round of eliminations in a fashion model reality show shooting here.  Even with the success of landing on that show, she thought her portfolio needed new images so she could get additional work.  On the day of the shoot, she brought a number of different outfits and we worked together on different concepts to capture.

© 2013 di Sogno Photography

Reminiscent of Goldie Hawn…maybe!

Liz is a lot of fun to work with and very adventurous in what she is willing to do for the camera.  Both good things when looking for work in the entertainment industry.  Knowing Liz, I know she’s already used them in her acting endeavors.  If you know a budding actor that wants to get on camera, tell them you know someone who can help them create a portfolio that just might help them get discovered and send them my way.  At least they’ll have some good images to show!

A Little Technical Information

Both of these images were shot on a white seamless background using one strobe with an 8′ Octobox as a light modifier.  The Octobox creates a very large, bright and soft light for the subject.  The light fall off allowed let the background turn a light grey and that created a good separation  from the background.  Although make-up and hair were very well done by Liz herself, my standard post-processing was done to this image.  That includes brightening of her eyes, blending and smoothing of her skin, doing a bit of teeth whitening and removing stray hair.

Bond, James Bond

The James Bond theme, you know, the one played on guitar while you view Bond through a gun barrel as he’s walking across the screen, is all I could think about for the entire time I was onsite to create the images you see below.

Motor Cars of GA – Aston Martin Showroom

I received a referral to call Rob at Dealer Publishing. He needed pictures for an article to show the remodeled Aston Martin showroom (not the cars themselves) at Motor Cars of GA in Sandy Springs. There was a catch, though. Rob had a short publishing deadline that needed to be met.

I accepted the assignment to make contact with Brandon at the dealership and clandestinely capture images of the showroom without disrupting their day-to-day operation or impacting their client’s movements. Then to make my way out, leaving no trace that I was there.

To make these images, I decided on an approach where I didn’t have to bring in a lot of extraneous equipment to get in the way. I set up with a tripod and created multiple exposures of the showroom and then combined them in post processing using a High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique. HDR is a technique that captures a greater range of the lightest and darkest areas of an image than the camera can capture normally. The images were processed using a combination of Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Photomatix Pro. Although this is not a technique I normally teach in my photography class, an advanced amateur can learn the steps necessary to create images similar to these in a private lesson.

Rob was pleased to receive the finished images and was able to meet his deadline with time to spare. And I completed another critical assignment for my client. Who am I? My name’s Bond, James Bond…errrrr, make that Tony Fiorda!


Why take a photography class?

Congratulations, you’ve recently purchased a new Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera.  You look over the manual and realize you may be in over your head but at least it has a program mode for use as a point and shoot camera with which you’re familiar.  After a bit you begin to think that taking a photography class to learn how to use the new DSLR wouldn’t be a bad idea.

There are a number of reasons why someone would take a photography class and creating better pictures is the end result of all of them.  That new camera is just a tool that is used to create pictures but if you don’t know how to use that tool properly, your pictures won’t get better…in fact they may get worse.  So let’s discuss a few reasons to take a photography class.

Downtown Tampa, Fl. from University of Tampa park.

One is learning photography from someone who is in the business.  They can provide valuable feedback on the pictures you make so you can improve.  You can ask them generic or specific questions to aid in your understanding of photography, use of the equipment, and various techniques to capture images.  Essentially gaining knowledge from their experience and expertise.

Another reason to take a photography class is to learn about the tools you use to take pictures.  Why is it called a digital single lens reflex camera?  What kind of lens is used for shooting sports, portraits, landscapes?  What is the shutter, aperture, ISO or white balance and how are they used?  How to compose a shot that has that WOW factor people like to look at.  How do I hold this big camera?  Learning the basic science and techniques of photography can help you to take better pictures.

In a classroom or workshop environment there is the opportunity to learn from other classmates about how they made a particular photo.  If they use a technique that no one else is doing, or may be using one that you are having trouble with, they may be able to help.  Plus most discussions are open and can range far and wide from the material being presented.

Finally to have fun!  When you understand the basic principles of photography and composition and can use them without thinking, then you can expand and start breaking these principles to make new, interesting, and just plain fun images.  And you’ll have a lot more fun with your camera because you’ll be taking better pictures and having many more keepers!

Introduction to DSLR Photography and Creating Better Photos” is a class designed for the new to almost intermediate use who has moved up to a DSLR camera.  At the completion of this class,  you’ll have a good grasp of the basic principles of photography and composition.  You’ll understand more about which lens to use to gain the effect you’re looking for in a picture.  And you’ll have a introductory knowledge of using workflow tools to find and manipulate the pictures you’ve taken.  So check out the class on the DSLR Photography Class page on this website and register soon.

Classes beginning on April 16th

Tony Fiorda of di Sogno photography has begun teaching his first of a series for photographers wanting to improve their skill.  An Introduction to Digital SLR Photography and Creating Better Photos, begins on April 16th. The class will be held on four consecutive Tuesday’s from 7pm to 10pm. Registration begins now and the class is already starting to fill.

Atlanta professional photographer, Tony Fiorda of di Sogno Photography has been working his magic behind the camera for over thirty years. As a hobbyist first, who later turned professional in 2006. As a professional commercial photographer, he has mastered the art of turning ordinary images into works of art. Capturing images of offices, products and even executives are easy, but making them attention grabbing is where the real photography skills come into play. Tony is known for his talent in giving his photos that “WOW” factor. Now he is offering his advice and knowledge to others photographers in the Atlanta area, who want to know how.

Everyone wants to be able to capture those once in a lifetime moments in their lives, either at weddings, on vacations, new babies or just time with family. If those moments captured by your camera are flat, or not near as impressive as actually being there then sign up to learn how to make them better. This class is for anyone who has gotten their first Digital SLR camera and still trying to figure out how to capture the image they see in their mind. Tony will be demonstrating the technical power and flexibility of the DSLR camera. Composition and technique are just as important and will be covered from Tony’s experience.

“Capturing the beauty in everything and even making it better is my passion! I love taking pictures!” says Tony. “Constantly learning how to take better and better photos is what keeps the experience new and exciting every time I get behind the camera.”

Find out how to take photos like a pro. Get the camera out and get ready for an adventure with Tony Fiorda of di Sogno Photography on April 16th.

An HDR Image for the Client

I’m in the middle of a project for Electro-Optic US, a die-cutting manufacturing company based in Alpharetta, GA.  One piece of this project is to create a exterior image of the US headquarters of the company.  Sounds easy right?  Not necessarily so.  Creating an exterior image of a building takes more work than you may think.

The entrance to Electro-Optic US is on the north elevation and because the sun is so far south at this time of year, there would be very dark shadows on that side of the building.  No matter what time of day the shot would be taken, if the sun was above the horizon, the dynamic range of the image (that’s the difference between the brightest part of the image compared to the darkest part of the image) would be too large to correct in post-processing.  And since Markus, the president of Electro-Optic US, wanted the focus to be on the building and not any cars that may be in the parking lot, I created the images below when they were closed and during that 20-30 minutes between dawn and sunrise when daylight first appears early on a Saturday morning.

Creating an Image

I captured the five small images on the right side of the image above just after dawn using five different exposures to capture the brights of the lights, the darks of the shadows and everything in between. You can see them better by clicking on the image to enlarge it in your browser.  I then merged them together in software to create the High Dynamic Range (HDR) image in the lower right of frame.

This created a very workable image but there were things that needed to be fixed before I would call it a finished image, ready for delivery to the client.  For instance the dull sky needed to be replaced and distractions like the signpost removed, the brown grass made to look greener, replacing missing pine straw around the bushes and straightening the crooked window shades all needed to be fixed.  There was even some foliage added to the three bushes at the front so they would look healthier.  That’s an image I’m proud to present to a client.

If you are or if you know a business owner who wants their building to be seen in the best light, even if the images were taken before the sun came up, tell then you know someone who can create that image, point them to this post and introduce us in an email or over coffee.  Thanks for visiting the blog, and remember, I don’t just take pictures, I create images.

More Executive Portraits

Over the past month or so I’ve had the pleasure of creating  executive portraits for friends who have now become my clients.

Debra Scott, a registered representative of Vining Financial Services, Inc., a financial investment firm located in Marietta, GA, needed to update her portrait.  Debra enjoys educating clients about investment planning when she’s not having a good time with her family.  She had been telling me that she was going to come see me and after a few weeks, and she finally did!  We had a fun time creating her portraits.


Another friend, W. Wright Dempsey Jr., is an attorney providing full legal services with emphasis on estate planning and probate, construction, personal injury, commercial, and cultural conservation matters in Dunwoody, GA.  A person with diverse interests, it isn’t everyone who can sport a bow tie and look great doing it!  He even taught me how to tie one,  yes, that is a real bow tie, not a clip-on.

I’ve known both of these folks for a couple of years now and I occasionally have a breakfast with them.  I’m happy that they chose me to update their portraits for both online and collateral usage.  If you happen to need their services or know of someone who does, Google them to find their contact information.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to shoot as  I love to create executive portraits!

Companion Reference for Intro to DSLR Class

Updated version for the companion to the Introduction to DSLR Photography and Taking Better Photos course. Included with enrollment in the class or can be purchased separately by clicking on the red button below.

For more information on photography classes in Roswell, visit our training page.

Intro to DSLR V2.0

By Tony Fiorda

80 pages, published 10/13/2012

A companion book for the Introduction to DSLR Photography and Creating Better Photos class created and taught by di Sogno Photography, designed to be used as reference after taking the course. The first and second sections cover common camera features and functions and the basic technical aspects of photography such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus modes, depth of field, lenses and their effects. The third section…

Interdev Executives

I’m happy to announce another successful shoot of some local executives.  The folks over at Interdev, LLC, a Managed IT and Security company, needed portraits of their management team for their website.  It took some planning to get everyone together but as you can see from the images below, it happened and everyone is pleased with the results.  You can see the images here on their site and I really appreciate that they entrusted me to create their images.

An executive portrait is just one of my services I enjoy creating for my clients.  From products, to specialty images, I enjoy talking to my clients and getting to know them and their business.  That enables me to create the images that let them shine!

Peruvian Sweaters and Caps

During the last week in July, I again found myself  doing product shots for children’s clothing and/or accessories.  The company for which I was shooting this time, Chirimoya, is still in start-up mode, and Charlie, the owner, recognized the need for professional images when he couldn’t create images that matched the quality level the products he wants to sell.

The products, hand made sweaters and caps are imported from small villages in the mountains of Peru.  Hand knitted and embroidered with landscapes of flowers, lambs, and alpacas, ensures that each item is unique and I can tell you the quality of these items is exceptional.  During the shoot, I had to keep an eye on the samples because everyone who saw them tried to take a sample home with them.  Including me, because I have a new cousin being added to the family in a couple of months and one of these would make a great gift!

My other task, besides looking out for the samples, was to create images that could have the backgrounds in different colors sampled from the items themselves and then to have the backgrounds easily changed out if so desired.  I used a technique where I place the item on plexiglass and then lit the background and items separately so there are no shadows on the final image.  This makes it extremely easy to cut the item out of the background and place it on its own Photoshop layer.  The image below is composite of the results I achieved for Charlie and Chirimoya.

So if you know of someone who has children in the 0-4 year old range and you could use a very unique gift for the holidays, check back here every so often.  I’ll post a link to the website when it goes active you can see more and maybe order a few items.

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