let’s make something together

We endeavour to answer all enquiries within 24 hours on business days.

Find us

Columbia, MO
Can work remote

Email us



Photography for your Rock


Rock collections are popular with travelers, both for academic reasons and for fun. A friend of mine recently showed me her collection. She had some amazing specimens, with delicate detail and cold beauty. When seen through a macro lens, it was like viewing an alien world. We spent all afternoon taking pictures.

A lot of other people have similar collections they’d like to share, but may not know how. Here are a some tips for taking better rock shots.
rock on cloth

Bonus: the same tips work with most jewelry.

Prep Work

  • Clean your rock as much as you can. A dusty rock dilutes the strange nature of the rock, making it look more everyday.
  • Find a nice flat surface.
  • Find a black cloth (as shown). Make sure it isn’t too reflective, textured or faded. It needs to be big enough to hide the background. In some cases a scarf, thin towel, or fleece will work.
  • You don’t need a tripod, unless you’ll be focus stacking later. You may also be able to use a table, or book, for stabilization.
  • Get your rock slightly wet immediately before you take the picture with a damp cloth. Nothing brings out the color and beauty of a rock like water. Problem areas may also vanish when wet.


  • Try to find a place with good natural light instead of using the flash. Rocks are natural objects, so photographing them in natural light makes sense.
  • Make sure you have a small fill light. The hard lines of a rock can cast harsh shadows, blocking details in your image. It doesn’t have to be a pro-level light kit. Light from a white iPad/phone screen may be enough. You’re taking pictures of small things, so a small light usually works well. Put the fill light on the dark side of your moon rock (see what I did there). For most of these shots I had someone holding an ipad with a blank white screen (app) nearby and that worked pretty well.



  • Take lots of pictures from lots of angles, keeping the black cloth in the background at all times.
  • Move the rock. Rotate it. Flip it. Sounds silly, but once it is on the cloth people forget you can do that.
  • Take pictures of the uninteresting bits. Sometimes you can’t see an amazing artifact in the rock until you see the image later on your computer screen.
  • If you are using a point and shoot camera, set the camera to “flower” mode, close-up mode, macro mode, or at least portrait mode.
  • If you are using a DSLR, I recommend a fixed/prime lens. I used a macro lens for most of these image, which allowed me to get slightly closer.
  • Find out what the least distance possible between your lens and the object while keeping the object in focus. Shoot there.
  • It is ok to have only part of the rock in focus. Just make sure it is an interesting part.