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Frustratingly Beautiful

I’ve been try to take pictures of some rocks/minerals to ask for some help identifying them, but every time the picture just doesn’t turn out right. I’ve tried different settings, but the colors are always so off and bland. I’ve tried taking pictures with artificial light, sunlight, and flash and nothing seems to make my phone camera do these amazingly colored pieces of earth justice. I can take amazing pictures of sunsets and flowers, animals etc. So what am I doing wrong? It makes identifying anything (accurately) without it being in your hand almost impossible. I’ve photoshopped to try to match the actual colors but it’s still not right. I can’t always take my Canon everywhere so when I snap a shot on my phone, and it turns out nothing like what made me snap the picture in the first place, it’s very disheartening. Anybody have a suggestion to help with rockhounding photos? Would be greatly helpful and appreciated.

Sorry, I don’t know how to improve mobile phone photography other than to use a phone with a great lens (leica, zeis)… very few phone with them…

You can also just carry a sony RX100 is a specularly good camera that fits in your pocket. I think Fuji also makes a truly excellent camera that takes great photos. Unfortunately its not a cheap camera. That was my walk around camera. (I’m a photographer).

I wish I could post pictures of these cause the color combination on some are just stunning…I’m a photographer hobbyist…I do scenery/landscape, macro and nature/wildlife…love storms and got some pretty good lighting and sunsets with this phone…my uvc photos on my stones is awesome, just can’t figure out the trick for everyday lol thanks for the advice and info danibau1974…
Ps would live to see some of your work

Here is some of my work

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The struggle is real!! I to have tried about everything I can think of to get photos that actually show my gemstones true beauty…epic fail! I agree, it’s very disheartening. I recently got a lovely Contra-Luz opal that I really wanted to be able to get pictures of to show off. I spent days and never came close. All I have is my phone camera…so all suggestions are welcome.


Lighting is very important, so you may want to invest in some lighting. LED lights are now vey inexpensive.

I honestly would recommend buying a used mirrorless camera and a good macro lens. The macro lens is the most important part of the camera. Lighting is the second most important. I understand that the cameras and lenses are expensive, but if you want great shots of your gemstones and minerals, you will have to invest in a decent camera and lens.

The best budget macro lens is made by seven artisans. Its a 50mm F1.8 manual focus lens. Add it to a mirrorless camera and you should get excellent results.

I currently am using. my very very old Sony A6000 with the seven artisans lens and I get excellent results with LED lighting. Since it is a manual lens you will need a tripod and cable release shutter for the camera.

Here’s an example of a picture I took of one of the rings we make using a Sony A6000, tripod, shutter cable release and the seven artisans 50mm f1.8 lens.

I hope this helps.

Aloha everyone. I too understand the agonies of phone cameras. I recently discovered the reason behind my blurry phone camera shots was a crack across the lens. My camera also only has a 5mp camera, which is nothing. I just got a motorola phone which has a 13mp camera. My first phone was a motorola with 8mp, and that made epic photos, plus it could zoom in forever. They have on the market(Amazon, particularly) products that one can attach to their phone, lenses that can telescope, make wide angle shots, etc. Gonna buy one soon. Alot of them are made in Asia, so perhaps you can find a setup locally so as not to pay awful customs fees.I did buy a small microscope that you attach to your phone’s camera that can take upwards of 60x shots. And they also have cool digital microscopes that work with an app on your phone that go up to 1500x magnification. I recently got one for a good price, and I will let you know how that works out. There is some amazing technology out there, but high megapixel cameras on phones is the best place to start, I think. Everyone be safe.

Try in a car. It filters the light and use a light gray to tan background color (even a t shirt would work) not high contrast. I use a small gray upholstery fabric sample for photos.


Try buying an inexpensive led light that is color balanced for daylight. They are inexpensive and now come as ring lights that you can mount your phone in the center. This helps get rid of shadows as well as giving you a nice daylight equivalent light.

I used just about one of the cheapest mobile phones in the world,. Xiaomi note 10… I don’t think you can even get it in the USA. It costs about 200 USD but I put it in the center of the cheap 20 USD ring light and I get this when I take a photo of a gem

That is a rutilated quartz cabochon that is truly spectacularly beautiful in my opinion.

The following is a nice spinel with the same lighting setup and cheap phone.

Hope that helps.

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Isn’t tourmaline black?

Yes, and the needles in the quartz are black. What the red stone is i cannot tell. Rutile is golden yellow.

Sorry but there’s no black needles and not sure what red stone you’re talking about…

Oh his photos lol I think he knows what they are since he took the pictures I thought we were talking about my pic

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There are apps you can download to your phone that will expand your photography capabilities. I can’t recommend one specific app, but if you go to the app store, I’m sure you’ll find a number of them that would work for you.