Have you ever looked at a jewelry photoshoot in a magazine or on the Internet and wondered how it’s so stunningly captured? Or tried jewelry photography yourself and found it difficult to capture the bling in its truest form? Take a look at our guide to jewelry photography to master the craft!
Anyone who’s ever tried to photograph jewelry will know how difficult it can be. If you’ve tried your hands at jewelry photography, you’ve definitely known the struggle. The gems don’t shine as they should in the photo, there’s too much reflective disturbance. When it comes to capturing jewelry pieces in your lens, it’s important to understand and master some elements like sharpness, focus and exposure. Everything else flows smoothly once some basic understanding is achieved of how these technicalities make your image pop.
Once you’ve had some basic practice with using the manual mode on your camera, you can start taking some stunning photos of jewelry pieces with our tips below! Not only will these tips show you how to photograph jewelry, but will also help you understand how to capture them better.
While this may sound like stating the obvious, cleaning your jewelry is a step that is usually the most forgotten. Our eyes may register the jewelry piece to be pristine, but cameras capture much greater detail than our eyes, which means all the dust is easily detectable when the high-detailed picture is blown up on a screen.
If your items don’t require any serious cleaning, you can simply remove dust and add shine to your jewelry by wiping it with a soft, microfiber cloth or with a damp cotton before the shoot.
Here’s a tip: Keep a few cotton gloves handy, to prevent smudges while handling the jewelry.
This is possibly the most important equipment you’ll need to shoot jewelry. A macro lens that’s compatible with your DSLR immediately increases the sophistication of your photography and makes your photos simply stunning.
A macro lens doesn’t come cheap, but they are a good investment if you’re planning on getting serious with your jewelry photography. When looking to purchase one, make sure it has these two important features: a) a shorter focal length, as this will allow you to work much closer to the item and capture very intricate details of the jewelry; b) a longer focal length so you can conveniently switch to working from a comfortable distance.
The best way to truly showcase your piece of jewelry is to photograph it on its own. This is especially true for pieces that are vibrantly colored, uniquely designed and sparkle like a star. So instead of dropping a distracting background or other jewelry in the frame, simply photograph your jewelry with a minimalist setup and you can expect some fabulous results.
For a minimalist setup, simply prop up your jewelry on top of a wooden table, a plain matte background or a reflective surface. You can even zoom in to capture the fine details of the piece and exclude the rest of the objects in the frame. A simple blur-out effect on your background can really make your photos stand out. Just let simplicity take over.
In order to ensure that your pictures come out razor-sharp, it’s important to keep your camera on a tripod to stabilize your shots. Not only will this eliminate any pesky camera shakes, but it keeps your products in the exact frame you want it to be. This allows you to freely adjust the environment like your lighting, props etc.
When you manually focus on certain points of a jewelry, you are essentially driving the attention of the viewer to those key points. Thus, when focusing on a segment of the jewelry piece, make sure to do it with a meaningful purpose.
When photographing a piece, the goal usually is to capture and highlight the star of the piece such as the center diamond or the intricate design pattern. But before you decide to end the shoot, make sure to get some winning photos as well that have the entire jewelry piece in focus. There are times when your publishing options are limited, which leaves you with less space in a catalog or Instagram post to show off your photography. For such times, it’s your winning photos that will truly display the details and intricacies of your jewelry as a whole.
Before you take your first snap, make sure that you’ve adjusted your white balance appropriately to the kind of jewelry you’re photographing. You don’t want your silver jewelry to look like gold in your final pictures, do you?
You can prevent this by manually adjusting the camera’s in-built white balance meter until your jewelry photos are more in-tuned with how they look in real life. If you’re unable to fix your white balance in real time, take your pictures in RAW so that you can adjust the white balance on a post-processing software without sacrificing the quality of your images.
Anyone who has handled gemstones and metals knows very well just how reflective they can be. As a jeweler, it’s exciting to see yourself in the reflection of a diamond or a fancy gemstone, but as a jewelry photographer, this can be a nightmare.
Eliminating reflections is a highly experimental process. There’s a lot of trial-and-error that needs to be done with your set-up. A neat trick you can try is placing a white paper around, and at the top and bottom of your camera lens so that the reflections are blocked and more light bounces off from the paper to your subject.
When it comes to jewelry photography, the best approach to follow is to keep things simple. Your jewelry already speaks volumes, so make sure your lighting, setup, colors etc. are complementary to your jewelry and help it stand out. Now that you’ve picked up some helpful tricks, go out there and start shooting!