Photographing jewelry can be a lot more complicated than most people believe.
Whether it’s necklaces, rings, earrings, watches, or similar, they have smooth and shiny surfaces which can cause some pretty annoying reflections in the photo.
And as they are small in size, it can be quite hard to get them fully in frame, close up, without losing the depth of field and focus.
Not to mention, that it takes some form of skill to pose jewelry just right in order to show off the pieces so that the photos look professional and appealing.
Whether you’re photographing jewelry for fun, to show off your collection, or to start up a jewelry business…you need good photos.
There are many things to consider, such as the backdrop, the lighting, the angle and depth, the way in which you lay the jewelry out…and you have to be able to make it look smooth, clean, and crisp.
The good news is that jewelry shouldn’t move, and it’s pretty easy to work with because it’s an object that won’t complain however many times you change its position.
As long as you know the basic tips and tricks, you should be able to get some decent photos, and then it’s all about figuring out your style and perfecting the craft.
But how exactly do you photograph jewelry? What are these basic tips you need?
Not to worry, we’ll tell you everything you need to know, step by step so that your jewelry photography is as good as it can be!
How To Photograph Jewelry – Step By Step
Without any further ado, here are the steps you need to follow in order to photograph jewelry like a professional, for the best results possible.
Get The Right Equipment
Before you start, you need to get the right equipment. In photography, the equipment plays a huge role.
You can get good pictures with cheap equipment if you have the skills, but having a good camera can really make all the difference when trying to make your photography professional.
You will need a surface area in which to add a background and layout the jewelry, a high-quality camera able to work close range with small objects, a tripod to hold the camera, and the lighting set up of your choosing.
Set Up A Background
When it comes to photographing jewelry, the background is incredibly important.
It needs to be a solid color (ideally), able to contrast with the jewelry so that the pieces being photographed are highly visible, in as much detail and focus as possible.
There are plenty of backdrops available for photography, or you could just lay down a sheet or black piece of paper. Just make sure the background covers the entirety of the back surface, and also the ground surface upon which the jewelry will be positioned.
It is important to have the background both behind and below, as you will take photographs at an angle, to show off the jewelry in 3D.
Set Up The Lighting
The lighting is usually one of the trickiest parts of photographing jewelry.
This is because jewelry tends to have a smooth and shiny surface, capable of reflecting the light as soon as it hits, and this can cause light flares in the end result, as well as cause the camera to be unable to focus on the pieces properly.
In order to avoid these problems, you need to set up the light perfectly.
To begin, you should have a main source of light that is diffused, so that this light is soft and gradient, instead of sharp. This will avoid it from being reflected back by the jewelry pieces. Basically, some ambient light.
Next, you can add another source of light, smaller and sharper, directed at the parts of the jewelry that you want to showcase as sparkling in the photograph.
So this light will be reflected, but at the right angle so that it looks good, and adds to the end result.
Basically, you have to play around with multiple sources of lights, angling them in different ways, and diffusing them where necessary, until you get the perfect stage for your photographed piece.
There are plenty of lighting set-up tools and items to help you with this, from ring lights, to umbrellas, to acrylic sheets, and more. This will often be the most time-consuming part of the process, as it can be very hard to get just right, especially when you’re just starting out.
Set Up Your Camera On A Tripod
As jewelry pieces are very small in size, with a lot of minuscule details to capture, it is incredibly important to get the focus right.
If the camera isn’t properly focused, then the result will be blurry and undetailed, and simply not professional-looking. You’re aiming for that sharp and crisp result, almost a magnified image.
This is why you absolutely 100% need to use a tripod. You could take the photos by holding the camera yourself, but the photos will be shaky and the focus will be all over the place.
Not to mention, with how precise the lighting needs to be in order to avoid bad reflections, any sort of movement will mess the entire setup.
Place the camera on a solid and sturdy tripod, and adjust the angle and height so that the camera is focused on the exact spot where the jewelry is. You can then start adjusting the lighting around this, keeping the camera in a stationary position throughout the entire process.
Positioning The Jewelry
Positioning the jewelry is one of the easier parts of the process, as it is fairly easy to do, and fairly easy to adjust along the way.
You essentially have to lay the jewelry pieces out so that you are showcasing them in the best way possible while keeping in mind where you want the light to hit them.
The best option is to have the jewelry pieces displayed, on a base, so that they aren’t simply on the surface, flat. You want to show the dimension and the depth, as well the details.
It is best to have them at a slight angle so that you can appreciate them in a more three-dimensional way.
Touching Up The Photos And Editing
Once the photos have all been taken, you might think that the job is done, but far from it! As a last step in the photography process, you have the editing.
Although the photographs might look amazing raw, professionals will go through them, one by one, not only making a selection of which ones to keep, but also to touch up where needed.
With the use of editing tools such as Photoshop, you can retouch the lighting, the colors, the focus, and more. You can also clean up any slight mistakes or things you want removed, and you can re-frame the picture to have the jewelry look as best as possible.
In conclusion, in order to photograph jewelry you have to take a lot of different factors into account, and go through the process with a lot of patience and attention to detail.
From the equipment you use, to the setup of the lighting, it is all about displaying and capturing the jewelry pieces as best you can, in order to show off the best details about them, so that they look appealing.