Jewelry photography is important and sometime the key to the best presentation for jewelers. Jewelry has many factors that make it tricky to photograph; variables like small size, reflective metals, the brilliance of crystals, diamonds or precious metals will create to the obstacles you will experience.
Whether you are selling online, creating post cards, or making a catalog, jewelry photography requires quality images and presenting them well will get you better results. The quality of your images should portray the image that your customer sees in their mind.
Advertising looks better with good photography and online sellers with high quality images will sell more jewelry by showing a better look and feel to consumers. Creating good jewelry photography will make selling easier. Jewelry photography does not have to be expensive or complicated but you might have to take some time to get the best results.
Most digital camera sold these days will be good enough to create online images. Modern digital cameras offer many options and when choosing a camera, one with manual setting will help with many of the jewelry photography problems we address here. Macro lenses or a macro feature creates the best image for close up pictures. However, true Macro lenses are expensive and unless you are very serious amateur, semi-professional or professional; chances are, you won’t get one. Options such as F-Stop and Exposure settings will be a benefit as you can solve the problems of too much or too little lighting. Many cameras have a “bracketing” sequence where the camera takes 3 images at different exposures with one press of the button. You can set the bracketing feature to shoot + and – the number of stops you wish these to be shot with. This option gives you the chance to view 3 variations of exposure in order to find the right amount of exposure needed to make your picture perfect.
Take some time to learn and spend some money getting the right tools and equipment like a light box or light tent, exposure board, and tripod. (B&H Photo has all of these, link at my home page). With some time and practice, you can learn how to take professional shots with true color gemstones, diamonds, gold, and silver. The time and money spent will save you in the end from expensive photography fees you would end up spending, and it allows you to have control over exactly how you want your products to be represented.
Many jewelry designs will look good when taken from more than one angle to show detail. To hold the jewelry in place while photographing, use a small amount of bee wax placed behind the jewelry. The wax can be wiped off easily with a cloth after the shot but be sure not to get the wax on the gemstones, diamonds or under settings.
Having a tripod will help insure a stable and clear image. Without a tripod or stable camera mount, the image has a much greater chance of being blurred by movement by the shooter. Tripods come in many types and sizes that should fit any universal camera mount. You will also get more stable images using your cameras self timer. The self timer is designed to leave several seconds to lapse before it takes the picture allowing you to move away and keep the camera and tripod as still as possible. You can also use a cable to shoot on “bulb”settings if you have a camera that will allow you to do this. This keeps you from touching the camera and eliminates chances of moving the camera. Even the slightest motion or movement can blur an image.
The difficulty with lighting is that gold, silver and other high polish metals have such high reflection – they can reflect over 90% of light creating glare and without proper lighting the jewelry will not photograph well.
More light is not necessarily better in many cases. The option of using a flash will create more reflections and glare so that parts of the jewelry are dark and others too light. A DIFFUSED LIGHT is desired for this. A way to achieve this is by using a light box or light tent to diffuse the light and balance the darker areas within the design. One thing you should consider is that using only diffused light will not make diamonds and other gems sparkle in the light. You should consider a direct light source that gives you flexibility to move and angle the light for the best fire in diamonds.
Advanced photographers will use manual settings for quality images and most of the pieces are very small and you would want every part of the design to be sharp in focus even at a very close range. You should pay close attention to the depth of field since it is important to bring the entire design into focus at a close range. The setting on the camera to get a good depth of filed requires a high (or smaller) F-Stop setting (F11 or F12) to bring both the close part of the jewelry and the far part into focus.
After taking your shots with your digital camera, you will want to modify the image with photo software to make it look its best. Outline, re-touching, color correction, and shadows will make adjustments necessary for the professional look you desire. You will also need to decide the quality and size that you will save the file at. For images used on the internet 72dpi is usually good, but for print or catalogs 300dpi is a common setting. The format that the file will eventually be published in are uncompressed TIF or for catalogs or print and JPEG or GIF for websites.
Knowing the obstacles and solutions to good jewelry photography can help your designs look better and ultimately sell better givingyou a great advantage once the shortamount of time is taken to learn the skill of jewelry photography