The income of jewelry online sellers directly depends on "beautiful pictures". But how to photograph jewelry that shines and receive eye-catching necklaces, rings and earrings? You have many challenges: different shapes of jewelry, lightning, perfect angles, background, etc. I’ve made a list of most important things to consider while taking photos of jewelry.
5 Reasons to Take Jewerly Photography on White Background:
High quality jewelry photos photographed on a white or a neutral infinity curve is the most popular way of shooting jewelry. Even in 2014, giant eCommerce company, Amazon, deemed it essential to register a patent for this basic photography procedure with the US Patent Office – about how to photograph jewelry on white background and other products too. US Patent №8676045, simply stated as Studio Arrangement, defines a technique that is the commercial photography industry standard for showcasing products on retail websites.
For necklace photos on the white background, you can also use the jewelry photography supplies, such as busts, pendant stands, and bowls. You can find them in any craft stores that will give the jewelry a pleasant and realistic shape.
To emphasize the elegance of the product I recommend using black mannequins. However, do not forget that the background must be white. Therefore, if you have a dark mannequin, cover it with a white cloth and shoot. You can remove the background after.
The goal for jewelry photography is to create a soft light with not many shadows. Working on a black background makes this task easier.
Do experiment with backgrounds. Use pastel color palette to add personality and depth to the jewelry range.
To make amazing product photos, the backgrounds can be with different background styles, using textures and objects to tell the story.
Jewelry is designed to be worn — on the human body or the cloth. Photo of jewelry should show how it looks in real life, and not just on the display. It is not necessary to photograph a portrait, sometimes a hand or neck will be enough. The jewelry photography with model and clothes should not distract the customer from the product. Choose one-color clothes and do not use a strong make-up.
Here you should follow many jewellery photography ideas about backgrounds, lightning, camera settings. Be creative, play with different background colors, textures and designs that complement your jewelry. Also, as a background, you can use a colored cardboard, patterned or textured papers. Among other variants you can choose wooden boards or marble floors.
Don’t be afraid to use unusual jewelry photography props. For example, a decoration, made of wood or stone, will look better on a multicolored background, or lying on an interesting surface like a piece of granite or a tree.
How to photograph earrings or wedding rings? To create a more romantic atmosphere of photography of wedding rings, use some wedding stuff. The ring lying on a petal of rose or on a table surrounded by wedding ornaments and postcards.
How to Photograph Wedding Rings:
Use black reflective surfaces, especially for men's jewelry (rings or hand watches), such surfaces create a special mood for photography, but require more complex jewelry photography lighting.
If you are a seller who wants to show customers that your pieces are made by hand and sell them fast, you should consider these creative tips about photographing jewelry for ETSY.
Tip 1. Use a single-colored gloss or matte ceramic tiles.
Tip 2. Try shooting 360
Tip 3. Use creative shadows on the background.
Tip 4. Make jewelry + food compositions. It is highly recommended for Instagram jewelry shops.
Tip 5. Use one-colored cloth, silk is the best choice.
Tip 6. Add drops of water on the background. I recommend doing it in Photoshop.
Tip 7. Put your jewelry into granular material, like sand.
Tip 8. Put some pieces of jewelry in one photograph.
Tip 9. Use Blu-Tack, glue dots and double-sided tape to stand the rings up horizontally and get a perfect angle.
Tip 10. Use fishing string or thread for things like dangling earrings.
In order to get a good photo of jewelry, you need a careful preparation and competent lighting, since jewelry, with its small size, strongly reflects the light. Here is the best professional jewelry photography equipment kit you need for outstanding pictures: DSLR, a macro lens or a set of extension tubes (to take a macro photo), a tripod, a timer or remote control, apply natural light without a flash, and a light tent that averts dazzle on your jewelry.
Jewelry photography requires getting close to a piece of jewelry, that’s why you need high resolution camera body - a DSLR, because of having the option of changing lenses. Any best camera for jewelry photography has two important functions — macro mode and white balance control.
Macro mode is a mode with a close focus, which allows you to set the desirable distance to the item for a clear photo. Without it is almost unreal to make a clear image of tiny and detailed objects, such as jewelry. To find out about presence the macro mode in your camera, detect the flower icon among the menu buttons.
White balance is a camera function that adjusts the hue of color that is attendant while shooting jewelry. In some digital cameras it is programmed for specific types of jewelry photography lighting, for instance, sunlight or fluorescent light. In other cameras, you set the desired white balance by yourself.
You do not need an expensive camera for shooting jewelry because they have a lot of unnecessary settings. I recommend you to select a camera with an APS-C matrix, since a full frame lens allows you to zoom objects more than the APS-C matrix can do.
It is a perfect 24mp camera with a touch screen that supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the connection of which is very useful in shooting jewelry photography for securing and controlling the camera via the console / phone / laptop. This camera body will help you easily understand how to photograph earrings and other jewelry, because it is very user-friendly for beginners.
First Look: Canon EOS 77D
Nikon D3400 or previous versions D3200, D3300. It is also a 24mp camera and has all the functionality you need for jewelry shooting.
Nikon D3400 Hands-on First Impression:
It's a more expensive super zoom camera with good f/2.8, especially a Leica-branded 24x zoom lens that maintains that constant max aperture throughout its range.
ISO determines the sensitiveness of your camera sensor to light. High ISO settings can create grainy or noise in photos. Since you are shooting in a controlled environment, you can regulate the light, that allows to use a lower ISO. “ISO 100” takes exactly a second, and “ISO 3200” — 1/32 second. Use minimum ISO for maximum noise reduction. Begin with minimum ISO values and gradually grow it, as your jewelry photography camera settings are optimal.
Aperture checks the amount of light that comes through the lens to the camera and set the depth of field in the photo. Depth of field is a part of your photo in a focus, affecting the aesthetics of your final result. A smaller number of F-stops means more light and a faster shutter speed. If you try to understand how to photograph jewelry at home and don’t have enough light sources, these camera settings will help you to make the photo deeper.
Macro Photography Tips:
Setting shutter speed determines the speed of light exposure to your camera's sensor. The faster the shutter speed is, the better the focus of the object is. While photographing jewelry, we do not need to worry about blur or camera shake, since the camera is always on a tripod and shoots the motionless object. If you need to adjust the amount of light, decrease the shutter speed for more light, or increase the speed for a smaller amount, change the shutter speed by 1/4 second to increase the brightness or accelerate to 1/9 second to make the photo darker.
The aperture should be changed only if the image is not clear. Changing these jewelry photography camera settings is necessary to adjust the light. We advise not to change ISO, if you are photographing products — keep it in the smallest setting.
For web images, an 18-55 mm lens will be enough, which is bundled with your camera. You do not even need a macro lens or any additional lenses. Yes, a good macro lens knows how to photograph earrings or rings more qualitative. However, 18-55 is enough — adjust the sharpness in Photoshop, and your photos will acquire a presentable appearance on the Internet.
For web sites like Amazon, you do not need to have professional jewelry photography equipment, which produce large-sized photos, its enough to have a size of about 1000x1000 for a comfortable and high-quality photo, but if you plan to print your images in magazines or on posters / billboards with high resolution, you definitely need a macro lens.
It should be understood that a lens with a fixed focal length, for example 100mm, will force you to move the camera depending on the size of the product you are photographing, and an 18-55mm lens allows you to leave the camera stationary simply by changing the focal length.
It has a macro capability, which is very important for this type of photography. Maybe it is not sharp as the $2.500 Nikon lens, but it is good to have in your jewellery photography kit. To put it into macro mode, you have to zoom the lens to at least 50 mm.
It's a medium telephoto lens with macro capabilities, that can be used on FX as well as on DX cameras and on the latter it will give you an equivalent of 160 mm. The minimum focusing distance between the photographed object and sensor is 31.4 cm — that's exactly 1 foot, which means the distance from end of the lens barrel to the photograph object is only around 15 cm. This lens gives you super sharp even when shooting at f / 2.8, which is very important for creative jewellery photography. AF Speed is very fast, as well as the ability to focus even very close to the subject, about a few centimeters away.
Tamron Di Macro is a beautiful macro lens for a reasonable price. To obtain a normal depth of field, you often have to set the aperture to values of 11 or more. With an optical stabilizer, ISO 800 can thus be placed, in those cases where 6,400 or 12,800 would have to be used without it, which is a very significant difference. The resolution of the lens is impressive — even on the opened diaphragm, the detail in the center is excellent, and on the sides — just good. For best results, I recommend setting values from 4 to 6.
Tripod – a must-have of your jewelry photography equipment kit
Manfrotto 055 is the only and best tripod you need. When you are shooting jewelry, which is a macro type situation, meaning you are shooting up close, you absolutely need a tripod. Any movement will be magnified in the photograph, what can ruin all your jewellery photography ideas.
A solid carbon fiber construction is capable of keeping the camera absolutely still. It is also very simple to operate and has the ability to change the height. Thanks to its black color, it does not create highlights, which is important when you do macro shooting. In order to change the angle of the camera, instead of extending the legs, we can use a convenient center column. For the tripod head, I recommend the three-way Manfrotto 410, because it allows you easily and accurately lock the camera for close-ups. Manfrotto 410 makes it easy to make minor camera adjustments with one hand, and the other hand adjust the focus or zoom the camera.
Light tent is a must-have in your jewellery photography kit, that will soften and scatter light and provide the desired results. In order to make high-quality photos of jewelry with good lightning, you do not need to buy expensive studio jewelry photography boxes that immediately disperse the light. You may buy a few inexpensive LED lamps that give a uniform white light and do not change the color of your jewelry, but will give quality direct lighting. Use the large studio light on both sides, putting the jewels on a hard surface. Also, a creative way for an unusual photo will be to put the jewelry on a tile or on a mirror, such surfaces will create a pleasant and interesting reflection on your photos.
Yes, you can change the background in Photoshop after shooting, but to speed up your retouching, you can take a picture on an even background. Do not forget to clean the jewels after every your touching. Cotton gloves can greatly save your time.
Sounds strange? Modern smartphones are powerful enough to use in such kind of photo session. This option is not only cheap, but also convenient! There are no classes about how to take product photos with phone, all you need is reading the following tips.
Shooting Jewelry Photography with Your iPhone:
CAMERA. Most smartphones have powerful solid cameras. The iPhone 6s’s 12 megapixel, f/2.2, 29mm camera works well. An iPhone 7 Plus has an even more advanced dual 12 megapixel camera setup of 28mm at f/1.8 and 56mm at f/2.8. Both models feature phase detection autofocus, dual tone flash and more. Earlier iPhones have a respectable 8 megapixel camera, which works fine for online shots that you don’t need to print.
LIGHTNING. How to take pictures of jewelry in good light? I told you above, it's just the same for photographing on the iPhone.
IMAGE STABILIZATION. Despite the built-in software, there will still be camera shake if you hand-hold your iPhone, resulting in blurry jewelry shots.
Photograph your jewelry from any angle with this flexible mini tripod, made to fit any iPhone version, with or without a case. Thanks to rubber grips, you will forever forget about what is sliding on the surface.
A wireless Bluetooth remote control is included in this tripod that is making it one of the best lenses for jewelry photography.
LENSES. To understand how to take product photos with iPhone well, you will absolutely need some external lenses like Hitcase, Photojojo and Moment Tele ones. Having used them will make it through tough lighting and focusing situations. If you want to zoom in closer to your jewelry and create a macro photograph, do not use the digital zoom on smartphones. It is not the same as optical zoom and the quality of your jewelry images will decrease.
APPLICATIONS. Camera + is one of the best jewellery photography apps on iPhone.
The Camera + application does all the basic things, such as cropping, lighting adjustments and special effects, such as HDR and adjusts depth of field. Also, there is a timer that is used to get more sharp photos. With this program, the question - how to take pictures of jewelry with iPhone well is not scary anymore. A very useful function is “Exposure”, which allows you to choose what you are focusing on.
Photoshop Touch is jewellery photography app for editing photos on your iPhone, more advanced analog of “Express”. This is a mobile analogue of Adobe Photoshop.
Most often, a well-designed jewelry picture with good lighting does not require retouching, and if it is, it’s all about making the photo sharper. But if you need extra changes, mind these Photoshop tools to edit jewelry photos.
UNSHARP MASK. This is a function in Photoshop, which is used to adjust the sharpness on the photo. For web images, if you use a DSLR body and shoot at F14 or a similar aperture, start with setting of 70, radius 2 and threshold 0.
CLONE TOOL. To replace gems in a jewelry photo, use a clone tool. If some stones look better than others, clone the best ones, and replace them with the rest.
SPOT HEALING BRUSH. Don't get upset if you notice dust, scratches or stains on your jewelry — this tool will easily remove them.
High-End Jewelry Retouching Tutorial:
Took a tripod, put your camera on it, adjusted a light box with LED lamps, took a shot of these small crystals, glass polished rocks or other jewels, and got stuck starting jewellery photo retouching in Photoshop? Here is a step-by-step tutorial for beginning product photographers who want to know how to photograph jewelry to sell and what to retouch.
Step 1. Upload the photos to Adobe Photoshop, adjust white balance, and make resizing - centering the object and making it look well-prominent and large.
Step 2. If you don’t have suppliers to understand how to take jewelry photos with white background, cut out the product on a white background, using the Clipping Path method.
Step 3. Make CLEANING of the most visible defects. Spot Healing Brush tool is used to remove shallow scratches, dust. In cases when problematic areas are larger you should utilize Healing Brush, Patch Tool or Clone Stamp Tool.
Step 4. Metal cleaning (gold or silver). Make smoothening with the Mixer Brush tool. Sometimes you need to fully replace the areas of dirty metal. Using Pen Tool draw the desired shape of the metal and fill it with a gradient that resembles the pure metal with glitter on it.
Wonderful High-End Jewelry Retouching:
Step 5. Gemstones cleaning. You should give them brightness and glow. Here first increase the brightness with the help of Curves or Levels and give the contrast. If the gemstones have a yellowish, serene or bluish hue - then we need to lower the saturation of all shades on the stones to make them pure white. To do this, use the Adjustment Layer - Hue / Saturation - to discolor the gemstones.
Step 6. If the necklace is twisted in some places - we can use a piece of it to replace the twisted one. You can also make stones replacement by duplicating a well-looking gemstone and adding it to others.
Step 7. Draw shadows and add reflection from the object. Make it as realistic as possible.
Step 8. If there is a task to make the product look as glowing as possible - you can use a Sharpness (sparkles, shining) in PNG format.
Step 9. Finally, adjust Sharpness. Go to the Filter / Sharpen / Unsharp Mask. Work with three tools: Amount, Radius and Threshold. If you considerably increase the meaning of Radius, don't forget to decrease Amount and increase Threshold to leave natural look.
Step 10. Save your image and satisfy the clients.
If you decided to start jewelry photography business, it’s quite simple and easier than other photography genres. To buy the necessary and best equipment for jewelry photography, you need $492 (iPhone jewelry photography kit) or $998 (DSLR camera kit). You don’t need extra knowledge or skills in Photoshop, just a good soft box and proper lightning. If you want to know how to photograph jewelry for ETSY, you should make creative jewellery photography, and stand out from the crowd of buyers. Make your light box by yourself, purchase a good working lens from a local photography club’s equipment swapmeet, experiment with backgrounds (old vintage books, music note sheets, vintage mirrors, flowers, old-fashioned furniture, cream colored mugs and even plates) or even shoot photos outside in rainy days - natural light makes magic.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.