Jewelry photography is one of the most difficult product photography styles. If you want to get a luxurious jewelry image for your catalogue that is easy to retouch, you need to know some details and shooting tricks. So, let's find out what jewelry photography tips to follow to receive mind-blowing photographs even at home.
The rings are one of the most demanded and the easiest kinds of jewelry photography accessories because for their photographing you do not need any props. I’ll tell you some concepts about how to photography jewelry successfully.
This is a classic jewelry photography shooting. You need several pictures of your ring from different angles and with the diverse focal state to create a blur effect to get gentle images. Do not forget to take a few pictures so that your ring is completely in focus. This will help in removing jewelry photography white background and place your ring on the pure white one. (if some part is out of focus, it's much harder to do).
As you can see, a photo with a blurry background is very suitable for wedding photos, for example, the rings on the background of a wedding table.
Gold on a black background looks especially nice, these colors are very prominent among dark environments, but such photos require special camera adjustment, as I said above. Increase ISO from 400 and above, and turn on the brightest light. If the photos are obtained too dark, I would recommend putting a couple of lamps to your lightbox.
It is one of the most useful props I found in the jewelry photography kit from MyStudio. The first thing you have to do is to lay a piece of napkin or paper under this cube of wax for jewelry photography since the wax covers the surface on which it stands, and then everything sticks to it.
Then you simply put your ring into it and choose the necessary angle. Do not be afraid to cover it with wax, it can easily be wiped off. If you use wax, you will have to retouch photos to remove it.
It is very difficult to achieve a good reflection on the white panel since most of these reflections are illuminated. Darker rings will reflect more strongly, gold ones are worse, but with good image retouching, you can strengthen this effect. The main thing is to make sure that your LED lights for jewelry photography or lamps are not reflected on the surface.
To work with the reflection on the black surface is much easier, the colors are very juicy, and the picture looks expensive.
NOTE: use white acrylic panel only on a white background. The main thing is to clean this panel well, as it is very marking and traces from any touch can be visible.
I used a suede surface for photographing the necklace to give some texture. The problem with this surface is that it absorbs light and even at 800 ISO the image had very dark areas. Here's my advice how to photography jewelry in a lightbox, try to put another lamp inside, and make a dozen experimental images. It will be difficult and time-consuming, but you will get the desired result even with such a complex backdrop for jewelry product photography.
This is one of the most interesting and creative jewelry photography ideas. You can use different types of fabric, textures, and colors. I used a red cotton cloth. The gold ring on it looks particularly contrasting and tender, and the fabric itself resembles rose petals. You can also use satin fabric, but be careful, it has glares. Try it because the texture of the fabric in the photo looks very smooth, without unnecessary threads.
After taking pictures with a good lens and the right lighting, you insert your memory card into the computer and see that most of your photos look dark, and the background is more gray than white. Don’t worry, it is a regular situation with the jewelry photography. Most of my RAW pictures with the object in the focus look exactly like this, but it is improved while image retouching. It is basically similar to the retouching of the rest of the jewelry photos, but some points still need to be accentuated. The most difficult task we faced was the removal of a wax jewelry photography stand.
For beautiful earrings photography, you will need at least a stand for earrings where they can be easily placed and photographed at any angle. So I highly recommend buying a set of jewelry photography props http://fixthephoto.com/jewelry-photography-props.html. Besides, there are lots of other jewelry photography ideas, which may be applied to photographing earrings.
For the jewelry photography, I used both silver and gold earrings, which were interchanged. I would say that it is much easier to photograph silver jewelry on a white background, as gold earrings are easily exposed to the jewelry photography lighting and the pictures become very sharp even with a small amount of light. Besides, the photos of gold jewelry can be overexposed. One of the most difficult tasks is to place the earrings so they will not fall. Some earrings are just a single piece of metal with stones, while others are made of several components and it is much more difficult to put them on a flat surface sideways in an attractive way.
NOTE: There is one technique which may be applied to the earrings photography only. You can take a photo of one item and then add the second earring while photo retouching. Of course, such jewelry photography tips may work only if the earrings are identical.
It is preferable to take pictures of a gold jewelry on a black background, as silver reflects a black color and almost dissolves in it, while gold displays beautiful brilliance. I took earrings with pearls that have one feature – it's like a mirror. It is easily improved while jewelry photography retouching. Don’t forget to do it, as I have seen lots of photos with a photographer noticeable in the reflection of pearls or stones. Many photogs simply don’t think about it while photographing.
There is one method to avoid such a problem. You can cut a white cardboard circle for your camera lens for jewelry photography and get a white background for the earrings from all the sides. Still, there are some significant feedbacks. Every time you take another lens, you have to prepare another cardboard circle. Besides, if you need to re-establish the earrings, you can’t do it very fast, as there is a circle in your way. So, it may be rather inconvenient.
One of the most popular creative jewelry photography techniques you will probably find on the Internet is to hang earrings on the thread, which will be removed while retouching. Thus, many photographers get the “hovering” effect. The most interesting thing is that nobody mentions the shortcomings of this method and I would like to give some pieces of advice on this jewelry photography technique.
The photo of the jewelry on the acrylic stand, with all the ornaments, usually looks especially attractive. As I have mentioned before, it is quite a problem to lay out the earrings beautifully. Try to place the jewelry in a fancy way, but make them stand on the side, not laying “dead”. I tried to take a photo of both earrings at once, this is a big problem since the second one was constantly out of focus. Besides, because of the complicated design of the earrings, they kept on falling. On the white stand for jewelry photography the earrings gave simpler, but clearer reflection, where all the details were perfectly noticeable.
The black background for jewelry photography was a kind of obstacle for photographing pearls. As the pearls appeared to be a little dirty, I had to place additional strobe lights for jewelry photography to get the even image.
I had two main types of the stands (white and black) in the jewelry photography kit, but, in fact, the white support is suitable for all types of jewelry. The black stand requires a very large amount of light and does not look so attractive.
The earrings are fastened in the special slots in the stand and are fixed tightly, so you can experiment with the position of the earrings (place them on one level, put one a little bit above and so on). If necessary, you can remove this stand from the background while retouching, but I would not do that, as the earrings on the jewelry photography stand look great.
This is the most fun and, simultaneously, an annoying part in earrings photography. If the rest of the jewelry can simply be put in one spot and they remain in place, the earrings will be everywhere, but not where you intend! They may slide, fall and it seems fantastic to fix them in one place to get professional jewelry photography content.
The most annoying thing is that you can place one earring very beautifully, but when you put the second one, the whole composition is ruined, so be patient. There are also some problems concerning the pearls. Think about the reflection of your camera, the lamp, the red fabric or even yourself, which must be improved while retouching jewelry photography.
The retouching of earrings is usually more complicated and time-consuming if compared to the same manipulations with bracelets or rings, as earrings have a very complex shape with lots of pearls and stones. It is most difficult to work with earrings that have a flat shape, since they will not have a uniform color throughout their area, but will be very “dirty”, reflecting everything around even if you use the best lens for jewelry photography. So, be ready to spend some time restoring the original color.
Here you can show much more creativity than with other jewelry, as the bracelets can change shape and you can capture only some of their parts. There are several types of bracelets and the best type to capture – is a variant with voluminous stones or ornaments, such as Pandora, as it keeps its shape in any position. The bracelet that I photographed had a more complex shape and therefore it was very problematic to place it attractively. It kept falling down, and if you have the same problem, use wax for jewelry photography.
It's quite difficult to keep the whole bracelet in focus, as one part will always be several centimeters longer than another, so do not worry about it and make the back part blurred. Concentrate on the most beautiful part of the bracelet, in my case, it's a stone between two silver leaves-like parts.
Play with angles, disjoin the parts of the bracelet and take a picture of only the main one. This technique is widely used in fashion jewelry photography.
To put this type of bracelet on its side gently and nicely is even more complicated task than placing two earrings on the fabric. I managed to do this by slightly twisting the bracelet; maybe it does not look so attractive, but it's important to show the bracelet sideways. Strangely enough, but such a long object is not so difficult to keep in focus since all its parts are at the same distance from you. The main thing is to keep the chain of the bracelet taut, to prevent sagging. If you don’t perform jewelry photography with models, try to get the maximum with jewelry photography props available.
There are also two types of the stand (white & black) in the jewelry photography kit. I prefer the white one, though it is done slightly scrounge and you may see the gluing together areas, but the photos on a stand are the must. There is nothing difficult, just put the bracelet on this stand carefully and take a photo with your camera for jewelry photography. Choose the appropriate shooting angle. Try to take a picture from above, place the camera directly in front of the jewelry photography stand. You can also get an interesting image if you slightly turn the stand and take a photo from the corner, covering 70% of the bracelet in the frame.
As I said before, laying out a chain bracelet in a beautiful way is a very time-consuming task, and when the surface is acrylic, which means slippery, it becomes almost impossible. To achieve a good reflection on the white platform it is desirable to have at least one jewelry photography lighting source from any side, which will make the reflection stronger. With bracelets of this type, the reflection does not look as bright and beautiful as I would like, but for a change, I recommend trying them.
Chain bracelets on the fabric look particularly interesting, as they adopt each curve of the cloth thereby bending in a very interesting way. I would recommend focusing only on the most important part of the bracelet, blurring the entire background and the rest of its parts. According to the jewelry photography tutorial make the middle of the bracelet slightly raised, by folding the fabric so that the bracelet is on the bump.
The problem with retouching bracelets photos is that one part of the bracelet in many photos will often be out of focus. Even with the best jewelry photography kit, you can’t improve this problem. And if you want to completely remove the background, you will need to gently “work on” the entire perimeter of the bracelet. Also, if your jewelry is not clean enough and you forgot to do it before shooting, you will have to clean every part of the chain while retouching, which is a rather long process.
Jewelry photography is believed to be one of the most tricky genres. To take a really high-quality photo, which will be easy to edit – it is compulsory to know the small details and nuances of a proper shooting.
The necklace is a type of jewelry that can be large, massive and complex, or small, simple and lightweight. Today I have chosen a big necklace. The problem of such jewelry is that all its parts can be captured in focus at once. You usually concentrate on the front part, while side ones are out of focus. In this case, I used a 50mm camera lens for jewelry photography and set the maximum aperture possible. In fact, you can hardly manage to set the focus manually, so don’t waste your time and use autofocus mode. I had to make more than 30 photos of each type to get a sharp and clear-cut picture in focus.
The problem with this type of necklace is that they cannot be photographed simply lying on a flat surface. In fact, they can, but it will make no sense, and the composition will be rather ridiculous. The necklace itself is one piece of metal with heavy stones, so for a successful photo, you must use a special jewelry photography stand for the necklace. A white stand is preferably used for photographing on a white background, but then you’ll need to perform the color correction since such a large jewelry will be shadowed. I had a large number of yellow shadows in the photo. The main thing is to make sure that the jewelry is firmly fixed on the jewelry photography stand and both its sides are symmetrical.
For the photos taken on such a surface, I needed lots of jewelry photography lighting systems and I also used the flash. But her problem is that the flash causes a very strong glare on the stones and had to put an additional lamp in the lightbox for jewelry photography. As I said earlier it is easier to photograph gold on a black background, as this material does not look so dark, and does not absorb black color so much.
Try to take a photo from above by setting the necklace on the same jewelry photography stand. The jewelry photography lightbox is above it and therefore you will have enough light to make the picture quite clear-cut. The main thing is to place it right in the middle and capture all the corners of the stand, so you will have to take a photo at a distance.
For this photo, I used a little lighter necklace, since the fabric may just get distorted under a very heavy jewelry. If you have a light chain necklace, you can try to take a gentle photo. Do not try to capture the entire length of the chain, as it makes no sense, since its base is still in the middle. Again, focus on the stone and capture a couple of centimeters of the chain. According to the jewelry photography tutorial, this is the simplest jewelry to photograph, as you can easily place it on the fabric, and need to focus only on its small part.
This way of photographing necklaces on a white jewelry photography background is widely used. In order to take such a photo, you need to take a sheet of paper or even use the cardboard. Take the scissors and cut two strips from the top (4 inches apart and 1 inch long), so that the chain of your necklace will be tightly fixed. Hang your necklace on it, as the paper serves as a stand for jewelry photography. This will enable you to take some great shots and remove the background easily during the photo editing.
If you take a photo of a small necklace or a pendant, you can take a few pictures of the jewelry lying on the acrylic panel, which is rather popular in fashion jewelry photography. The most difficult thing is to place the pendant beautifully, but it’s okay if it lies sideways. The reflection does not play such an important role this time. These pictures can be made both on a white and a black jewelry photography background. Choose the background, which really matches your jewelry.
The retouching of a small necklace doesn’t differ from the retouching of a bracelet. There is only a chain and a small jewelry at the end. Since it's rather easy to catch the focus on this jewelry and it looks sharp and clear-cut enough, your only task will be to remove the background or perform the color correction. It is rather easy. In case you have to edit an image of a large necklace, get ready to spend some time, cleaning each stone from all sorts of glare and prints. Professional jewelry photography requires all the pictures to be astonishing.
Setting a studio for jewelry photography at home is not a difficult task as it may seem. You just need to know some important aspects that will help you create photography jewelry as if from covers of fashion magazines.
Here you need to start with what you want to get. If you need a very clear image with further retouching details then choose a good DSLR with 50mm lens and macro extension tubes that will add clarity to your photos.
If you are shooting for a store, for example for Etsy, then you can make jewelry photography with iPhone, any model, starting with 5s, will suit you. If you prefer Android devices, then find something with similar camera characteristics.
All the photos in this article are made on the Nikon D7100 camera, and I can safely say that no expensive jewelry photography kit you need to make really high-quality photos.
In order that your photos will look more clearly, you need to get as close to your object as possible without using the optical approximation. A good pick for jewelry photography kit will be a 50mm or 60mm lenses. They allow you not to get too close to the subject, so do not literally get into a box and your face with the camera will not be mirrored in the reflection of the metal.
For jewelry photography, I used two lenses: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G and Helios 44-2 58mm F2. I chose Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G because in manual mode it produces wonderful pictures, but it's very difficult to make them sharp. You have to make more than 15 pictures of one position of each element. Helios 44-2 58mm F2 is a strange choice, but it's worth it. It's a very old Russian lens of the 86th year of release, it has very detailed settings and produces wonderful photos with a blurry background and very sharp focus.
You do not need to have a tripod to make quality jewelry photography. I'll be honest, for all the photos in this article I did not use it because tilt-shift jewelry photography significantly hinders movements, and it is unacceptable for this photo genre. While you take pictures, dozens of ideas and interesting camera angles will come to your head and you will need to constantly move, the main thing is to stop before taking a picture, hold your breath and press the trigger, as you need the sharpest and clearest photos, even the smallest noise is not permissible.
If you have money then buy jewelry photography light box. If you want to make lighting yourself, then you need to buy several powerful lamps. Here the rule is simple, the more powerful, the better, get 2-3 lamps per 100W, this should be enough for you to set as much light on your jewelry.
Install them on small table lamps with reflectors (cone around the lamp, covered with a mirror surface inside). For high-quality lighting, you need to maximally close the area of light scattering (create a kind of lightbox). For the first time, I did a DIY lightbox for jewelry photography from cardboard, adhesive tape, and paper. My recommendation: for a greater concentration of light on your jewel use mirrors directed towards the jewelry.
At first, you will only need a white background, I recommend white paper if you do not want to buy ready-made backgrounds for jewelry photography. Buy a large 100-meter roll of paper so that in case of contamination you can just tear off a piece and continue working. I do not recommend using a cloth as a white background, only in some cases when you need a fabric texture for a photo. The fabric does not absorb light enough, and sometimes even completely permit it through, and we need the maximum concentration of light on your photos.
In order not to have difficulties with placing jewelry or where to hang necklaces, place beautifully earrings and how to put a ring vertically, I recommend you also buy jewelry props for photography. Use MyStudio MSJ1 set for $90. The price is quite high because the quality of this set leaves much to be desired. Let's look inside and figure out the components of these jewelry photography props.
In this peculiar jewelry photography kit, there are 12 different items made in black and white variations.
Here there are racks for necklaces, for earrings and bracelets; white versions are made of wood-covered artificial leather. But the black stands are covered with a cloth, and the problem is that they are too attracting dust and other small particles. But there is always a way out, take the adhesive tape and quickly clean the surface with a sticky side.
There is also a desk for the clock, but it is not very high quality, and all the watches that I put on it, looked not natural. The best thing here is acrylic panels in two colors, which initially look like two pieces of cardboard. If you lightly water the coating, it can be easily removed so that it better reflects objects.
For those who strive to be more original and know how to photography jewelry then use for the stands all the handy tools from the petals of flowers, fabric, wood, beautiful stone to old books or newspapers. Learn other jewelry photography ideas, and then deliver on your own.
If you take not new jewelry or making Etsy jewelry photography for sale, you need to thoroughly clean them of all the dirt and opacities. Yes, you can change this in Photoshop after the photo session, but it's extremely difficult to add shine to stones or metal in image post-processing. There is one way how to photography jewelry and do not waste time on digital cleaning, it is performing manual pre-cleaning of all details.
The whole procedure will take no more than 5 minutes. To do this, pour water in a bowl, put it on the fire, put all the jewel things there, add soda and bring to a boil. You immediately notice sediment that does not give shine to the Bijou. To improve the result, I give a little clue; put the aluminum foil on the bottom of the bowl.
Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8G
Helios 44-2 58mm F2
You will surprise but camera settings for jewelry photography are not the most important thing but do not ignore this question. Its adjustments depend mainly on the good lighting and right background on which you take images.
There are above tunings for jewelry photography on a white background. You have to increase the ISO when taking on the black background, which will increase the noise, so you need to take such images even more carefully, so as not to blunder with sharpness.
It is insufficient to know the principles of how to photography jewelry because any photo needs post-processing. In a particular case, we have 3 stages of retouching.
Moderate color correction and background removal. This includes the standard editing of jewelry photography for sites such as Amazon, where you slightly change the color to the one that you see in reality if it is overexposed or darkish. You also remove the background, making it the color you need, or leave it white.
Cleaning jewelry, repairing minor damage. If you use not new items for commercial jewelry photography but want to give them a new look, then you need to get rid of scratches, add gemstones, fix a deformed shape, etc. during digital jewelry photography preparation.
The fashion jewelry photography retouching is the most complex, but beautiful kind of retouching. It gives the jewel elements a little better than it is in fact; the colors are more saturated and contrasting (e.g. the photos from the covers of magazines or on billboards).
In order to carry out professional jewelry photography, you need to have really good lighting, since the sharpness of such images should be the best; therefore the ISO needs to be made minimal. There are 3 common methods of jewelry photography lighting: daylight, lamp or lightbox.
In every video or tutorial how to photography jewelry says that the best option for the photoshoot is having a large light window and a white background. But we understand full well that this is an ideal lighting for jewelry photography, where trees, clouds, etc. do not interfere. The downside is that daylight is beyond our control and has very limited time; cloudy day, evening and other circumstances postpone our photographing. You have only one situation when daylight conditions are suitable, it is handmade jewelry photography on a nature background, using natural props (wood, grass, stones).
For greater clarity, you will also need a very strong lens, so that jewelry photography on a snapshot camera or phone can be immediately dismissed. My jewelry photography tips are that you buy professional lighting that will reduce most of your problems.
To create jewelry photography kit at home, take as many bright lamps as possible. The main advice is not to use one lamp; if this occurs, only one side of your subject will be sufficiently illuminated; besides it will create a huge shadow. Also, you should close the territory of the photo as much as possible. A DIY light box made of paper and cardboard is suitable as a home jewelry photography studio. Many recommend closing the lamp with paper to disperse the light, but this rarely helps, on the contrary, it takes a lot of light. You need to take the finest paper for this. It is also excellent to use a mirror to concentrate light on an object.
The purchase of a lightbox will replace the table, lamps, and backgrounds. It is much easier to dole out about $100 and have a ready-made studio for product photography jewelry at hand, which can be disassembled and placed under the sofa at any time.
My recommendation for the purchase of a light box for jewelry photography is the Fotodiox model.
Why? It is easy to assemble and disassemble, since all its corners are velcro, it has a reflective surface on the walls, light is even enough at the smallest ISO values, there is the possibility of photographing from above and from the side, in the jewelry photography kit there are 4 backgrounds: white, black, gray and blue, as well as a diffuser of light.
Strangely enough, but most of the Etsy jewelry photography on a white background is taken with the help of iPhone. After the release of iPhone 5s, people start thinking that such phones can eventually replace DSLR cameras. In fact, it's a controversial idea. Nowadays, it is possible to take a photo with phones and its quality will be similar to the one taken with good DSLR cameras. But, speaking about professional jewelry photography, there are many limitations and shortcoming of photographing with iPhones. If you’d like to take quality pictures of the jewelry for your personal use, you can do it with the phone only.
Smartphones. Now, most people have smartphones with a high-quality camera. If you choose a phone to take photos and plan photograph jewelry, do not get confused with the number megapixels. In fact, if the phone is equipped with a small matrix and has a small aperture, a large number of pixels will only spoil the photos. The best smartphones have rear cameras of about 12-13 megapixels. In the resolution of the photo, it is approximately 4032x3024 pixels. Roughly speaking, if the smartphone's camera has more than 10 megapixels, their number is no longer important for jewelry photography. What really matters is the size of the matrix. Choose a model with the value of no less than 2.3. Aperture is also very important if you want to get a fairly clear photo, take the value f / 2.2 or f / 2.0. But if you have some doubts, just purchase an iPhone, starting with 5s and ending with the latest present-day release. You will definitely get wonderful pictures with such devices.
Jewelry photography lighting. Anyway, for the iPhone jewelry photography, you need to perform the preliminary preparation. The camera of a phone is not so sensitive to lighting, so even at low ISO you do not need as much light as you need for the camera. Two LED lights for jewelry photography and paper on the background should be enough. You may also need mirrors for the concentration of light. I used the same jewelry photography lightbox in which I photographed before. It conveniently allows you to adjust the lighting, and I did not even need its full power.
Tripod. You can use a tripod for smartphones if you want. But the built-in autofocus is fast enough and you will definitely get clear images. If you want to fix the phone, set up its camera and just click on the button to take photos only changing the jewelry, get a tripod. If you want it just to hold your phone tightly, then you do not need something special, take a medium-sized tripod, like Tripod for smartphones from UBeesize
It's of great quality, and is supplemented by the Wireless Remote Controller, which will allow you not to be distracted by your smartphone, but just to take pictures.
Props. Nobody excepts the use of props for shooting with the phone. But you should know that you do not need to rely on the camera of your smartphone when using elaborate effects, like acrylic panels. In fact, your smartphone will not be able to convey the desired effect. Besides, you’ll have to keep the phone quite close to the panel and it may get reflected in it, which is inappropriate for jewelry photography. Use classic jewelry photography stands or creative props if it is possible.
Cleaning. Even at the minimum ISO, every single print on the jewelry is very noticeable, and the photos are really bright. So, take care of the jewelry beforehand and make everything super clean.
NOTE: remove the cover form your phone. I tried jewelry photography with the red cover on my phone, and the pictures were spoiled by the red glare.
Camera setup. You can take photos on the built-in application in your phone, but the best choice is to download an application that allows you to regulate each characteristic of your camera necessary for the jewelry photography. You have two options:
It helps you to analyze the shooting conditions and adjust your camera accordingly. There are lots of different filters, which may be rather useful. There is also a feature of pre-saving, so you can choose the photos you like, not to “clutter” your memory card.
Lightroom for iPhone
Enables you to shoot RAW. You can correct the exposure and regulate the white balance. There are three modes: automatic, professional and HDR. You can try each and choose the best for jewelry photography. One of the most useful features is an additional layer that shows the "missing" areas, which are completely black or white because of the wrongly set light.
Snapseed has everything you need for basic photo correction: crop, rotate an image, double exposure, add text and much more. Each tool has its own parameters. Overlay mask is a very interesting feature that allows you to remove or enhance any effect in a certain area in the picture. There are lots of other useful features for jewelry photography to try.
I chose Lightroom since I was able to immediately synchronize it with my Lightroom on the laptop and process the photo. Set the ISO at about 100. Your image on the phone is slightly delayed, but it's normal. Start adjusting the white balance. I recommend daylight.
If you make high-quality jewelry photography retouching, such photos won’t differ significantly from those taken by the DSLR, but there is one problem with such retouching. When you zoom the image, the quality will be slightly different and you will see a large number of pixels and noises. So, if you want a photo on a perfectly white background, you will first need to cut out the subject, and then gently remove all the noises around it.
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.