Jewelry photography is uniquely challenging even to the most experienced of photographers. The pieces are mostly small, and capturing the intricate details while dealing with the reflexive nature of jewelry is not an easy task. You have to give careful considerations to several details like the kind of lens you use, lighting, posture, among other things.
If it’s your first time photographing jewelry, or you just want to know how to sell jewelry but you have no experience, this process may seem a lot complicated. This guide provides you with a step by step guide on jewelry photography to give you a superior end product. Let’s go through it.
Step 1: Get everything you will need
When you are taking jewelry photos, you will require some special equipment that you may need in other kinds of shootings. Here are the items you must have for superior quality shots.
Tripod-when photographing jewelry, it’s important that the camera is very steady. While you might not require a tripod in other kinds of photography, you have to keep in mind that jewelry pieces and even minor shaking will seriously blur the images. For this reason, you need a very sturdy camera tripod.
An appropriate lens-when photographing smaller pieces of jewelry like rings and stud earrings, you will require a macro lens if you want to get quality blown up pictures of the items. If you don’t need large pictures however, a normal lens might just serve you right.
Lighting-when photographing jewelry, you need to give careful consideration to lighting for you to get quality images. The best option I natural light. Should you choose to go with natural light, you have to pick your photographing time carefully. The best times are the first sunlight hour in the morning and the last one in the evening. At both these times, the light is well diffused and you will get the best results. You can set up your work area next to a window outside.
Should you choose to go with artificial lighting, you will need two sources, backlight and sidelight. You will also need to diffuse the light properly to avoid reflections that may ruin the image.
Lighting tent-as I have already mentioned you will need to diffuse light to avoid reflections that could result in bad quality images. This will be best done in a lighting tent or a lighting box. For the same purpose, you will need a roll of white paper to create a soft impression.
Wax-you will need some type of wax to hold the pieces in place when taking the photos. Whatever kind of wax you choose, make sure you pick one that you will easily remove without leaving marks on the pieces. A glue gun works well to keep the jewelry in place and the glue is easy to remove after the photo-shoot.
A table and a jewelry stand– you will need a table to place the jewelry on and jewelry stands to hold the jewelry.
This is basically what you need for a successful jewelry photoshoot. You might add other accessories according to your needs.
Step 2: Set up the station
After gathering all you need, you need to set up the working area. Keeping in mind the lighting and the kind of background you need for your images.
Step 3: Clean the jewelry
When taking jewelry photos, you must clean the jewelry before shooting. Dust specs and fingerprints will be conspicuous. To take clear images, its good practice to clean the pieces before taking the pictures.
The best method of cleaning is using a micro-fiber piece of cloth and alcohol to clean the pieces. Please ensure you don’t leave any fibers stuck on the jewelry.
Step 4: the actual photoshoot
When it comes to taking the images, there are a few things you need to get right. The camera settings are one of those things. Aperture settings will determine areas of focus on the image. Higher aperture settings focus on settings, say 20, focus on more on the larger object while lower settings say f 10 will focus on specific details leaving the rest of the image looking blurry. This is useful when you want to capture small intricate details.
Keep tweaking the camera settings until you get the desired image quality. Remember you can also switch to the manual mode of operation to get the best results.
Step 5: Retouch
With jewelry, it may not be possible to capture all the intricate details on a single image. For this reason, many jewelry photographers take multiple images, focusing on different details of the piece and then bring them together in focus stacking.
Focus stacking is picking the sharpest part of the detailed jewelry from multiple photos and creating a wholesome detailed image that shows all the aspects of the jewelry in detail.
You will need photo retouch software to make all this possible. Most people use Photoshop but there are also other software out there that you can use to brush up on the images.
You might also need to do color correction on the final image too so that all the images you take that are made from the same material have the same color. This helps maintain some form of consistency on your images especially if they are meant for commercial purposes. You will use the photo retouch software to do this too.
Jewelry photography is more tasking than most people think. There is a lot of work that goes into getting the perfect image. With this guide, however, you can get studio quality jewelry images for your business.
You should keep in mind however, that jewelry photography like everything else requires practice to perfect the skills. You may not get it right the first time you do it but with enough practice, you will get it right. Also, you don’t necessarily need expensive equipment to do it. You can improvise and get creative as long as you get better results. I hope this was helpful.