What Is jewelry photography?
Jewelry photography means photographing jewelry in a space that highlights its best features. There are many ways to showcase jewelry, and product photographers need a lot of creativity to make stunning images. From the right equipment to lighting and styling techniques, there’s a lot of experimentation to be done before you can say with certainty that you have shot the best possible image—and that can take some time. So take this article as a shortcut to a faster process, where we give you all the jewelry photography tips you need to know.a
Jewelry photography equipment
Behind good jewelry photos is high-quality equipment. Professional photographers usually work with high-quality cameras and lenses that allow them to take both detailed close-ups and wide-angle views of an entire piece of jewelry or collection. You should also consider lighting conditions when photographing these delicate pieces. This way, you’ll ensure that your photos do not have any unwanted reflections.
Essential tools for Jewelry Photography
When it comes to equipment for traditional jewelry photography, there are typically three factors to consider: Camera, lighting, and software. First, the camera you choose should ideally be a DSLR. It is simply better than other alternatives and will give you the best possible result. Thereafter, you should think about the lens. By far the best lenses on the market are the 100 mm lenses, but they often cost thousands of dollars. To avoid this high cost, we recommend that you opt for a used lens because it will cost you much less, only about £150.
Lighting is the key
Lighting is another factor that will affect the final aesthetics of your gemstones photos. When photographing jewelry, you should focus on lighting that shows off the reflection of the product, but be careful not to outshine the other props. You want the jewelry piece to stand out, but you also want to create a nice balance between all the other elements. The best light sources for this are: Soft boxes, diffusers and natural light.
Retouching is a must
Finally, retouching your image must be done in software. There are a wide variety of programmes to choose from, but we recommend using industry-leading programmes such as Lightroom or Capture One for batch editing. However, for high-precision editing, Photoshop is the best decision you can make.
Now that you have learned how to take great jewelry photos the traditional way, we’d like to show you a better alternative. For over 3 years now, we have switched most of our studio work to CGI. This stands for Computer-Generated Imagery and basically means that we take reference images of a product and model them in 3D software. Since most of the work is done on the computer, it saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on traditional shoots. In addition, the cost of producing high-quality jewelry images is greatly reduced, as all the equipment needed is just a mouse click away from downloading. Now, let us discuss some of our battle-tested jewelry photography tips.
Best jewelry photography tips
To get the most out of your jewelry, you need to go into the photography process with a plan. After nearly 20 years in this industry, we have put together a short list of jewelry photography tips for you today:
- Partner up with others in the photography industry. The world of photography is very competitive these days, and one sure way to beat the odds is to partner up with others in the industry. We recommend teaming up with other experienced artists, as this will make it easier for you to improve the quality of your images.
- Save your resources: why spend a lot of money and time working in a traditional studio environment? Especially when there are more accessible alternatives to create lifelike jewelry photography. Choose CGI, keep more money and invest less for the same result.
- Hire someone to do it for you: if you find that it takes you a lot of time and money to learn jewelry photography, you may be better off hiring a professional to do it for you. Believe it or not, many people turn to photography studios because it is more profitable for them in terms of resources. If you find yourself in this exact situation, send us a picture of your jewelry, and we’ll show you what we can do with it.
Lighting techniques for jewelry photography
Combining soft and hard light
In jewelry photography, lighting means giving your product a whole new life. A carefully chosen light can improve the overall impression of the image many times over. Trying out different types of lighting is crucial because only experimentation will show you what lighting works and what does not. In this direction, diffuse and hard lighting can be a good start. You will get some complicated results that you can also keep for comparison purposes.
Working with natural light
Natural light is another way to bring out the best features of a piece of jewelry. Experimenting with the most important light source in the world can have a very positive effect on your final image. After all, our eyes are mostly used to natural light, so it can create a stronger connection between the piece of jewelry and the viewer.
Going unlimited with CGI light
However, if you want more control over the light, you can always opt for CGI. In 3D modelling software, you have all the options to achieve the ideal result. This is a great alternative for people who have limited time and money to spend on jewelry photography.
Creative styling Ideas for jewelry photography
A great way to achieve the perfect styling for jewelry photography is to use props. These elements can vary greatly depending on the message you want to convey. It’s essential to keep in mind the brand tone of the company you are taking the photos of, as you want your image to resonate with its target audience. Take a look at our jewelry photography tips when deciding on the right props:
- Work with contrasting materials: do you know why photographers mainly work with contrasts? Because they want to use it to highlight certain features of the product. Our brain is trained to make decisions based on comparisons, and we always need at least two factors to decide. This is a simple but effective psychological trick that works every time, especially in jewelry photography.
- Working with natural elements: From an early age, we are taught about the basic elements of the world around us, such as fire, earth, wind, and water. This stays with us later in life, and product photographers often use these elements to connect the product to its source. They convey a clear message that regularly piques people’s curiosity.
- Working with light and shadow: You need to know when and where to use props—sometimes it’s not even necessary. Features can be highlighted by playing with light and shadow. This branch of photography is called minimalist style, and experienced artists can show their skills with such decorative images.
Common mistakes to avoid
As in any other industry, there are many pitfalls for aspiring artists in photography. We are here to make sure you put your efforts exactly where you need them to be, so you can set a clear direction for your jewelry photography.
First, let us talk about equipment. We know that getting started can be difficult, especially for those who do not have the financial resources to learn and experiment. However, buying the cheapest equipment is not a solution, it’s a waste of money. If you can only invest a few pounds, we recommend buying quality equipment second hand. You can also rent the equipment for a few days to find out if this is something you want to do. For more tips, browse through our blog on e-commerce photography. There you will find all the necessary information about the equipment you should buy.
Moreover, you should always subject your images to post-processing. From batch processing software like Lightroom and Capture One to more precise software like Photoshop, we recommend experimenting with all of them. That way, you’ll gain experience and know which software to use in which situation.
Jewelry photography is an art that requires both creativity and technical skill. As the world of jewelry photography has evolved, so have the ideas for stunning photos. From the use of props to unique lighting, there are many creative ways to take beautiful jewelry photos. If you’re looking for innovative approaches to your jewelry photography, don’t be afraid to experiment and try different techniques.
Furthermore, consider using CGI. It offers a wide range of tools that can help you create your ideal images faster, cheaper and more conveniently than traditional photography. And if you still think that jewelry photography takes too much time, you can always turn to professionals in this field. As of now, we offer a FREE consultation to discuss all your questions, such as pricing and our creative process—we look forward to hearing from you!
What equipment do I need to create stunning jewelry photographs?
To create stunning jewelry images, you only need a few tools. As for equipment, experiment with different DSLR cameras, as well as several 3D modelling software.
What lighting should I use for jewelry photography?
The best lighting for jewelry photography is natural light and its variations. You should also consider indirect natural lighting to avoid giving your jewelry a dull aspect.
Can jewelry photography be done with CGI?
Yes, jewelry photography can be done with CGI. It is simply a faster and cheaper way to create realistic images of a jewelry piece.