Posted June 11, 2014 by Esslinger Staff
Jewelry photography is important and can be the key to the best presentation for jewelers. However, jewelry has many factors that make it tricky to photograph: variables like small size, reflective metals, the brilliance of diamonds and gemstones will create to the obstacles you will experience.
Whether you are selling jewelry 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 match or surpass the image that your customer sees in their mind.
It’s no secret that advertising looks and works better with good photography and that online sellers with high quality images will sell more jewelry by showing a better look and feel to consumers. High quality jewelry photos will make it easier to sell jewelry by showing people the most realistic colors and sparkle. And, best of all, taking good jewelry photos does not have to be expensive or complicated, it just requires the patience to invest your time to get the best results.
Most digital camera sold these days will be good enough to create quality online images and even printed or poster sized graphics. Modern digital cameras offer many options and and one with manual setting will help you avoid or control many of the jewelry photography problems we will talk about here. A macro lenses or a macro feature creates the best image for close up pictures. Options such as F-Stop and Exposure settings will be a benefit to you when you have to work with too much or too little lighting. Also, most cameras have a “bracketing” sequence where the camera takes 3 images at different exposures with one press of the button. 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.
The best thing you can do to improve your jewelry photography skills would be to take some time to learn about your camera and photography techniques, and then spend some money getting the right tools and equipment, like a light box or light tent, exposure board, and tripod. 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 on your own photography skills will save you from paying the expensive photography fees you would pay if you had to hire a professional. It also allows you to have control over exactly how your products will be represented.
Many jewelry designs will look good when taken from several angles to show detail. To hold the jewelry in place while photographing, you can use a small amount of bee’s wax placed behind the jewelry. The wax can be wiped off easily with a cloth after the shot. If you get the wax on the gemstones, diamonds, or under settings, you will have to use jewelry cleaner to remove it.
Having a tripod will help ensure a stable and clear image. Without a tripod or stable camera mount, there is a greater chance that the image will be 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 camera’s 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.
Lighting can become a difficulty when photographing gold, silver, and other high polish metals because they have such high reflection properties. They can reflect over 90% of light, creating glare in your lens, and conversely, without proper lighting the jewelry will not photograph well.
Bear in mind that more light is not necessarily better in many cases. Using a flash will create more reflections and glare, resulting in parts of the jewelry are that are too dark and others that are too light. A way to avoid these lighting problems is to use a light box or light tent that will diffuse the light and balance the darker areas within the design. However, using only diffused light will inhibit the ability of diamonds and other gemstones to 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 each gemstone.
Depth of Field:
Advanced photographers will use manual settings to create quality images. When photographing jewelry, most of the pieces are very small and you want every part of the design to be sharp in focus, even at a very close range. To accomplish this, you should pay close attention to the depth of field as it will allow you to bring the entire design into focus at a close range. The setting on the camera to get a good depth of field requires a high 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 can modify the image with photo software to make it look its very best. By outlining, re-touching, color correcting, and working with shadows you can create a realistic dimension to give you that final touch for a professional look. 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 uncompressed TIF for catalogs or print and JPEG or GIF for websites.
Knowing the obstacles and solutions to taking good jewelry photos can help your designs look better and ultimately sell better. Once you take a short amount of time to learn the skill of jewelry photography, you will have a great advantage over your competitors.