Monday 18 April 2011

Jewelry photography- tips and tricks

Jewelry photography is not a science, you can make great photos if you follow some basic guidelines.

Quality of the photos is really important if you are presenting your work on the internet. While the good photo might interest the customer to check what you have to offer, because of the bad one, he won't pay attention, and your goal is to get the attention and the interest of a possible buyer.

Here are few examples of bad and low quality photos:

First wrong thing about this photo is the poor choice of a background that completely swallows the necklace. Another is the white balance which makes everything look yellowish. To avoid this, adjust the white balance settings on your camera.

In this photo you can see another example of inadequate background. While it would look great with some other pieces, it just doesn't fit with this necklace. If you want to put a personal touch to your photos to have something more special than just a piece of jewelry on a white background, you can add some nice details that will complement the photo, but won't distract from the jewelry. You can use flower petals, potpourri, etc.

Here you can once again see the bad white balance, the item is blurry and overexposed.

Here you can see why it's not a good idea to photograph jewelry on a direct sunlight. Wire shines too much and you'll find it difficult to avoid these dark shadows.

Here we have another example of the bad white balance, photo is to dark, colors are unreal and altogether it gives a bad impression.

These are just some of the most common examples I find browsing galleries.
Here are few tips and tricks on how to avoid this:

1) Background matters. Ideal backgrounds for photographing jewelry are smooth white or light grey. For some pieces you can use black as well. Recently I invested in white and black reflector boards for photographing jewelry and here is the result:

You can find them on Ebay. Price range is 10 - 20$, depending on the dimensions.

As a background you can use glass surface as well, you get the impression that jewelry is floating and there are no shadows (you'll have to hold the white paper app 30 cm bellow the glass ).

2) Good lighting is essential. If you are shooting in a poorly lit, enclosed room where the only available light is a lamp, it is very likely that the result will be: the bad white balance, blurry photos and too dark or overexposed photos as a result of using the flash. Avoid the flash whenever possible, unless you have an external flash.

Here is the example of the photo ruined (among else) by using the flash.

If you are working long hours and can't catch the daylight for shooting outdoors, make an investment in a light box. You can buy it on Ebay for app 18$.

So, the ideal shooting conditions are: daylight, outdoors in a shadow to avoid direct sunlight, or indoors with lots of windows.

3) Regarding the camera settings, each one of them has the macro option, just find the flower in the settings and turn it on.
Most of the cameras have the option to adjust the white balance as well.
And remember, turn of the flash!

4) You can use various props for photographing jewelry, eg. glasses for shooting earrings, neck displays, bottles or plants for necklaces and pendants with chain, etc.

5) It is good to photograph jewelry on a model or in a hand so the potential buyer would get the better impression of item's dimensions. Description alone sometimes just isn't enough.

I hope some of this tricks will be helpful. If I missed to mention something you consider useful, feel free to comment and I'll add your advice to the list.

30 Feedback:

Nela said...

I'd just add one note - you don't even have to buy a lightbox - I made a cheap one myself using cardboard and paper (google "inexpensive light tent"), and used it with a regular lamp :)

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