Jewelry Photography Tips and Techniques

Jewelry Photography Tips
Jewelry Photography Techniques

If you sell jewelry, either in your boutique or in online shops,  Jewelry Photography is an important skill. However there are many challenges associated in photographing jewelry as the photographer has to produce an attractive and visually compelling picture of the product that will entice the shoppers to purchase.An ideal jewelry photo is crisp clear, well lit, has good exposure and a very little sparkle. As a starting point, here are some creative jewelry photography tips and techniques to get a beautifully artistic and professional looking outcomes for your jewelry pictures.

  • Cameras:Automatic Point and Shoot Digital Cameras have only a few manually adjustable options available to capture the most effective jewelry photographs.However these are excellent starting digital cameras for home jewelry business owners to experiment with.DSLR camera ar best for jewelry phtography as they provide the most flexibility and freedom of manually adjusting your camera setup. 

If you want to print your jewelry pictures for magazines,brochures or advertisement posters you will need a professional DSLR camera with high mega pixels resolution.If you use a low mega-pixel digital camera to take a picture for printing as poster size, the image will appear grainy and less sharp. However if you intend to use the jewelry shots only for online viewing for your website, a standard digital camera with 8-12 mega pixels would be just fine.

  • Lighting: At a time, digital cameras can capture only a part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that the human eye can see.Hence lighting is another important aspect of good jewelry photography as one must be careful in placing the light to avoid unwanted glare and reflections.Generally side lighting is used to give the object an impression of depth and three dimensions. Light rays are diffused and scattered using light tents to produce softer light.This reduces the contrast and shadows and brings out the details in the subject.
  • Macro Mode:Jewelry pieces are very small and intricately detailed. For a crisp clear and sharp images, jewelry needs to be photographed from near. In fact, jewelry photography is totally macro(enlarging) photography i.e. your camera acts as a microscope and has to see much more than it is visible to a naked eye.Using the macro mode(generally symbolized with a little tulip and flower) of the camera you can focus on a subject closer to your lens than normal. 

  • White Balance: Different sources of light have a different temperature to them.This can can create unsightly blue, orange, or even green color casts. For example fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to photos whereas tungsten (incandescent/bulbs) lights add a yellowish tinge to photos.Digital cameras often have great difficulty with white balance unlike our eyes which adjust automatically for it.Many digital cameras come with auto preset filters for Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy and Shade white balances; however for jewelry photography your camera should have a “custom” or “manual” white balance.

  • Zoom: For jewelry photography always use optical zoom.Optical zoom uses the optics of the lens to magnify the subject and does not degrade the quality of the image.Digital zoom uses interpolation to magnify the subject by adding new pixels to the image but it degrades the quality of your photo. You should look for a camera with at least 3X optical zoom.

  • Flash: While photographing jewelry, always turn off flash.

  • Aperture: The closer we get to the jewelry object, the narrower becomes the zone in which everything is sharp in the photo(Depth of Field). The smaller the aperture (the bigger f-number), the greater is DOF.You need to adjust aperture manually since when you select macro mode you also automatically choose a large aperture. Always use small aperture to keep the entire piece of jewelry in focus and blur the background.Set your aperture (F-stop) at F8.0 for most point-and-shoot cameras or F16 for DSLRs. 

  • ISO: ISO refers to the light sensitivity of the sensor. As you increase the ISO setting, the sensor becomes more sensitive, meaning that it can be used in lower-light conditions.If you don't adjust your ISO manually,in low light conditions, the camera will digitally compensate for darkness and add lighted pixels into the shot, which might make your pictures grainy. For photographing jewelry in ambient daylight, set the ISO to 80 or 100. 

Besides ISO, factors that determine the brightness of your photographs are shutter speed and aperture.Exposure is determined by the combination of shutter speed and aperture (F-number).

Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is the time the shutter is open.  The slower the shutter speed, the longer the time the image sensor is exposed to light, and the brighter the resulting photograph.

Aperture: Aperture (expressed as an F-number) controls the brightness of the image that passes through the lens and falls on the image sensor. The lower the f-number, the brighter the image projected on the image sensor, and the brighter the resulting photograph.

Exposure Value(EV):
Another way to adjust backlit,dark or underexposed images is to adjust the exposure compensation.Most digital cameras have fairly easy-to-access exposure compensation or exposure value (EV) controls in range of -2 to +2 with increments of .5. Digital cameras allow you to check the results immediately, so you can take a photograph, display it in the LCD monitor, and then raise exposure compensation for brighter results or lower exposure compensation for darker results and take another picture.  If you set the EV too high, the image will appear "washed out".