Our complete 7 tip guide to photographing jewelry

 Gold pendant with Gold Chain (photo credit: Tsour Lee Adato)
Gold pendant with Gold Chain
(photo credit: Tsour Lee Adato)

Many eCommerce store owners find photographing jewelry a serious technical challenge. Often the objects are both intricate and small. If this is your first-time photographing jewelry, it is easy to think that this is something you are never going to master.

That is why we have put together this guide to jewelry photography. Just like anything else in the field of product photography, it is a skillset that you have to master. With a little bit of forward planning and ingenuity, mastering the art of photographing jewelry is not difficult.

1 Using Natural Light To Enhance Your Jewelry

Unlike other genres within product photography, using flash is not the best idea. As you have probably realized, jewelry looks best in natural light. Most stones, even the none precious ones, look better when you look at them in daylight. That is why most jewelry shops display their wares in shop windows with low-level lighting.

There are occasions when artificial light will enhance your product. But, unless you have a professional studio, it is better to use natural light. Set up your shot near a window but make sure the jewelry is not overpowered by sunlight.

Needless to say, you should avoid taking your photographs on a rainy and cloudy day.

What about photographing jewelry outside? Yes, it can look stunning, but you may find lighting conditions difficult to control. You can invest in light modifiers, but that could stretch your budget. However, if you are selling jewelry made from sea glass or shells, photographing your products is a great idea.

2 Backdrop Matters

Before you start, you should make sure that you have the right kind of backdrop. Take some time and try to figure out how other eCommerce jewelry sellers have photographed their items.

Bright and dark colors often reflect in jewelry. Instead of going for a colorful backdrop, you want to choose one that is as plain as possible. White is the perfect choice when it comes to photographing jewelry.

You don't need the backdrop to take up a lot of space. Of course, it all depends on the size of the item, but often a sheet of clean white paper will do.

3 Your Camera and Tripod

Although the camera matters when it comes to shooting jewelry, the lens is more important than anything else.

If you don't already have one, investing in a good quality macro lens is the smart thing to do. Many experienced product photographers recommend a 60mm lens.

One piece of essential equipment for your jewelry shot is a tripod. Out of focus jewelry does not look nice and is not going to help you to sell your range of jewelry. Camera shake is a problem that the most experienced photographers struggle with when they work. It only takes a small amount of shaking to lose the focus and make your products look fussy.

4 What About A Mannequin Bust?

Using props is a fantastic way of both enhancing and displaying your jewelry. Although you can try your hand at photographing necklaces flat lay style photography, you will find that using a mannequin bust will add value. A bust will make your products “pop.”

Black busts make a simple necklace stand out. When you use this simple trick, most women can see themselves wearing that particular necklace. As we have mentioned on one of our other pages, no matter what we are shopping for, we still buy with our eyes.

5 Using Cardboard

If you can't lay your hands on a mannequin, you can create your own display.

Find a piece of cardboard, cover the board in white paper, and pin your necklace to the back. This is a great way of displaying a necklace and demonstrating the length of a chain.

You can mock up a range of boards suitable for photographing different lengths and styles of necklaces.

6 How Do I Photograph Rings?

Even a professional jewelry photographer will find photographing rings slightly more challenging. To mount them in the right way to enhance their appearance requires patience.

When you want a nice ring to catch the light in the best way, you can try sticking to your backdrop using glue dots, blu-tack, or double-sided tape. That way, the ring will stand proud making it easier for you to photograph it from a variety of different angles.

7 What About Photographing Earrings?

When you want to photograph earrings, you need to spend more time setting up the shot. There are different ways in which you can approach photographing earrings.

One way is to leave the earrings in their box and photograph them in situ. Another way is to rig up a piece of string between two points, place your backdrop in the right position to hide the string, and then happily snap away.

The Final Verdict On Jewelry Photography

Yes, photographing jewelry is more intricate than photographing other products for sale. Don't forget that lifestyle factors play a role. You should always take them into account.

Take your time and make sure that you display your jewelry items in the best light.