You may own a jewellery business, have your own jewellery to sell or perhaps you’re a product photographer who wishes to provide the service. No matter your reason, taking the perfect shot can be difficult to achieve and incredibly frustrating. However, if you follow a few simple rules on what to do and what not to do, you will improve your photography and the quality of your images.
Think about your lens
It is highly likely that you have plenty of kit to go with your camera and in an ideal world, one of those pieces should be a macro lens. The standard kit lens will be perfectly acceptable for everyday use but investing in a macro lens will make a massive difference to your photos. You will find lenses ranging from the entry-level, budget-conscious variety, to the high end, higher performance models. Starting with the entry-level models will still give you very good product images.
Selecting an aperture for jewellery
In many other forms of photography, using a larger aperture is preferred as it helps create the ‘bokeh’ effect, improving the quality of the out of focus parts of an image. However, in jewellery photography, we want to make sure every single piece of detail is in focus and being shown off. As a result, it is advisable to go for a small aperture of f11 or f16. They provide less bokeh but truly bring the piece of jewellery into focus.
Use a tripod
A more obvious piece of advice but one which has added importance is keeping the camera still and minimise movement. Jewellery photography relies on incredible images to show off beautiful items and even a minor movement when taking a photograph, can cause blurs to appear. Using a tripod will resolve this problem and once more, there is a range to choose from. If the budget allows, there are tripods that have spirit levels in the legs and ball heads that allow for a greater fluidity of movement and range of angles, which you can then lock to ensure stability and focus.
Plan your lighting
A product photographer will have a range of lighting set-ups and for jewellery, it is no different. Fortunately, these can be bought in kits from any major photography stores, providing everything you need to get a high-quality image. As you practice and develop as a photographer, you may consider adding new equipment until you get the perfect shot. The most important accessories to have at hand include umbrellas, stands, flash triggers and diffusers.
What not to do
Ultimately, when thinking about what not to do, the best advice is to avoid inconsistency and make sure you prepare properly. It will be easily noticed if you have an inconsistent background on your product photographs, colours failing to look realistic and reflections showing on the final image.
Prepare and plan ahead, collect the right equipment for the task and you will see the reward in the end. Furthermore, it will require less effort in the editing stage and you don’t want to upload an image unless it is the best possible version of your product.