Photographing jewelry, when done correctly, has the power to make hearts project from your viewers’ eyeballs like Pepé Le Pew. The small, detailed, shiny, and intricate design characteristics of jewelry pose some challenges when you place these little treasures in front of a lens. 

Lighting plays an integral role in the photography process, as it can cause unwanted hot spots, flare, and reflection if the shot isn’t captured using the right angles and setup. 

The good news? There’s a classic approach to snapping pictures of jewelry that’ll prevent undesirable results and instead, deliver brilliant photographs. 

Here are five jewelry shooting tips to ensure you nail the perfect shot. 

#1. Keep Your Background Simple

A cluttered or noisy background will only serve as a distraction – taking the focus away from the jewelry. 

New York Jewelry Design Institute (NYJDI) The New York Jewelry Design Institute pioneers modern programming and methods in jewelry design education.

Oftentimes, inexperienced photographers tend to overuse props in their images and it takes away from the focal point of the shot – the jewelry. 

Most of the time, maintaining a simple, neutral, uniform background is the most effective way of ensuring the piece of jewelry truly stands out. 

Pro Tip: Mother Nature serves as an alluring and popular source for backgrounds – consider using tree leaves, sand, or slate stone to set the framework for the backdrop. 

#2. Use a Macro Lens on Your Camera

This type of lens allows the photographer to capture the subject clearly from a very close distance. 

As you know, many pieces of jewelry are incredibly small in size. Because of this, leveraging a macro lens is vital for shooting close-ups that are focused, crisp, and clear – ensuring the object fills the entire frame. The majority of macro lenses on the market have the ability to focus on the object from mere inches away. 

#3. Use a Tripod

By doing so, you’ll create an optimal composition and avoid shooting with a shaky camera. 

Whenever you’re shooting jewelry up close, the composition and sharpness are crucial for capturing all the minute details of the piece. 

With a tripod, you’ll be able to keep the chosen composition locked in place. Additionally, you’ll reap the benefits of longer shutter speeds and smaller aperture – allowing you to create greater depth of field and perfect exposure conditions.

#4. Employ the Use of Mirrors

Mirrors can reflect light in a manner that produces an enticing sparkle effect on the stone.

Generally speaking, soft diffused light is the best choice for shooting jewelry. Sometimes, however, a particular piece of jewelry calls for an added spark to the gemstone (such as a diamond) to ensure it doesn’t appear dull. Reflecting hard light from a small mirror can generate a beautiful sparkling effect.

#5. Use Retouching Software 

Programs like Photoshop or Lightroom can help enhance and retouch the final photograph.

New York Jewelry Design Institute (NYJDI) The New York Jewelry Design Institute pioneers modern programming and methods in jewelry design education.

Because you are capturing objects from a very close proximity, even the tiniest scratch or fleck of dust will be visible in the final image. These types of imperfections must be retouched in order to create a photograph that is pristine and unblemished. 

You may also elect to adjust the color and contrast of certain parts of your image to really make it pop. Oftentimes, jewelry needs to be suspended from nylon wires or supported by pins, which both would need to be removed when touching up the final image.

Want to learn more about jewelry photography?

Whether you want to photograph your own jewelry design for a web portfolio or you want to learn how to photograph jewelry professionally for a client, we have a 2-day workshop for you!

In our Photography for Jewelry Designers course, you will be guided step-by-step through basic DSLR manual camera settings to control the exposure and white balance in order to understand your camera’s creative power. You will learn how to shoot like a Pro directly (tethered) into your computer.

Lighting for jewelry can be very challenging but it doesn’t need to be intimidating, you will learn different lighting techniques with flash & continuous light, understanding the quality and direction of light. Using different background materials, you’ll learn how to make creative decisions to make your particular jewelry stand out. By the end of this workshop you will be able to execute your future jewelry shoots on your own.