How to Capture the Essence of a Diamond in a Photograph
When photographing jewelry, the devil is in the details. Have you ever tried to photograph small crystals, faceted glass pebbles, or jewelry items like Swarovski? Every photographer who sets such goal faces a problem when polished facets reflect light, creating the most severe glare on the surface — one that even the near-omnipotent Photoshop cannot fix at times.
Shooting jewelry can be a difficult process if you do not follow some professional processes.
Use professional cameras with macro lenses, special lighting equipment, and backgrounds. The backdrop against which you will shoot the product should create a diffused light around the object, soften its shadows, and ensure its uniform illumination. A tripod should eliminate camera vibrations and provide continuous lighting; it will facilitate your ability to take the best photograph.
You will also need tweezers, sticky wax or tape, and gem wipes. Sticky wax or tape will help you to focus the lens on the scene. Use napkins for precious stones; they will provide invaluable assistance in cleaning gems and removing dust and fingerprints from them. Use tweezers to set jewelry to avoid new prints on the surface of the stone after cleaning it with a napkin. Since macro photography is used when shooting, ensure that no distracting details remain on the object.
Which Diamonds to Choose for Shooting
Choose impeccably cut stones or exquisite jewelry for shooting. A well-cut stone will not scatter light; prep work for it is a lot less time consuming, and it will be easier to capture it in its best form. However, it is always useful to shoot the jewel from different angles — invariably from the front and back.
How to Choose Your Background
Carefully choose the background on which you will shoot the merchandise. Ensure that the material you use — fabric, stone, tile, glass or wood — does not conflict with the object’s texture or colour. A tried-and-true rule: for a light object, choose a dark background; for a dark one, a light background. This will provide a strong contrast between the product and the background, which is always attractive to the eye. Furthermore, the white background evokes calmer feelings, while the black produces dramatic sensations.
Use props to contextualize the subject. The cameo on the cover of an old book, for example, conveys a sense of historical significance. Make sure that the prop colours help the jewelry to stand out to create a picture that is textured. You can also use props to show the ratio of the actual dimensions of the object.
What Photo Will Attract Attention of the Buyer
The jewelry photographer, following several key principles will significantly improve the quality of the result. The most important one is to accurately reproduce the object’s details; this is a key requirement because a potential buyer wants to know as much as possible about a product before purchasing it. When jewelry is on the subject table, you should show its details. A beautiful, high-quality image that demonstrates the features of each product is a prerequisite for an online store to enjoy a great reputation.
How to Photograph Jewelry for a Catalogue
A jewelry catalogue is an essential piece of marketing collateral for a jeweler. Photos in the catalogue should be of extremely high, luxurious quality and make the buyer want to grasp the jewelry in their hands. Here are seven mistakes to avoid when creating a jewelry catalogue:
- Careless Preparation. Not all errors can be corrected with Photoshop; therefore, you must be careful about the process of preparing the stone. If possible, remove, peel, and untie all tags, stickers, and laces from the photographed article. Check the integrity of the decoration. After checking and restoring, it's time to bring shine. Even the smallest particle of dust can catch the eye of the buyer as soon as you add sharpness to the image. Furthermore, in jewelry photography, the brighter the product shines, the more attractive it is to its future owner.
- Inconsistency. The lack of connections between things or processes is rarely useful, particularly in jewelry photography. If the style of the illustrations varies greatly from shot to shot, the inconsistency will be confusing and waste the energy of the potential buyer. As a result, the reputation of your online store will suffer greatly. Create your own standards. Make a list of principles to use as a guide throughout the shooting process of all products. For example, choose a background colour (not necessarily white, although we recommend using a white background). Showcase all jewelry against the background of the selected colour; this will become a part of your signature style.
- Colourful Background. That is an awful mistake. We propose creating a simple, uncluttered context for jewelry photography so that a potential buyer can study the product itself and not be distracted by its surroundings. A white background is best for this purpose. A light-gray or white background creates the effect of “timeless decoration” and does not distract a potential buyer’s attention — as it is possible with a patterned background.
- Cluttered Frame. Rather than hanging the decoration anywhere, photograph it spread out on a flat white surface. If you want the product to emit attractive beams that scream, “Look how beautiful I am!”, keep the frame simple and clean. A mannequin, for jewelry, is superfluous, but a high-quality photo of a beautiful ring on a beautiful hand is already an interesting photo. Remember that each piece of jewelry has its own essence (and often its own story), and a good photographer must feel it.
- Hard Lighting. Hard lighting is unsuitable for photographing jewelry. Direct light creates sharp contrasts, emphasizes the product’s imperfections, and produces deep, unsightly shadows and inevitable glare, as well as other features that can sometimes be adjusted at the processing stage — but sometimes not. Instead of working with hard light, you should consider photographing jewelry in diffused — soft — natural light from a window or artificial light of the same quality.
- Cropping and Resizing Images Without a Standard. Remember how we discussed inconsistency? It is essential to keep the cropping and image proportions the same for all shots in the series. If the aspect ratio and/or framing style changes from one photograph to another, the attractiveness of the proposal and the jewelry catalogue is reduced. Inconsistency makes the potential buyer’s attention work overtime, wasting the energy of the viewer and causing his/her conscious discomfort. Design a template to help you crop and resize precisely according to your chosen pattern. There are ready-made codes of requirements for the presentation of jewelry in online stores. Use them as a starting point.
- Showing the Product From Only One Angle. Customers want to see the product from all sides, as if they were turning it in their hands and trying on in a traditional store. The more angles you find when photographing jewelry, the more viewpoints you present to your target audience — the better.
We recommend that you show the top and front views of the product at close distances to convey individual parts. Remember to use a consistent style for all your jewelry photographs.
Our professional photo studio "Stylephotos" offers professional photographers and a special machine Alphashot, that will create an amazing jewelry catalogue for your store. Here are some jewelry photos we have taken that you may use as examples.