Photographing jewelry gives you plenty of creative options, but it doesn’t come without challenges. In this video from B&H, you’ll see plenty of useful tips for getting the best from your photos of rings and other jewelry. No matter if you shoot engagement and wedding photos or photograph jewelry for e-commerce, these tips will help you tackle the challenges and come up with creative setups.
First things first: when handling jewelry, use cloth gloves, or a microfiber cloth. Wipe the piece of jewelry well and get rid of all the smudges and dust. This will save you a lot of time and a headache when you start editing your photos.
As for the gear, use a camera with a macro lens. If you want to capture a wider scene, use a wide lens with a close focusing distance. It helps to have a tripod as well to have the photos perfectly sharp. You’ll also need a piece of diffusion to cover the ring. Nothing fancy, a regular piece of paper will do the trick. this will help when you shoot with artificial lights so that the light bounces around the piece of jewelry evenly.
When you set up the scene, the first and the most important factor to consider is light. You can use either soft or hard light. Experiment with it and make sure to see how your subject reacts. If you shoot jewelry with gems, make sure to light it properly and have its beauty show to the fullest. Add a small piece of diffusion to the side opposite from the main light to have the ring and the gem evenly lit.
If you don’t have the access to natural light, you can use continuous lights or strobes. just make sure to diffuse them with a softbox. As I mentioned above, you can add diffusion all over the ring so that the light bounces off evenly. You can also add a gel to one of your lights and add a splash of color to the image.
Next, you should think of the surface and background. There are plenty of options here: you can use textured or highly reflective surface, or anything in between. As for the background, it can be plan, or you can introduce small lights to add some bokeh. Try using other objects to interact with the jewelry: flowers, stones, lace, musical instruments… Or what could be the most logical: photograph the jewelry on a person wearing it.
And a quick tip: if you’re photographing a ring and need to adjust it into a standing position, use some dental wax or fun tack. If you can see the adhesive, you can remove it in Photoshop.
I use to make jewelry and I loved photographing it. There are so many options and you can get really creative, but I also encountered some challenges. Positioning the items was sometimes the most difficult, especially if I wanted to show the scale. Considering that I didn’t have a flash back then, lighting was also a challenge if I needed to shoot after there was no longer daylight. With the experience and gear that I have now, I think I’ll try again. Although, I will do it with someone else’s jewelry as I no longer have time to make mine. :)
What are the challenges you face when shooting rings and other jewelry? Do you have any tips to share?