Jewelry photography is often a very difficult process. The jewels are highly reflective, the pieces are normally rather tiny, and even colored stones do not look as bright in photographs as it’s in real life. So, you’ve got your gems ready? Good. Now, here are some tips to help you out with your jewelry photography shoot. You’ll be glad you did!
First, make sure that you are setting up the lighting correctly. Jewelry photography often requires lighting that is at least four times stronger than what you would usually use for normal photography. Using a light tent instead of an artificial light source is one way to achieve this. A light tent has the benefit of providing proper exposure for the jewels without using any other light source, which eliminates the strong shadows that occur in most jewelry photography.
Set up the camera properly. The best way to go about this step is to familiarize yourself with your camera’s focusing options. Most digital cameras have an Auto focus option; turn this on and take some photographs with your new camera. Notice the focus option on the camera. If it is different from the one displayed on your LCD screen, move the focus knob until the screen is readable. Focus your camera on a nearby object and focus the lens directly on that object; this will ensure that your jewelry photography photos will be focused correctly.
Set up your lighting appropriately. Lighting is key to photographing fine jewelry. If you are working outdoors in bright sunlight, an external flash is highly recommended. For indoor and low-light settings, a point-and-shoot camera with a manual focus is the best camera to use. Once you have decided on your photography equipment, read the owner’s manual that comes with your jewelry kit. This will provide you with specific instructions for your equipment.
Get your white paper prepared. If you will be shooting your jewelry photos on location, prepare your paper by tracing a basic scene out on your white paper. If you will be using a camera for your photographs, place your white paper on a table that has a flat surface so that the paper doesn’t wobble while you push down on the camera’s shutter release button.
Set the camera up. Close your camera’s aperture to its smallest value. Adjust the focus setting and focus the camera again on your target. Repeat these steps until your camera has acquired the clarity and resolution that are desired for your jewelry photography session.
Use the auto-focusing option. Turn on the auto-focusing option. With your auto-focus feature on, depress the shutter button and let your camera pinpoint your subject. Then, click in the center of the picture and use the image editing function (if you are using one) to enhance the contrast and color of your image.
Use a light source. Lighting is very important when you are trying to photograph jewelry because too little light source may make your jewelry look dull. In addition, lighting that is too bright or harsh can also cause trouble with the colors of your photographs. Keep a light that is around the color of your subject. Your camera will detect this and will adjust the white balance settings accordingly.
Use the flash. You can take your jewelry photographs even if you do not have a flash. However, using a flash can make the fine detail of your jewelry film grain look more pronounced.
Set up a studio. You can take your jewelry photo shoot in your own home if you have a large back yard and enough space to position your light box and tripod in a way that allows for optimal light distribution. If you do not have space or you would like to get more precision, then you need to position your light box in a studio that has soft lighting and a proper background. Soft lighting enables you to take clear pictures of your jewelry without any distracting specks or shadows. In a studio, you can adjust the aperture and the lighting settings so that you get the best results.
Use a tripod. Not only does a tripod enable you to position yourself at a more convenient angle, but it will also give you more support when you are holding the camera up against something sturdy like a table or a wall. When you are jewelry shooting on a tripod, you can keep your hands free to stabilize yourself as your camera gets dizzy. It is also safer to use a tripod to take jewelry photographs outdoors, as wind, dust, and people can knock your camera off balance. Your camera can last longer if you take your jewelry photo shoot on a tripod.