As you may know, jewelry is one of the hardest products to photograph because of the nature of it’s components. The metals, precious stones, diamonds and other elements that most fine jewelry is made up of, have reflective qualities that can easily show reflections, shadows and hard spots in photographs if the right tools are not used
Therefore, understanding the nature of jewelry and obtaining the right tools for photographing it is essential for producing high quality jewelry photographs. In our opinion, here are the six most important elements in jewelry photography:
Continuous natural daylight lighting: To evenly reproduce the colors in jewelry
Diffused lighting: To eliminate shadows and hard spots
White Balance adjustment: To adapt your camera to the lighting environment used to photograph
Depth of Field & Focus: To get a sharp and clear image
Shutter Speed/Exposure time: To control the lightness and darkness of your image
Stable camera mounting (tripod): To ensure your camera is stable to avoid a blurred photo.
1. Continuous Natural Daylight Lighting
Jewelry is very difficult to photograph because it’s shiny highly polished surface reflects, in many cases, up to 99% of the light it receives. If you use flash photography, you’ll usually end up with glares and hot spots. The key is to use continuous natural light which has the ability to evenly and accurately reproduce all the spectacular colors found in the different elements of jewelry. Therefore, for photographing jewelry we will be using fluorescent daylight light.
Remember: all of our photography lighting systems contain continuous fluorescent lighting in at least the bottom/platform, right and left panels of the box. Other lighting systems, like the MK “The Box”™ also contain light on the back, top and doors. Other features include LED lighting, rotating platforms, halogen lighting and more.
2. Diffused Lighting
When illuminating jewelry, you have to make sure never to expose it to light directly, as direct light will be reflected on the jewelry, and will create hot spots and shadows. What you need to do is expose jewelry through diffused lighting, which is light that has passed through some sort of light diffuser.
The diffuser evenly spreads the light, and eliminate all hot-spots, shadows and reflections. Remember, that all of our photography lighting systems already include natural daylight that is exposed through the boxes’ thermoplastic housing that acts as light diffusers. View examples of photos with and without diffused light
3. White Balance
A key element of successful product photography is white balance. You need to be able to program the white balance setting on your camera. Although many cameras will come with pre-program options or presets you need at least one custom white balance option. This means that the camera can “read” and self-adjust itself to be able to take pictures under many light conditions. This feature is very important.
If your camera cannot perform this custom adjustment, it’s very likely that you’ll end up with badly colored product pictures, especially if you are trying to take pictures of products against a white background. You’ll likely end up with all kinds of color variations: yellow, blue, magenta, green etc.
Do not misunderstand the white balance feature to mean that the background is going to be always white. White balance means that the camera needs to adjust itself to the ambience light you are using, to give you accurate and true colors of the items being photograph.