9 easy ways to create beautiful jewelry photography

by | Mar 17, 2021

jewelry is eye-catching. attractive. elegant. a statement. it sells itself — right? there are actually quite a few common obstacles when photographing jewelry for your online store or social media. and whether you notice them or not: your customers will. we’ve got the hot scoop on how to make sure your jewelry product photos stand out and SHINE.

how to prep a flawless jewelry shoot

clean your jewelry

camera lenses can pick up even the tiniest details the naked eye misses – like fingerprint marks. save yourself time and frustration by cleaning your jewelry before your shoot & handling your jewelry wearing gloves until your shoot is over. this will help you avoid getting to the editing (or even posting) stage and realizing you either need to spend hours fixing your photos or re-do the shoot entirely! a microfiber cloth (like the one that comes with glasses) works wonders for removing smudges. 

choose the right space

adjusting and editing lighting during post-production can be super time-consuming.  if there is a window or room in your house that gets great natural light at a certain time of day: prep that space for your photo shoot. having your table or backdrop set up beforehand means you get to optimize your shoot time with the best lighting. you want natural light that isn’t too harsh — especially if your jewelry pieces are reflective.

backdrop color

so many ecomm jewelry product photos play it safe with product-only shots on white or black backgrounds. if you want your jewelry to be the one and only prop: that’s okay! in fact: some ecomm spaces require plain white backgrounds. but you can also have a lot of fun with background colors to make your product pop. utilizing colorful or textured backdrops can communicate more to your customer about your brand. if you have muted and minimalist products: choosing a color that reflects that vibe is important to ensure branding consistency and cohesiveness with your product. if you have bold and edgy jewelry: don’t be afraid to incorporate more saturated colors! it is a good idea to have a white backdrop photo available if you plan to sell on multiple platforms. and ALWAYS choose a backdrop that can accurately show off the colors of your product itself. 

pick the right camera

product photography can be achieved with an iPhone camera: you can make it work if that’s all you have to start with. just switch to portrait mode for detailed shots. however: the better the camera the more nuanced the images will turn out. soona photographers use Canon Mark IV. you can also do some awesome quick fixes – if needed – in online photo editing programs like Pixlr and Canva.

create a shotlist

even the best ideas can get lost without a shotlist. making a plan before you begin shooting will help you get all of your props. backdrops. and products organized beforehand to save you time during your shoot. if you are hiring a studio to photograph your products: this shotlist is extremely helpful to make sure they are able to fulfill your content dreams.

check out this article for more ecomm best practices.

common mistakes to avoid

unsavory lighting

regardless of what kind of finish your jewelry has: harsh or low lighting can do a disservice to your products. a soft. indirect. natural light is typically the most flattering that you can achieve with a DIY shoot. product photography studios (like soona) typically have lighting equipment to achieve any lighting vibe you want. 

reflections

regardless of lighting. the surfaces of your jewelry may show reflections. flashy reflections in your photos may make it more difficult to see the detail. when it comes to ecomm customers visible details = trust in your product. 

trust in your product means a more streamlined path to checkout. if you look at your photos after the shoot and notice a few reflections of your own hand or camera lens. you can edit this out in a post-production program or you can play with angles during the shoot to ensure you don’t get these reflections.

lack of angles

jewelry is a 360-degree experience. your customers need to be able to visualize every aspect of how your jewelry will fit into their lives. this means multiple angles. think back to your shotlist discussed above: have you listed all of the angles you’ll need of each piece: the clasp, the backside, and straight-on. for necklaces: you can play with draping it across your chosen props. pro tip: try using sand or putty to keep rings upright while photographing them. 

check out this article for more tips on setting up flat lays.

unnecessary props

you want to make sure your product is the main character. it’s always great to be playful and create unique scenes with props – as long as they are thoughtfully used within the shot. there are no “bad” props as long as it’s telling your brand or product story and supporting your product instead of overpowering it. because jewelry pieces are typically smaller items: you’ll want to be careful not to use props that cast unwanted shadows or confusing reflections on your jewelry. in short: less is usually more when it comes to props.

props we love to use with jewelry photography:

  • statin
  • acrylic blocks
  • mirrors

9 easy tips to photograph jewelry

choose the right camera lens

for most jewelry shots: you’ll want a macro lens for optimal detail and sharp focus. some digital cameras have a macro setting. it’s also important to invest in (or rent) a sturdy tripod for stable high-quality images all the way through your shoot. 

consistency is key

it’s important to your customer all of your product photos are the same quality. it can be confusing to click around your ecomm store and see different lighting. different sizes. different backgrounds. for every product. consistency of quality is paramount for your brand identity. you can make sure you’re sending a cohesive brand message to your future customers by creating a moodboard. refer back to it for color palettes and design aspects. it’s a good idea to refresh this moodboard as you develop new products & your branding evolves.

use of natural light

artificial light can be expensive. natural light is free but fleeting! the best way to optimize natural light is to plan your shoot in the right time of day and near the right window. planning ahead will save you so much time trying to chase that precious sunlight. if your best window has too much direct sunlight: you might be contending with hard shadows. to remedy this: put a white poster board on the opposite end of your lighted window to reflect light onto the other side of your product. this will even out your shadows and highlight more of your jewelry.

backdrop color

although it may be necessary to have white backdrops for certain ecomm platforms: we think there are infinite fun ways to create backdrops for alternate photos. if you’re on a budget: pick up scrap fabric from a thrift store. go to a hardware store for some scrap marble surfaces. if you have a little more room in your budget: you can purchase a seamless backdrop that is on-brand with your color story. 

Camera settings

f-stop

the f-stop refers to depth of field. the shorter the f-stop (the smaller the number) – the object closest to your lens will be in focus. your background will be blurry (AKA bokeh). the larger the f-stop: the wider the depth of field. this can be distracting if you’re trying to highlight your jewelry product. 

shutter speed

this refers to how quickly your shutter opens and closes. how much light you’re letting in. if you’re photographing your jewelry in good natural lighting: you’ll want a short shutter speed to ensure your photos aren’t blurry.

ISO

many cameras have auto settings for color balance (AKA ISO). if your ISO is too low or too high: you may have a really dark image or an overexposed image. as a good rule of thumb: ISO 100 for indoor natural light.

product preparation

you cleaned your jewelry in the prepping phase. but make sure to keep your microfiber cloth on-hand during the entire shoot. you want to pay close attention to detail to make sure you’re not leaving smudges on your jewelry as you move it around the shoot. if you’re sending your products to a production company: be extra vigilant that your chosen products are your most flawless pieces (no scratches. blemishes. or misshapen items). it will be photographed as-is: so you want pieces that you’d be proud to show to your customers.

check out this article for more preparation tips.

models

your customers want to visualize how your product will look on their own bodies. hand models are the perfect way to show them how your jewelry will fit into their lives. utilize diverse models (skin-tone. size. lifestyle.) to ensure each customer feels like they have a place in your brand story. here are some pro-tips that are sure to elevate the quality of your shoot:

keep some lotion nearby. hydrated hands translate so well on camera. this is a game-changer. manicured is a must: make sure their nails are evenly trimmed or manicured to match your brand aesthetic. chipped nail polish can be a big distraction. 

play with angles and variety: try to create a sense of dynamic movement in your hand photos.
clean & styled hair: if you’re shooting necklaces or earrings – it’s important to make sure your model’s hair looks groomed and well-kept no matter the style.

add GIFs

jewelry really speaks for itself when you allow your customers to see it in-action. imagine a subtle hand motion to show a little glimmer in a gemstone or a bracelet slipping over the wrist. you can also utilize your props in GIF-mode. drop some rose petals into your scene. a little shift of your fabric. let your model explore poses. or if you have artificial light: place it in different spots throughout your GIF for the illusion of a moody shadow. 

note: to get the sharpest action shots for GIFs. you’ll want to make sure your shutter speed is short.

now it’s time to get started with jewelry photography!

you know the basics of jewelry photography. now is the time to make decisions for shoot day. are you prepared for a DIY? do you need to rent equipment? or should you check out a product photography company – like soona! – to showcase your product for you? 

know your budget

renting or purchasing equipment can get very costly. as mentioned: an iPhone camera and thrift store props will work in a pinch. but high-quality photos and models can really set your product apart and convert shoppers to customers. every addition you add to your DIY shoot is going to cost you so make sure you carefully plan out each shot so you know exactly what you need.

plan your time

if you’re a beginner: allow plenty of time for trial and error. schedule at least an hour or two to play around with the shoot and make sure you have time for the shots you want. additionally: natural lighting can make your time-crunch frustrating if you don’t plan ahead.

consider platform placement

if your photos are going on your website (ecomm photos) you may want few distractions. on social media: your followers want to see your product in a lifestyle environment. Instagram (for example) has introduced a shopping feature to direct traffic to your business. you don’t want to miss out on converting those followers to customers! this is where you can show off eye-catching props. dynamic GIFs. and backgrounds that pop. if you are using Shopify or Amazon: you may be required to use certain aspect ratios or solid white backgrounds. 

we’ve shown you our best tips and tricks here: and we’d love to collaborate with you in a virtual shoot. you can create your own shotlist for us or use one of our soona sets. soona photos start at $39 and GIFs start at $93 (including editing). the best part? you get your edited assets 24 hours after checkout. whether you collab with us to create your content dreams or you DIY: you’re ready to conquer the ecomm jewelry market with these tips.

 

soona