Whenever you think of jewellery photography, you always know that you will have to capture the details of the fine curves, minute stones. The entire piece should look as real as possible. So, when it comes to shooting macro jewellery photography, it is obvious that macro lenses are best. Jewellery photography is far beyond photography alone.
Hence, it requires a lot of skills and patience. So, a jewellery photograph should have all the glory in it.
The process of macro jewellery photography is notoriously tough. The diamonds are highly reflective, the pieces are typically small, and colored stones in photographs do not show as bright as in person. When the components of emeralds react with the chromium in the film, they can appear to be tourmaline in images.
A similar deception of appearance can occur with tanzanite, which can appear amethyst if not appropriately photographed. You might photograph jewellery for a variety of purposes.
It could be to sell jewelry online or share it on social media. Perhaps you would want to do photography for a blog. For all of these reasons and more, you should practice jewellery photography. The artistic side of jewellery photography should be incorporated into your working environment.
However, jewellery photography entails much more than just taking a picture.
Table of Contents
We have seen how these and various other concerns have caused frustration among jewelers. This article is for you and the rest of the jewellery photographers and jewelers who are looking for practical and straightforward macro jewellery photography advice so they can focus on other crucial elements of their business.
Lighting Setup for macro jewellery photography
Jewellery Photography does not require huge space. So, the lighting arrangements for jewellery photography do not spread over a much broader surface. The suitable backdrops for jewellery photography could be lighting tents, tables, tabletop cyclorama, tents, and the seamless background paper.
Lighting for macro jewellery photography is considered the most hectic part as jewellery pieces are highly reflective.
Continuous lights are included in many all-in-one tabletop systems to offer neutral, even lighting for e-commerce images. While this may be sufficient for some applications, you’ll probably want to add more lights that can be adjusted more readily and give accent lighting.
Depending on the reflectivity of your item, the positioning of light sources will differ. By placing lights perpendicular to your camera, you can reduce glare. When it comes to managing reflections and avoiding mistakenly including yourself in a shot, bounce cards can be lifesavers. Do not be hesitant to play around with camera and light locations until you find one that suits your filming item.
You can use one of four distinct lighting arrangement ideas on your next jewelry picture shoot. Natural illumination is the most straightforward and most accessible option. You can either set up your table near a window with plenty of light or make an outside arrangement. It is an excellent strategy to ensure an even spread of light in either case.
The process of lighting your jewellery from behind is known as backlighting.
This is an excellent configuration for glass-like jewellery since it gives the macro photographing jewellery a defined shape and makes it look crystal clear. On the other hand, side lighting gives your products a three-dimensional appearance. This method is ideal for preventing dull jewellery photos.
A DIY lightbox is probably the most cost-effective option; however, making one is time-consuming, and not everyone, especially business owners, has that luxury. As a result, we propose purchasing a lightbox that has already been made to save time. It’s also helpful if you plan on macro photographing jewellery frequently.
Backgrounds For Macro Jewellery Photography
Usually, for any jewellery photography, clear backgrounds are preferred. If you are using anything else apart from black or white, the possibility of the reflections and color casts increases, which can distort your jewellery photograph.
White Backgrounds and Silk backgrounds
White backdrop photography is a common product macro photographing jewellery technique in e-commerce and other online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon, which advise their online shops to use it. The reason for this is that a white background not only makes your jewellery photographs look professional, sophisticated, neat, and clean, but it also aids in client credibility and trust.
Background plays an essential role in Controlling Reflections in Jewellery photography.
Jewellery photographers commonly employ backlighting to eliminate harsh shadows and reflections. It is a method of illuminating glass-like jewellery from behind. Place a light diffuser between your light source and your product, such as a thin white fabric or foam core boards. Do not forget to put foam core boards under the merchandise and on all sides.
The foam core boards will operate as a light reflector, distributing light evenly throughout the product while also controlling and avoiding harsh reflections. Silk or satin provides an excellent background for any jewellery photograph, giving elegance and charm. Purchasing a range of silk scarves rather than off-cuts is highly recommended. Silk scarves have a hemmed edge that won’t fray. This is the type of shot that can be attained with practice.
Taking Care Of The Reflections
Be it macro or normal jewellery photography, any jewellery photography can feel frustrating because it will cause reflection. No matter how hard you try, some of the other parts of the jewellery will surely reflect. But the actual skill of the jewellery photographer lies in handling such reflections and avoiding them as far as possible.
Tents can be very useful in controlling environmental reflections.
Camera and Macro-lens
Set the camera to aperture mode and make the necessary adjustments to the aperture. Start by setting the aperture mode to F14 and the ISO to 100, or whatever the lowest level you can get away with. F-stops are used to represent the aperture. High f-stops, such as f22, have smaller apertures than low f-stops, such as f8.
The former will capture your subject in sharper focus, but the latter will only focus on specific areas, leaving the rest fuzzy. Adjust this parameter according to your subject and desired outcome. Keep in mind that the shutter speed is automatically selected when shooting in aperture mode.
Please take note of the shutter speed setting and test it by snapping a photo once you’ve finished modifying these settings. Switch to manual mode if the jewellery image is darker and the colors are off; otherwise, you’re done with camera setups.
ISO + Shutter Speed: You generally want to reduce noise as much as possible. Using a tripod, you can reduce noise by using a lower ISO and shutter speed. Aperture: Now, things start to become a little more complex. You’ll want a deeper depth of field for macro photographing jewellery.
This brings out the finer points. It is recommended f/8. You can utilize a shallow depth of field if you’re doing more detailed shots. This will draw attention to the detail you want to emphasize as the rest of the image fades away into a creamy bokeh.
Holding or Fixing Wax
To keep tiny pieces of jewellery in place, most macro jewellery photographers use a special wax. Blue-tack should not be used. There are a lot of photos on the internet with terrible lighting. Alternatively, a massive blob of Blue-tack can be used to hold rings in place. Only a small amount of fixing wax is required. The fastening wax can be ‘hidden’ beneath an engagement ring band. Alternatively, see if you can remove this from the shot afterward.
Use a minimal amount. To compare the outcomes, you must experiment with several types of prop wax, which holds small items in place for photographing jewellery Wear good-fitting microfiber gloves when handling jewellery for photography. These will retain the luster of your jewelry while you handle it before the photo.
Macro jewelry photographs will see fingerprints, oil, dust, and scratches. Handle the fixing wax first, then your jewellery piece. Apply a small amount of the fixing wax to the area. Put on your gloves. Wipe the ring clean and place it over the wax.
If you want more possibilities, photographing jewellery supply companies often carry staging items that may be used for photography and business presentations. Clean, spotless settings and crisp reflections can be achieved with acrylic boards and risers. Driftwood, pebbles, and even plants can be used to create more natural environments on the other end of the spectrum. The key to success is moderation. Make sure that any props you use don’t compete for the audience’s attention with the jewellery.
To create the illusion of floating items, use a fishing line or thin string; remember to remove the string during the editing step. Product turntables can be used to create films that capture a 360-degree view of an object. Some turntables can also make precise, repetitive motions for still photography, allowing you to photograph various items from the same perspective.
Detail Shots and Clean
We sometimes lose sight of the details because we focus on the larger picture. Do not forget to take those close-ups. The intricate nature of jewellery is admired by many. Also, do not count on your client to remind you of this! Take pictures of all sides of each component. A novice photography mistake is not cleaning the jewellery before photographing it. Smudge removal in post-production can be time-consuming and stressful. Jewellery is little, and there are many delicate intricacies to work with. Just keep an eye on how the components seem under your illumination.
Carry a cleaning cloth with you at all times. To avoid fingerprints, wear gloves when handling jewellery. Images of products that are soft or fluffy will not sell well. Pay attention to the contrast in your photographs before photographing jewellery and your camera’s focus. Nobody wants to buy a ring with a hazy diamond. The quality of your client’s product may be questioned if your photographs aren’t correctly focused.
Only Macro lens?
As you may already know, macro lenses are best suited for jewellery photography. The benefit of a macro lens is that it lets you take the camera close to the piece of jewellery. It is quite easy for the photographers to capture the details from a close distance.
Every coin has two sides- head and tail. Similarly, using a macro lens for jewellery photography brings a few cons. The limitation of the macro lens is its narrow depth of field. For example, if you try to capture a wedding ring and focus on the front projection, the other ring parts may appear blurred. This is quite common for macro jewellery photography. If such a situation arrives, it simply requires the camera to be moved a little away.
Therefore, while doing any jewellery photography, be it macro jewellery photography or large jewellery photography, the fact remains the same: you cannot solely depend upon the macro lenses.
Thus, always keep a general-purpose lens and a compatible macro lens for close-up jewellery photography.
Photographing jewellery is more complex than photographing other types of products. Macro Jewellery photography will always be difficult, but that does not mean it can’t be accomplished. Overall, you must understand why you are shooting your jewellery and have a strategy to achieve the desired results.
It is not easy to photograph bright objects (macro jewels with stones) without getting undesired reflections. You will also have to play around with the lights to get them to shine. It is unlikely that a matte diamond necklace will sell on its own.