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How To Photograph Jewelry: Jewelry Photography Tips

How To Photograph Jewelry Jewelry Photography Tips

The prosperity of your jewellery business is strongly dependent on the calibre of your product photographs. Without sharp, detailed photos that showcase your items ideally, it could be difficult to draw in potential clients and increase sales.

Jewelry photography can be a real challenge. You need to manipulate lighting to avoid reflections and smudges in the final image output. And the size of jewelry—which can range from watches to necklaces and may include intricate details like precious stones or etching—can make it difficult to shoot.

You need to set your shutter speed and aperture to control how much light comes in and how quickly. This will determine your overall exposure, so it’s essential to get it right. You also need to find the optimal angles that best showcase your jewelry—sometimes, even a slight shift can make all the difference between an average shot and a stunning one.

Fortunately, you can follow plenty of tips to get the desired results. This guide will cover everything you need about jewelry photography, from the equipment and setup to the actual photo-shoot process.

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Jewelry Photography Equipment

The photography equipment you decide to invest in depends entirely on your budget. You can purchase a few lower-priced items listed below or go all out with pricier equipment, such as lighting fixtures.

To properly showcase and promote your jewelry, here are some of the essential photography equipment you’ll need:


Don’t feel pressured to invest in a high-end camera for your jewelry shoots. You can get great results from your own smartphone. Most of the latest smartphones have high-end cameras with manual mode and adjustable shutter speed, which you can use to control your shots better.

Whether you go with an iPhone or Android, or if you already have a DSLR and a nice lens at home, rest assured that each will provide amazing photos.


A tripod can help stabilize your camera during a jewelry shoot. It’s especially important when dealing with smaller pieces, as it keeps the camera from shaking due to movement or vibration. A tripod also helps you maintain a consistent frame, as you can adjust the angle and position of your camera when necessary.

Lighting or Source of Light

If possible, try to use natural window light whenever you’re shooting jewelry. Natural light gives photos an airy quality suitable for small items like rings or necklaces. You may need to use new lighting equipment to shoot larger pieces, like watches or earrings.

Try investing in a simple lightbox with adjustable LED lights and shades. This will help diffuse the light and reduce reflections on your jewelry pieces. When shooting indoors, make sure you have plenty of room so that light can bounce off the walls and create a diffused, flattering effect.

Table Top

Setting up your jewelry photography shoot on a tabletop is a good idea. This will make it easier for you to move your camera and lighting around when necessary. Look for a table with a width between 24 and 27 inches.

White Background

Photographers of all skill levels can achieve professional-looking shots with a white background. Investing in a white paper sweep is an economical and efficient choice for those who plan on taking multiple photos.

Paper sweeps are big rolls of paper you can use to create a seamless white background without the table look and feel. When the sweep gets soiled, simply snip off the dirty part and roll out a fresh section for use. You can also easily find a poster board at your local bookstore for a budget-friendly option.

Create White Background For Products (Simple Steps)

White backgrounds are key if you want consistently clean backgrounds for your product images. Take a look at this simple guide.

Foam Boards

Trying to capture the perfect product photo can be extremely daunting, as shadows tend to create a dull image. Using white foam board that bounces light back into the shadow area and significantly brightens your photograph.

Clamps or Tape

To ensure that your foam boards and sweeps remain steady during shooting, you will need tape or clamps to secure them onto the table.

Two Platinum Wedding Rings retouched jewelry

15 Beginners’ Tips for Photographing Jewelry

Now that you have the equipment, let’s jump into the photography tips. Here are some tricks to help you take stunning jewelry photos.

1. Use a macro lens

A macro lens can provide you with a much better close-up view of your jewelry pieces. Macro lenses also allow more light to come in, which is essential when shooting small items. This type of lens allows a magnification of your subject that will allow you to fit the frame with it even when it’s tiny.

Entry-level macro lenses grant a 0.5x representation size of the subject, which is quite satisfactory for most photographers. If you have the financial resources and are into this type of photography on a regular basis, then invest in an upgraded lens that can provide 1:1 magnification—a great option is Sigma’s 70mm f/2.8 model.

Before you purchase an extension tube for your camera, make sure to determine if it is compatible with the autofocus of your lens. You can also opt for close-up lenses which you can attach and detach from the front element of your lens. Close-up lenses help maintain the lens’ autofocus functions and allow you to customize your level of magnification (+1, +2, +3…). Unfortunately, using this comes with the risk of losing some of the image quality.

2. Always Use a Tripod

Investing in a tripod is essential for jewelry photography, as it offers multiple advantages. Its primary purpose is to ensure that the angle and perspective remain consistent throughout – an advantage when shooting multiple images for catalogs or online stores.

Furthermore, using a tripod ensures that any camera shake is avoided. Photographing jewelry can pose a challenge to those just getting started; tiny, focused apertures require slower shutter speeds that could be difficult to adjust.

Most importantly, you need a steady hand when working with macro lenses. A tripod helps ensure accuracy by allowing you to work in Live View for precise focusing.

3. Use a White Background

White is the best background for jewelry photography as it helps emphasize the product’s cut and sparkle. A white backdrop prevents the jewelry from absorbing or reflecting any light radiation and hues from its environment, creating an optimal display for customers.

You don’t need an expensive backdrop; a white poster board or paper roll can do wonders. When working with paper rolls, make sure to tape them down securely to avoid any creases. Foam boards are also a great option, as they have the ability to bounce light back into dark areas, thus brightening up your image.

Background Ideas for Your Product photography

4. Use a grey card

For utmost accuracy and consistency, you must calibrate your white balance. A grey card or color checker offers the most effective way to do this properly.

All you need to do is to shoot with the grey card on the scene and proceed as you would in a normal photoshoot. If you’re changing the lighting setup, shoot with the grey card again. Once done with the shoot, you can run the images using Lightroom to set the correct white balance using the eye dropper tool and grey card image. Synchronize it with the rest of the images taken in the same lighting conditions.

5. Choose the right aperture

Aperture is a key factor when shooting jewelry. You’ll want to use the smallest aperture setting your lens allows – usually f/16 or higher. This will ensure that all the details of your jewelry piece are in focus with a sharp depth-of-field.

Remember, it’s important to pay attention to how much light you allow in and how it affects your exposure. Using higher apertures will make the image more even, but overexpose the shot. You must also remember that using too small an aperture can lead to diffraction, which is another issue causing softness in images.

Finally, don’t forget to adjust your ISO accordingly as you increase or decrease your aperture. The ideal ISO is usually between 100 and 200 for jewelry photography. A higher ISO will amplify any noise present in your shot.

6. Try focus stacking

Capturing jewelry with the right focus can be daunting, particularly if you are using a macro lens. Nevertheless, it is critical to ensure that every part of your subject remains in sharp focus for the best results.

Focus stacking is a technique that helps solve this issue. It involves composing several images with different focus points, then blending them together as one for maximum sharpness and clarity. For best results, you should use a tripod and your camera’s self-timer setting to reduce any movement in between shots. You can achieve great results by stacking three to four images.

Using this technique, you can achieve better results with a smaller aperture and sharper details on the jewelry piece. It’s an invaluable tool for those who want to generate professional-looking images without spending too much time in post-production.

7. Use natural light whenever possible

Natural lighting is by far the best choice for product photography. It creates softer and more diffused shadows, making it very easy to capture the details and subtleties of your jewelry pieces.

The most common way to take advantage of natural light is by shooting near a window or outdoors in an open space. For those planning to shoot outdoors, remember that direct sunlight can create harsh and uneven lighting. To prevent the colors in your photos from washing out, consider using a reflector, white sheet or diffuser to soften up the light for better results.

In extreme cases, you can even combine natural lighting with artificial lights (such as strobes) to achieve unique effects.

Jewelry photography is best achieved with soft light, eliminating any unbecoming shadows or harsh reflections. A light box or light tent is perfect for this as it reduces light intensity and helps achieve an even spread of light.

Creating a DIY light box is fairly simple and doesn’t require much investment. All you need to do is find a cardboard box, cut holes in the sides for your lenses, cover the inside with tracing paper or wax paper for diffusing the light, and then point your lights at the paper.

Alternatively, you can use a commercial light box that is specially designed for product photography. These are available in both table-top and collapsible designs and come with multiple backdrops to choose from. They also diffuse the light more evenly than DIY solutions, allowing you to capture great shots in no time.

9. Be mindful of reflections

While reflections can add to the beauty and charm of a jewelry piece, they can also be distracting. Shiny surfaces such as gold or silver often reflect light, which can create unwanted glare in your images.

To minimize this, use a white backdrop with indirect lighting sources. You can reduce the intensity of the reflections by using a matte finish or adding diffusing elements such as tracing paper, wax paper or fabric. You can also try shooting from different angles to reduce the amount of light reflecting off your subject.

10. Use props to position the jewelry

When shooting jewelry, it’s important to make sure that the piece is placed gracefully and looks eye-catching. Props can be a great way to showcase your pieces without having to do too much work in post-production.

For rings and bracelets, you can use velvet fabric or other materials to give them a more appealing look. For necklaces and earrings, consider using mannequins or models to add depth and interest to your photos. You can also use jewelry stands for better positioning of the pieces in order to make them look great from any angle.

11. Shoot with a model

Having a model in your product shots can help to make the jewelry look more appealing and be more true-to-life. Models also bring an element of personality, which can create an emotional connection with potential customers.

When shooting with models, remember to keep them at a comfortable distance from the camera lens so that they don’t appear distorted in the shot. You should also experiment with different poses and angles to bring out the best features of your jewelry pieces. Make sure the jewelry is displayed in a flattering way.

12. Pay Attention to Details

Jewelry is all about the details, and this varies from piece to piece. To make sure your photos show off every detail of your pieces, use a macro lens and shoot with a high shutter speed.

Furthermore, it is essential to clean your jewelry before the photoshoot and handle it with care using cotton gloves; otherwise, defects caused by careless handling will make your products look inferior.

13. Always Edit Your Jewelry Photography

Post-processing is a must when it comes to jewelry photography. Even with the best lighting setup and perfect positioning of your pieces, you will still need to tweak the colors and contrast. If done properly, post-processing can make an average picture look like a professional shot.

Services like Pixel by Hand Professional Product Photo Editors can help you get the best possible results. Our product image editors have worked with hundreds of eCommerce brands—from fashion to jewelry retailers—and have the experience and expertise to deliver stunning jewelry photos that will draw customers in.

When we retouch and edit jewelry imagery, we focus on color correction, sharpening elements and removing any unwanted objects. We also perform background replacements, add filters and adjust the contrast to create clean and appealing images. The focus should always be on the details of the jewelry piece, so our editors make sure every element is perfect.

Pixel By Hand Jewelry Photo Editing Services

In conclusion, shooting great jewelry photos requires patience and skill. To be successful in this endeavor, you need to use the right equipment, pay attention to details, work with a model if necessary, and most importantly—edit your photos for optimal results. With the tips we’ve outlined here, you can ensure that your jewelry photography is always stunning and eye-catching.

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