How to Photograph Jewelry for Insurance
Published on: July 5, 2018
Last updated: August 28, 2020
The critical importance of jewelry photography to jewelry insurance cannot be overstated. Quite often, jewelry is lost, damaged, or stolen, making jewelry insurance an attractive option for consumers to safeguard against their high-valued items.
Therefore, as a jeweler, it is best practice to have a complete digital record of any pieces you sell. It makes the whole process of jewelry insurance and replacement much easier for you to handle and avoid insurance fraud.
One major component of the insurance process is obtaining a valuation for the piece of jewelry. The valuation includes the measurements of the ring, gemstone reports, and detailed images.
In this how-to guide, we focus on the best way to photograph jewelry images for insurance and internal record-keeping purposes.
How to Photograph Your Jewelry for Insurance Purposes
Step 1. Choose the right background.
We recommend shooting on a white background. A white background is used to eliminate any distractions and pinpoint your audience’s focus on your subject matter. The result is a clean, professional image. This is especially important when you are reviewing a piece of jewelry for repairing, replacing, and other insurance purposes.
You can explore different jewelry background ideas and choose the one that’s most appropriate for your platform, purpose, and the message you want to convey; however, white background jewelry photos or videos are ideal documentary evidence in case of insurance claims.
Step 2. Set up your lighting and camera equipment.
We can not stress the importance of lighting when it comes to jewelry photography. Your lighting environment determines the colors, shadows, and reflections created when you capture your image. This is especially important in diamond and colored gemstone photography. Although you can edit photos for color correction in post-production, this isn’t entirely efficient. Therefore, having the correct lighting setup in the first place will save you so much time and effort down the road.
For optimal results, we recommend using a lightbox that provides a consistent lighting environment. But beware – not all lightboxes are made for jewelry. Conduct thorough product research before purchasing.
Once you have created your ideal lighting environment, its time to set up your camera equipment. There are many jewelry photography equipment you need to consider to get this done, but two of the absolute essentials are the type of camera you’re going to use and a stabilizer.
For your camera, you must use a macro lens. The macro lens can either be interchangeable or in-built, which is the case for most smartphones and compact digital cameras.
You must also use a stabilizer such as a tripod or a phone stand to reduce camera shake when taking jewelry images. Shakiness causes blurriness in your images. Blurriness in the images is amplified when shooting extremely small items like your jewelry; thereby, making the images hardly usable.
Step 3. Clean your jewelry.
In most cases, the piece of jewelry you shoot will contain oil, dirt, and other nasty surprises. These imperfections will appear in your photos, so do give it a good clean before you shoot.
Jewelry cleaning doesn’t have to be laborious. We recommend using cotton gloves to pick up the jewelry. The gloves protect the jewelry from smudges and fingerprints.
Many jewelers find that the best and most convenient time to shoot a piece of jewelry is when the customer is ready to pick it up. Hopefully, you’ve polished and cleaned the ring so the metals look shiny and the gemstones sparkly. It also makes for a great social media content!
Step 4. Decide how many angles you need to shoot.
The decision on the number of angles to shoot depends on the design of the jewelry. However, as a general guideline, we recommend the following number of angles per piece:
- Rings: 3+
- Bracelets: 2-3
- Necklaces: 1-2
- Earrings: 1-2
You want to be able to capture the front, side, and top angles (where appropriate). These three angles cover all of the details you need. In our case, we use our smartphones as taking these three killer shots with the GemLightbox and our iPhones only takes seconds. It is effortless and produces beautiful white background images.
Remember, we only want to shoot one piece of jewelry at a time. Don’t be lazy!
If you’re curious how we photographed the picture above, watch the video below and discover how you, too, could do it in just a click.
Step 5. Import files to your system.
Now that you’ve taken your images, it’s time to import the files to your system.
If you are using a digital camera, you can transfer the files by following the steps below:
- Tether the cable directly to your computer.
- Use an SD card reader and save the files to your computer.
- Transfer the files wirelessly (newer models have this function).
If you are using a smartphone, you can transfer the files through the following steps.
- Tether the cable directly to your computer.
- Upload to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox.
- If you’re using an iPhone and Apple computer, you can airdrop directly to your computer.
Once the images are on your computer, you can use them for any other purposes.
Jewelry photography is notoriously difficult and time-consuming. As a jeweler, your time should be spent helping your customers get the best piece of jewelry for their needs. Your expertise does not lie in photography.
If you are spending too much time on photography, you focus away from your core business and create a downward spiral. You must be able to find a solution that balances your need for photography and other business activities as they are all important to the overall success of your operation. There are many ways that jewelry photos and videos help both the insured and the insurer. It’s always good to know that the jewelry owners are well-protected and covered in cases of unforeseen events.