What Makes Good Jewelry Photography for Your Website
Published on: August 18, 2018
Last updated: August 20, 2020
At this stage, you should understand how detrimental poor jewelry photography can affect your jewelry business. The saying “first impressions count” definitely applies to any online business. It can be attributed to the fact that information is processed 60,000 faster visually compared to text. With poor visual representation, there are only two possible outcomes. First, if you’re lucky, you’ll become just one of many poor websites forgotten online. Or second, in the more severe cases, the shopper will remember their poor experience and will never consider shopping with you again. Here’s a link to the original article for a quick refresh of your memory.
In this post, we’ll go through practices that make good jewelry photography and how you can shoot jewelry so that your customers remain engaged on your website.
It’s very easy to dirty a piece of jewelry. Most of the time, when you are moving a piece of jewelry around to perfect your shots, you will leave fingerprints, dirt, and other marks. These imperfections are not noticed until you go onto your computer and zoom into your jewelry shots. The end result is that you will need to edit them out in post-production or retake your shot – both equally time-consuming.
Therefore, we recommend always cleaning your jewelry using a microfibre cloth before shooting and handling the pieces using cotton inspection gloves. You can grab a pack of 10 pairs from eBay for around $5. Well worth the money for the time saved!
Have you ever gone to any successful jewelry e-commerce page to find out that all the images are shot on a clean background such as white, black or gray? Did you know that some online platforms even make it a requirement for images to be shot on a completely white background?
There is a reason for shooting on a clean background. With any sort of product photography, the subject matter is always the product. You want your customer’s attention to be immediately drawn to jewelry products you are selling. Therefore, to drive the focus of your customers’ eyes to your jewelry, cut out any distractions in your background.
In this post, we’ll specifically talk about shooting on a white background.
Shooting on a white background can be simple as placing your jewelry on top of a white piece of paper or white sheet of vinyl. The difficult part now is capturing your jewelry evenly and consistently. If you’d like more jewelry background ideas, check out this post here.
No Bad Reflections
Many amateur photographers make the mistake of not controlling their lighting environment. As a result, you can see the reflection of the photographer and camera in the actual jewelry piece. This is very distracting to your potential buyers and makes your products feel unprofessional.
You can control your lighting environment by using white cardboard or foam to absorb and reflect soft light back to your jewelry.
There may be cases where there are harsh reflections where your jewelry appear overexposed. These harsh spots are created when your light source(s) haven’t been diffused properly. To diffuse your light even further, use white pieces of paper or fabric your light sources to absorb the light.
There are two types of shadows in photography. There are shadows on your product and shadows cast by your product.
Shadows on your product are considered undesirable as it creates the effect as if you are hiding flaws in your jewelry. Squash any doubts by positioning more diffused lights in your photography set up to remove shadows and reveal the true beauty in your jewelry pieces.
A balanced shadow adds depth and a sense of realism to your jewelry. If there’s too much shadow, the shadow itself will become distracting and draw focus away from your jewelry. Little or no shadows may make your jewelry appear “floating”. Some marketplaces, such as 1stdibs, require the complete removal of shadows for every jewelry image uploaded. We would always recommend a creating balanced shadow under your jewelry pieces. You can create the shadow in post-production as detailed further below.
Fully Focused Images
A fully focused image allows your customers to see the true beauty and details of your jewelry.
In fact, 67% of shoppers are also highly likely to buy from retailers with clear product images.
To ensure your images are fully focused and don’t appear blurry, ensure that you are using some sort of stabilization tool such as a tripod. Any slight movements will be noticeable in the final image. To avoid reshooting images, always take multiple shots and examine your shots before you move onto your next angle or jewelry piece.
Other things to consider that may result in blurry images is a limited depth of field. In any sort of macro photography, your lens can only have one focal point at any given point in time. To capture a fully focused jewelry piece, you can use a technique called focus stacking, whereby multiple images are shot at different focal points and stitched together digitally. You can do focus stacking yourself in photo editing software or use specialized software such as Helicon Focus.
Other factors that can affect the focus in your images are your aperture, ISO and shutter speed settings. To read more about these settings, check out this article we wrote here.
It is almost standard practice to enhance your jewelry images before they are uploaded online. Good jewelry images are free from blemishes, are true in color, straightened, aligned cropped to clean background. Enhancement can only be done in photo editing software such a Photoshop or Lightroom. We’ve written up a comprehensive guide on how to edit your jewelry images here. Be warned – it’s a long read with an equally long learning curve!
Undoubtedly, jewelry image enhancement is a time-consuming process, usually taking a professional 30 minutes to complete. It could take even more time depending on the complexity of the jewelry design. That’s why many jewelers outsource this process to specialized companies for extremely affordable prices and quick turnaround. At Picup Media, we charge $5 an image and 72-hour turnover for batches less than 200 images. You can find more about our pricing guide here, and who we work with here.
Building trust is essential to successfully sell your jewelry online. Before customers make a decision to purchase from you, they need to be reassured through your photography that the product appears as they are. This is even more important with jewelry as this product category is considered to be extremely high-value. The best way to build trust and confidence with your customers is to be consistent with your jewelry photography.
Create consistency in your jewelry images by using the same proportions, same angles, same background.
Bonus: Did you know you can achieve studio-quality images using just your smartphone? That’s right, we’re talking about beautiful natural shadows and reflections, perfect and even lighting to bring out the true colors of your jewelry pieces. To find out more information, follow the link below!