An Expert’s Guide to Photographing Jewelry

Source: Africa

Photography is a rewarding hobby that can also turn into a full-time job or just be a way to make some extra cash. If you’re already interested in photography, you probably realize that there are many different elements and skills used, depending on the types of photos you’re taking. 

For example, landscape and outdoor shots are much different from portraits. Jewelry photography is an entirely different subset in itself because you need to capture the intricate details of a piece while still displaying what it looks like as a whole. If you’re trying to learn how to capture photos of  high-quality gold chains or delicate rings, you should try implementing some of these tips to take your photographs to the next level. 

Types of Jewelry Photography

The reason behind your jewelry photography setup can play a major part in how you go about photographing your subject. The two main types of jewelry photography are editorial and product marketing. 

Editorial photographs are intended to be published in magazines or on websites with editorial content, meaning articles that are entertaining or informative. These types of pictures can either be advertisements or photographs to enhance an article that is related to jewelry. Editorial advertisements tend to have more elements than product marketing because these images show the jewelry on models or in an everyday environment. 

Product marketing photography is seen in catalogs and on websites that sell jewelry. These images stand out from editorial photography because they are usually just photos of specific pieces of jewelry with white backgrounds. The purpose of these photos is to showcase the jewelry itself and help potential buyers see the details without being distracted by models or background images. 

How to Take Beautiful Jewelry Photographs

  • Use a Professional Camera

The first step to beginning any photography project is investing in a good camera. There are many different types of cameras on the market today, but most professionals opt for a DSLR camera because it is easy to travel with and can be hooked up to your computer to transmit photographs and make it easier to edit the pictures. It’s possible to use other cameras like point-and-shoot devices, but the easiest way to capture great photos is by using a DSLR. 


  • Capture the Right Lighting

Lighting is everything when it comes to photography and, in order to really capture the look of gold chains or other jewelry pieces, you need to have a well-lit focus area. For product marketing photographs, this is especially important. You should have a small studio or an area of your house that is specifically set up for this activity. 

You’ll need a clean, white surface and a white background to make sure that the jewelry is the focal point of the image. Although white is traditionally the best option, the background can be a different color like black or a bright color like pink if the client wants to add a funky element; you just need to consider how the background color is going to work with the colors in the jewelry piece. 

When considering the lighting for your setup, it’s recommended that you have a light positioned on the jewelry, as it will be easier to see than simply using the camera flash every time you take a photograph. Using the flash means that you will constantly have to look back at your photographs and adjust to get the right effect. Instead, you can invest in an inexpensive ring light or even a soft box light, which is a light cover of a thin piece of fabric to diffuse the light and give it a less harsh appearance on the subject. 

Using a Macro Lens

There are dozens of different camera lenses available that can alter and enhance your photography. Macro lenses are particularly useful when photographing gold chains and other types of jewelry because they are designed for very close-up photography. When taking pictures of jewelry, you’re trying to get close to the subject in order to see the details of these pieces, especially for smaller objects like rings or more delicate style necklaces. 

The long barrel on a macro lens helps to put some distance between the camera and the subject, making it much easier to focus in on the jewelry being photographed. Macro lenses are available in different levels of magnification and focusing distances, but the standard lens has a 1:1 magnification ratio and a 12-inch focusing distance. 

Invest in a Tripod

A tripod is another vital accessory that every photographer should own. It’s not only useful for pictures of jewelry, but it’s great for any kind of project—even your own family photos. The tripod is a three-legged device that you can connect your camera to in order to keep the image straight and stable and avoid any additional movement that could cause the image to blur. 

Source: Sahir

Adjust the Manual Settings

Even the most amateur photographers know how important the manual settings on a camera can be. When you begin just taking photographs without adjusting these settings, the camera automatically adjusts the focus based on what the lens is picking. However, learning to use the manual mode on your camera will definitely make you a more skilled photographer and enhance the quality of your photos. 

The aperture function can change the depth of a photograph, while shutter speed can capture photos with movement. This specific feature may not be the most beneficial adjustment with product marketing photography, but you can play around with each setting until you get an effect that you’re satisfied with. 

Step Up Your Jewelry Photography GameWhether you’re learning to take photographs of gold chains and other jewelry accessories as a job or a hobby, there are some important tactics to capturing the perfect image. Using the right camera, lens, and lighting will help focus in on the details of the piece, while using your manual settings to adjust other elements will improve your photography skills and result in a professional product. Use your other gold chains and other accessories at home to do a practice shoot, and then implement these tips and start photographing away.