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How to Master Jewelry Photography: Part III

Jewelry Photography editing Blog Header Image Editing

Jewelry photography editing can be intimidating. It’s time-consuming and there are many steps and details that go into each image. Mastering how to professionally edit your photos is equal parts art and skill. Luckily, we’ve rounded up a few tips and tricks to help you master the basics of jewelry photography editing. Soon, your jewelry images will be ready to publish!

Choose Your Editing Software

These days, there are hundreds of free and paid editing services available. Here are a few suggestions:

Snapseed

Snapseed is a photo-editing application for iOS and Android that allows users to enhance their photos and apply digital filters. This app is perfect for editing photos right from your phone. Then, share them straight to Facebook or Instagram.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is an online photo editing and design service. It can be accessed from a web browser or through the PicMonkey mobile app. The software offers graphic design and photo editing tools, as well as a large selection of design templates. Try the free version or subscribe to a monthly membership.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements is an image editing software for entry-level photographers, editors, and hobbyists. It contains most of the features of the professional version but with fewer and simpler options, allowing users to create, edit, organize and share images. Try this introductory tool before diving headfirst into Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a good intermediate application to manage your photography workflow. It allows viewing, organizing, and editing large numbers of digital images. Lightroom’s editing capabilities should suffice for all your jewelry photography editing needs.

Adobe Photoshop

The Cadillac of editing platforms, Photoshop has all the bells and whistles when it comes to jewelry photography editing. While this program comes with a steep learning curve, the possibilities are unlimited once you master this editing software! And surprisingly, this software is relatively inexpensive!

Jewelry Photography Editing Images Social Share

Begin Your Jewelry Photography Editing

Clean-up

No matter how well you clean your jewelry, it’s likely you’ll still see a few blemishes in your pieces. Take time to edit out smudges, dust, fingerprints, and imperfections to make your jewelry look flawless.

Brightness

Your photography editing can be hard to perfect because of jewelry’s shiny surfaces. After all, it’s like shooting a thousand tiny mirrors. Much of your images’ lighting adjustments will take place during your photo shoot. When making adjustments, keep in mind that an underexposed image will make your jewelry appear dark and dingy. If it’s overexposed, your jewelry will appear washed out and may lose its detail. It’s all about finding the right balance here! Generally speaking, your jewelry photography will shine with a higher brightness.

Contrast

Adjusting the contrast in your photography tweaks the balance between shadows and highlights, helping to amplify your jewelry’s polish. Contrast makes your highlights brighter and your shadows darker, adding more depth to your jewelry. Also, contrast increases perceived sharpness and boosts saturation. This will really make your jewelry pop, especially when it comes to gemstone facets. Generally speaking, your jewelry photography editing will stand out with a higher contrast.

Sharpness

Many factors affect image clarity— from the lights you’re using to the atmosphere where you took the picture. Keep in mind that the closest part of your jewelry to the lense should be in focus. Then, you can use the sharpen tool to bring out intricate details and lines. But beware, this tool is not magic. If you are hoping to add sharpness to a blurry, out-of-focus image, this just won’t work! Also, too much sharpness will make your piece look grainy and pixelated.

Hue/Color Balance

Because of its shiny metal properties and light-absorbing gemstones, jewelry picks up color from its surroundings. So be mindful of your environment when shooting your jewelry photography. Sometimes it’s necessary to correct the colors in your images to make them look as real as possible. Your yellow gold may appear green or your rose gold may turn out too red or orange. A simple color adjustment can fix this.

Reflections

Be mindful of reflections in your jewelry. These tell the story of your piece, so try to get the most out of your reflections. Sometimes you’ll inadvertently capture yourself or your camera lens in your jewelry’s reflections. Take notice of these hidden details.

Cropping

The composition of your imagery can turn ordinary pictures into something captivating. Cropping is a great way to bring your product center stage. Try utilizing the Rule of Thirds here.

Rule of Thirds – A photography and editing principle where an image is sliced into 9 equal parts, with the most important subjects lying on the imaginary lines and intersections of the grid

For product shots for your website on a white background make use of all whitespace available; don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your image.

For your social media and print photography beauty shots, make all your edits first. Then, crop down each particular image to their desired dimensions, since every social media platform requires different sized images.


Make a Template, Save Some Time

Once you’ve got the hang of adjusting certain aspects of your imagery, we recommend having a go-to template to make editing easier. Most editing software allows you to create presets that you can lay over any image. And with the click of a button, your editing job is done! This is perfect for photography that is consistently shot in the same environment.

Jewelry Photography Belongs on Social media 

Your jewelry is visually pleasing. So much so that it basically sells itself because of its beauty and appeal. So naturally, your jewelry photography is the key to enlivening your social media marketing, especially on Instagram.

Find more ways to incorporate photography into your social media strategy here

 

This post was written in part by Daniel Maldonado in collaboration with Subject Matter Expert Wendy Wilkerson, Stuller’s Digital Production Manager




How to Master Jewelry Photography: Part II

Jewelry Photography Part 2 Blog Header

Jewelry photography is equal parts art and skill. The end goal is to ensure customers get the most realistic render of each available product. Before you get to snapping pictures, heed these precautions to capture your jewelry in its most favorable light:

Clean Your Product

Cameras pick up on things like smudges, dust particles, and other unsightly marks. Sure, you can edit these out later, but cleaning your pieces thoroughly beforehand saves you time in the end. Give your jewelry a thorough cleaning using your ultra-sonic. Then, steam clean if possible. Always wear gloves in the handling process to avoid fingerprints.

Quick Tips for your Jewelry Photography

Here are a few products to help simplify your jewelry photography process:


More Jewelry Photography Tips & Tricks

Once you’ve prepared your set and cleaned your product, it’s finally time to photograph your jewelry. And while your jewelry is naturally gorgeous, here are a few tips to make sure your artistry is as marvelous in pictures as in real life:

Use a Tripod

Whether you’re shooting with a professional camera or your smartphone, a tripod is one of the easiest ways to produce clear images. If you struggle with holding cameras still — or even if you think you have a steady hand — tripods are the key to sharp, focused pictures. For an entry-level tripod solution, try a GorillaPod.

Composition

Composition refers to the arrangement of all elements in a photo — from props to lighting — telling a clear, cohesive story. The composition is what makes your image visually pleasing overall. Although complex to master, a balanced composition can land your jewelry photography in top spots on social media feeds, spurring interest in your brand.

Proper Lighting

Lighting makes your jewelry sparkle and shine. Use continuous, natural lighting to avoid unflattering reflections in stones and metals. If natural lighting isn’t an option, go for artificial lighting that imitates the sun (rather than using a flash). We recommend using LED daylight balanced bulbs. But be sure to avoid mixing different kinds of bulbs— this will result in an unflattering image.

In the end, keep in mind that lighting, whether natural or artificial, should never be harsh or direct. Lighting for your jewelry photography should always be diffused. Here is a helpful video that dives deep into photography lighting.

Check out Tony Roslund on YouTube for in-depth guidance 

 

White Balance

Simply put, white balance adjusts the color of the lighting in your photos by correcting its temperature, thus ensuring color accuracy. For example, if you’re photographing white gold, you certainly don’t want it looking green in your pictures. Utilizing proper white balance will help produce the most realistic color illustration. Most cameras have presets to ensure the most flattering image.

Focus

Proper focus helps illustrate a realistic image in terms of texture. Thankfully, most cameras offer auto-focus settings. Make sure each piece of your jewelry is in focus, while background effects should remain out of focus and slightly blurred. Easier said than done, right? Proper focus guarantees sharp, detailed imagery.

Angles

When shooting multiple images, try to show off as much of your jewelry as possible. Snap multiple images from all angles to show off every detail. Close-ups, side views, and overhead views make for interesting angles and save on future, “Can I see this piece from a different angle?” requests.

Try a Light Box

For your online inventory, basic product shots on white backgrounds are ideal. To achieve this, try using a light box. We recommend our new Dino-Lite photo box. This tool is illuminated by LED lighting and helps to eliminate outside light pollution.


When all is said and done, keep in mind that photography is fun. Even if your photos don’t master every technical aspect— fear not! If it looks good, then you’re doing great!




How to Master Jewelry Photography: Part I

Jewelry Photography Part 1 Blog Header

Marketing your brand is challenging. Even a degree in marketing doesn’t guarantee you’ll crack the code. But in our industry, jewelry photography will surely boost your business, if done correctly. You have a split second to catch someone’s eye and interest, so make your photography count. To help you do just that, here are our tips for jewelry photography beginners:

Selecting Your Camera

Smart Phone

  • Pros
    • Portable
    • Easy social media access
    • Simple to use
  • Cons
    • Lower quality images
    • Limited editing capabilities
    • Doesn’t allow enlarging for print media

DSLR

  • Pros
    • High-quality images
    • Fast shutter speed, great exposure, more pixels
    • Allows enlargement for print media
  • Cons
    • More expensive
    • Takes a while to learn
    • Requires editing program

Choose Your Photo Elements

Take time to set the stage for your photo shoot. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether you are promoting this season’s newest engagement trends, youth jewelry, or men’s bands, make sure your jewelry photography tells a unique story. Add subtle props in your photos to drive your theme across. Capture product in its own little world in an effort to tell a cohesive story. Remember to keep your branding’s theme top of mind throughout your photography endeavors.

Select the Right backdrop

Plan ahead where your photography will be showcased. For example, website imagery may look different than print media. And images for each social media platform should vary in size. A background with fun patterns or bright colors may seem like a tempting way to catch customers’ attention, but this diverts focus from your jewelry. Luckily, a stunning ring or necklace can basically sell itself! Stick with a light, solid-colored backdrop so your jewelry remains the center of attention.

Jewelry Photography Part 1 Social Share Image

Jewelry Terminology

If you’re a beginner, there are a few basic photography terms you’ll want to be familiar with:

Composition

This refers to the arrangement of all elements in a photo— from props to lighting. The composition of a jewelry photo should tell a clear, cohesive story.

Depth of Field

This refers to how much of an image remains in focus. For example, if only one object in a photo is in focus, then that image is said to have a shallow depth of field. For jewelry photography, you’ll want a large depth of field for your images, meaning most or all of the photos are in focus.

Diffuser

A device that softens the light. Soft light is ideal for jewelry photography.

DSLR

A single lens reflex camera that takes digital images. Usually comprised of a main body with several lenses, allowing for various photography capabilities.

Exposure

This refers to a picture’s lightness or darkness. A lighter picture means a higher exposure,  ideal for jewelry photography.

Focus

The main object(s) of a photo should be in focus, with the rest of the image slightly blurred.

Negative Space

Negative space is the area that surrounds the main object in a photo. In the case of jewelry photography, your jewelry lies in a positive space, while props and backdrop effects count as negative space.

White Balance

Simply put, white balance adjusts the color of the lighting in your photos by correcting its temperature, thus ensuring color accuracy. Our eyes naturally adjust to different lightings, but cameras do not (unless they are set to do so). Many cameras have white balance presets, allowing images to come out looking as close to reality as possible!


Jewelry Photography Made Easy

Photography can be hard. Trust us. Photographing shiny metal and doubly refractive gemstones can be like trying to capture thousands of tiny mirrors. Don’t feel it’s worth the hassle? Join Stuller First! Our image portal gives you access to a collection of professional photography that you can use as your own.

Jewelry Photography Stock Photo

 

Stay tuned for the second installment of this jewelry photography mini-series!

 




More than a thousand words – Part III

You’ve done it. You’ve created the perfect ring. You brought your vision to life and now you’re ready to sell that bad boy. You’ve read our parts one and two in this series and learned how to take perfect picture. But it’s still not looking exactly right. If you can identify with this scenario then you might need the help of a photo-editing application.

For this installment, we’ll go over a couple of post-production tips that are common in every photo-editing program. And, to make it even easier we’ll be demonstrating the tips using a free online resource called PicMonkey. This program lets you upload your photograph and edit on the spot. No software download or IT degree required.

Where do you expend your editing efforts for maximum results? We recommend these three areas.

Brightness and contrast

Exposure can be hard to perfect because of all the shiny surfaces. I mean, it’s jewelry after all. Under the exposure tab of PicMonkey, you’ll see the adjustments for brightness and contrast. Adjust each to your liking. The brightness will help to make your image look clean, while the sharpness will help to amplify the polish of your piece.

Sharpen

Many things can affect the clarity of the image, from the lights you’re using to the atmosphere where you’re taking the picture. To bring the image to its prime, use the sharpen feature. Pay close attention to how far you push the contrast. Too much contrast will have your piece looking grainy; too little will make it blurry.

Crop

Composition of an image can turn an ordinary picture to something more captivating. Now that your jewelry has received all the finessing, for the final tip, be sure to make sure your image has people looking twice. Cropping is a great way to add more focus on the product you want to feature instead of unimportant parts that made their way into the frame. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your image. Make use of all white space and filled space.

Have you had luck with any of these tips? How do you use photography in your marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section.




More Than a Thousand Words – Part II

You just finished casting a ring that’s been in your head for what seems like a year now. You’ve labored over it. Sketch after sketch, render after render, and now it’s finally complete and ready to sell. The only thing left to do is post it on your Facebook page for someone to buy. You want to show the world, but you’re hesitant to put it online because you don’t believe you’ll be able to capture the essence of the piece, the je ne sais quoi, the thing that makes it special. You’ve seen the big dogs’ advertising and know it can be done but think you’ll never be able to take a photo of your own jewelry that will look as good as that.

Well, fret no more. True, the jewelry pictures you see in magazine ads are composed of many shots and hours in Photoshop. However, there are some fairly simple things you can do to show off your hard work that won’t involve spending 40 hours in editing.

In part one of this series, I taught you what type of camera you need for the perfect shot. In this next part, we’ll go over some tips on how to take the perfect shot and let you in on some secrets that we use in our own photography studio at Stuller – secrets that will make your jewelry more memorable. And the good news is you won’t need a photo studio to accomplish this, and most of the items needed are probably in your shop, already.

Check out the video below to see how the magic is done, then send us some of the shots you take and show off your hard work!

 

Here’s the list of products we use in preparation for every shoot.

Oval ring – 70531 (ring used in shot)

ce87fef4-a0e8-4e24-80a6-a31500a67b6be433651a-fb72-4943-bf0a-a31500a67bbb

Stuller Sonic 23-5874

23-5874-b9fa6f3e-c5c7-4452-9f66-b62bc2dc4aeb

Gembright cloth (blue) – 17-0820

17-0820-261484t-dad2262e-2f71-4928-9f3e-73fe5f68844a

Magic cloth (maroon) – 17-0765

17-0765-251685t-334f772d-adc3-4ea6-ba05-cd3e63c0ff62

Steamostats – 46-4555

ffb527ac-0617-49d5-9289-a00600e7a50c

Desk lamp – 13-1803

4d47d608-adf1-427d-bb2a-a0cf00a4ffb5

Disposable latex gloves 17-0747

4b862d36-c5d4-4901-a2f2-a2b600e5d5d8

Still need help? Let us know! Ask questions in the comments section.