Jewelry product photography: Tips, tools, and techniques
Anybody who’s shopped online for a ring, bracelet, necklace or any other gift for themselves or a loved one can attest to the importance of jewelry product photography. You need to see the product in as much detail, and from as many different angles, as possible to make an informed decision about what to purchase.
According to Instore Magazine, 33% of respondents to a survey said that the retailer’s website—and how products were presented—was the most influential factor in their purchasing decision. Quality (31%) and design (23%) followed closely behind as the second and third most important factors, both of which are primarily presented through photography.
This poses a challenge for online jewelry stores—especially those without significant photographic resources on-hand. Jewelry can be particularly challenging to photograph due to its tiny stature, fine details, and reflective services. But, jewelry isn’t cheap. And consumers need to know as much as they can about a product before they make a purchase.
A challenge is no reason to turn away from a significant market opportunity. The online jewelry industry is forecast to reach $117 billion by 2027, indicating a major opportunity for existing online retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers looking to expand online.
Luckily, tools like AI photo editing can make this process easier and faster. We’ve written this guide to help you master jewelry product photography for your online store.
The art of jewelry product photography
Jewelry is big business. Over half of respondents to that Instore Magazine survey said they spend up to $500 on average when purchasing new jewelry, and 26% said they would spend between $1000 to $5000. There are not many consumer categories that rival that level of spend for a single purchase, which makes jewelry a premium product in the world of online sales.
Photography for a premium product is, of course, important. Unfortunately, many photographers will say that jewelry is tougher to capture than other consumer items like clothes or furniture. The variety of smooth, shiny surfaces and wide range of materials make pinning down the right lighting setup and camera angle tricky. There’s also the need to avoid reflections, smudges, lens flares, and imperfections in the product.
High-quality jewelry product photography, therefore, is an art. It requires the effective manipulation of light, the right camera equipment that can capture fine details, and the proper use of shutter speed and aperture to ensure the image is captured in a flattering way. Capturing fine details is, of course, critical. Consumers will want to closely analyze the product before making a purchase.
Staging is another consideration. Jewelry product photographs come in a wide range of formats, depending on their uses:
Product photos are high-detail shots on a clean background. They’re clutter-free and focus exclusively on the product in fine detail. Product photos are typically used on product pages, in marketplaces, and anywhere else a high-detail image is required.
Lifestyle photos show your product on a model or against a complimentary background. This helps to demonstrate the scale of the product, and show it within a real-world context. Lifestyle photos can be used on product pages, a lookbook, social media posts, and other sales and marketing collateral.
While many high-end jewelry brands will turn to professional photographers for help, you don’t have to. Smartphone cameras combined with AI photo editing apps like PhotoRoom can help you produce high-quality jewelry product photographs at a fraction of the cost and time.
The role of AI in jewelry photography
AI is already making a significant impact on the world of photography. It’s changing the way that photographers and amateurs capture and edit images, making post-processing and image manipulation easier and less time-consuming.
“AI opens the world to non-professionals who want to use photos to sell products online,” says Benn Meisner, founder of Ribbett.com in Forbes.
“It adds a new layer to traditional photo editing software by taking repetitive, manually intensive tasks, learning what we want and helping us achieve it more easily. Complex work is performed more quickly and automation reduces human error, leaving us with more time and space to dream, experiment and attain superior results.”
This is particularly useful for jewelry photography, which can require significant post-production to sharpen images, remove blemishes, and balance colors. Just a few clicks using a photo editing app like PhotoRoom, you can:
Remove the backgrounds of an image and either leave it transparent or replace it with a solid color or pre-built background
Enhance and retouch images for ecommerce to remove clutter, extra objects, and imperfections
Create shadows based on the object, angles, and light sources
And also all the common editing options: adjust colors, contrast, and white balance
But AI isn’t just about speeding up the editing process. In the case of generative AI, these tools can be used to identify and classify specific objects within a photo. That context can then be used to manipulate the background of the photo and placement of the jewelry into a completely new state or composition.
Here’s an example. You have a photo of a ring that’s on a white background. With the Instant Backgrounds tool from PhotoRoom, you can generate a new background with the context and tone that you want to sell your product. It will automatically generate a range of different backgrounds for you. Or, you can input your own prompts to generate something new.
In this case, we used the following prompt to create a custom background:
“Sitting on a rock with trees in the background.”
Here’s what PhotoRoom came up with:
Ring image source: Clocks & Colours
Play around with different prompts to create new and unique backgrounds for your jewelry product photographs. Once you’re done, you can use the following actions to finalize your image:
Alter the lighting and contrast of your images
Add various filters on top of your images like sepia, black and white, colored filters, and more
Dynamically create complementary shadows for your products to help them stand out from the background
Resize your image, either manually or choose from a wide range of pre-set dimensions, or specify a custom size
With an AI-powered photo editing tool like PhotoRoom in your back pocket, you can turn your attention to capturing exceptional jewelry product photographs. The remainder of this article will offer tips on how to do that.
Tips and best practices for jewelry product photography
Establishing a consistent and repeatable process for your jewelry product photography is key. This will ensure that all of your product images are of the same quality, and show the same level of detail. It will also reduce the time needed to create and edit photographs for your entire product portfolio.
To achieve that consistency, we recommend the following eight tips.
1. Pick the right gear
In the ideal world, you would have an expensive DSLR camera with a high quality lens that even helps you pick up particles of dust on a diamond. But that’s far from mandatory. Online store owners can achieve amazing results with a simple iPhone or Android, a camera app that allows them to set aperture, focal range, and ISO, and a tripod to stabilize images.
Play around with different settings, camera distances, and angles until you’ve identified the right set up for your products.
2. Get the lighting right
Lighting is critical for jewelry product photos. You require just enough light so that all minute details of the object are visible, but not so much that you cause harsh glares or reflections. The light also has to be uniform to properly expose all parts of the piece.
Natural light from windows is ideal. Set up your table as close to the window as possible and at a 90-degree angle to the light source. This will ensure that your light is uniform across the object, and will avoid shadows and over-exposure in the background of the image.
If you want to invest a bit of money into your setup, you can opt for artificial light sources like softboxes, studio lights, or light diffusers. In all cases, it’s important to avoid strong, harsh lighting directly on the piece of jewelry that is likely to cause shows or reflections.
If you want to add shadows to your images to create a specific tone or mood, then practice with changing the angle of your light source relative to the object. You can also use PhotoRoom’s Instant Shadows tool to add artificial shadows in post-production.
The floating shadow in the image below, for example:
3. Set up your camera properly
Jewelry product photographs need to be crisp and sharp to capture all the fine details in your product. To accomplish that, you need to set your camera to the right aperture size and shutter speed.
For aperture, you should set your camera to somewhere around F14 to ensure adequate lighting, and more depth of focus. Shutter speed should be somewhere around 1/2 second, which allows enough light to enter the camera’s lens to provide the level of detail required.
The above specs are just a suggestion. We recommend playing around with different combinations of aperture and shutter speed until you find one that works for your images. In all cases, ensure that your white balance is set properly so that the colors captured in your photos are accurate to real life.
Tip: Make sure to clean and polish your jewelry before taking your product shots. High quality cameras will pick up imperfections and blemishes, which can negatively impact your presentation.
4. Pick the right background
The background of a photo can either add or detract from the appeal of your product. Too much clutter, or a background that overshadows the product, can cause shoppers to lose interest. Likewise, a background that makes the object pop, or situates it in a relevant real-world setting presents your jewelry in the best possible light, increasing the odds of a sale.
When choosing the background for your object, consider the product itself, your target audience, and the medium on which the image will appear. Select a background that complements the product, is contextually relevant to your shoppers, and is inline with your sales and marketing efforts.
For jewelry, white or black backgrounds are common, as they allow details of the object to pop against a uniform background. And, they’re necessary when promoting jewelry on e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.
That initial background doesn’t have to be set in stone. As mentioned, you can easily remove and replace backgrounds as needed in post-production using PhotoRoom.
5. Capture your jewelry from multiple angles
As mentioned, shoppers will want to see details of your products from multiple angles to get a full picture of the item. When photographing your products, move either the camera or the jewelry so that you capture them from as many angles as possible.
You can then add these multiple angles—and any variations with contextual backgrounds—to your online store to help shoppers get a full, 360-degree view of what you’re offering.
The image below was taken from Tiffany & Co’s website, demonstrating how they use various angles and settings to showcase their products.
Try PhotoRoom for your jewelry product photography today
Any photographer will tell you that having a high-quality photo editing tool is essential. They can make great photographs better, and fix ones that need some help. With PhotoRoom, you can dramatically speed up the photo editing process, helping you manage jewelry product photography at scale. Quickly remove and replace backgrounds, touch up and delete unwanted objects, balance and sharpen colors, and add filters to strike a new mood or tone.
Try PhotoRoom for yourself today. It’s accessible on both mobile devices and desktop, and can be downloaded from the App Store, the Google Play Store, or login to PhotoRoom on your desktop. Set up your account in less than a minute, and start saving hours for more important tasks.
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