Jewellery Photography with Karen Young
Photographing Your Jewellery
Today we're talking about Jewellery photography! If like me, you struggle with finding the best way to capture your pieces, believe me when I say - you are not alone! With the help of a very talented jeweller Karen Young, today we will be talking all things photography! Karen shares some of her best tips as well as an essential guide to finding the best composition, lighting and more!
It seems to be one of the key areas that many jewellers struggle with. They know how important gorgeous photography of their beautiful jewellery is and the impact it has on clinching that sale. But getting that all important balance of great lighting, beautiful composition and a tack sharp focus seems to allude them.
You might be interested to know that photographing jewellery is in fact one of the hardest types of photography to master. The good news, that it is entirely possible to learn how to take great photographs. You just need to apply a few tricks and techniques, use a select few pieces of key equipment, and practice A LOT! This article is designed to help jewellers who want to improve their photography regardless of whether they are using a smartphone, a point and shoot camera, or a DSLR camera.
Using a DSLR camera on manual mode gives you the greatest amount of control over your photographs and used to be the only way to capture good images of your jewellery. It gives you the flexibility to use special lenses such as macro lenses to capture close up images of your pieces.
Good lighting for your jewellery photography is crucial!
Yes, you have probably heard us say this before but it is the one thing that can make the biggest impact on your photographs! You want a nice, soft and diffused light source that won't cast any unsightly shadows on your pieces. Natural daylight is a great way to involve lighting in your images but it can also be an unreliable source! (especially here in the UK!)
In these cases, we recommend using lamps with continuous daylight bulbs calibrated to 5000-5500 kelvin which is flattering for jewellery, particularly silver. You can either invest in special lamps or you could just use office lamps and add the daylight bulbs.
But please pay attention to other lights. We always say don’t mix light sources! So if you are using natural daylight or daylight bulbs please switch your ceiling lights OFF as these have a different colour to daylight and can cause a funny colour cast to your photos which can be a bit tricky to correct.
Maximise the light you have (and eliminate glare, reflections and shadows)
A great way you can maximise the light you have is to use reflectors to bounce light back onto the areas of your pieces furthest away from your light source. The easiest way to do this is to use a white card or board held in place using a photography clamp. The difference this cheap and simple tool can make to your photographs is amazing as shown in these before and after shots show. A reflector essentially bounces the light from your main light source back onto the piece and can significantly reduce unwanted shadows and reflections. It is such a simple trick but so effective particularly with jewellery with a high shine finish!
Composition, Composition, Composition
Good composition draws the viewers attention straight to the most important part of the image - your jewellery!
Some people naturally have a good eye for composition and seem to compose images in a compelling way without really thinking about it. Never fear! There is a science to creating well composed images and by adopting a few select techniques you will find your composition comes on leaps and bounds.
Rule of Thirds
The most common composition tool is called the Rule of Thirds. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. This gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.
The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.
Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the centre of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it. The example images show the rule of thirds in practice and it is a great composition technique to use with both group shots and flatlays.
Rule of Odds
The human eye is always looking for balance. The Rule of Odds uses the principle that framing your subject with 2 surrounding objects (thus creating an odd number of 3) suggests balance and harmony visually. Three is the most appealing of all of the odd numbers. So if you are taking photos of say stacking rings, take them in groups of 3 or 5 and this will look more visually pleasing than groups of 2 or 4. You might also want to place them in a triangle shape which is also pleasing to the eye. Try it out. You will be amazed at the difference this makes to your photographs!
Focussing your camera for a tack sharp image
It is vital to have super sharp photographs of your jewellery. There is nothing worse that having images on your website that are blurry meaning that your customer cannot clearly see what they are buying. Your customers need to see every little detail when buying online - it helps reduce complaints and returns. It is also the one area you can’t easily fix in post production so it is vital to get beautifully sharp and in-focus photos of your beautiful pieces at the time when you shoot.
Refocus for each and every shot
It is also worth refocussing for every shot you take. On smartphones (and most modern DSLR cameras) you can can use the touch screen to focus (and then use your trusty tripod and timer) and you will ensure the sharpest shot possible!
And on a DSLR camera you can zoom in using the magnifying glass button to double check your focus is absolutely spot ones you focus either automatically or manually.
Karen Young is a wonderful and talented jewellery designer. You can follow Karen's instagram @karenyoungjewellery or head over to her website www.karenyoungjewellery.com
So now you have a good grasp of all the vital elements you need to take great photographs of your jewellery it is important to KEEP PRACTICING! The more you practice, the more you learn what angles, props and lighting works best for you and your jewellery.
We hope this blog has helped you learn something new that will help you improve your jewellery photography! We would love to see you putting all this advice to practice and all the beautiful shots of your jewellery. So please do share them with us on Instagram and tag us #LondonJewellerySchool so we can see and share your progress!
Our Jewellery Photography class is a perfect way to come to grips with photographing your jewellery products to sell. Whether you're just starting a jewellery business or running a jewellery business, getting great photos of your jewellery is essential to selling your products. Great photos can enhance your jewellery products and make your business look more professional. A professional photographer can be an expensive option so learning to take your own photos could be very beneficial.
Join us! and embark on your jewellery photography adventures! Here at the LJS we are here to guide you in every process.
Some of the areas covered in this class include:
- Using and looking after your camera
- Background, staging and setting up your photo
- Setting up a mini photography studio at home
- White balance, getting your pictures in focus and much more...
This is a great value, intensive class where you will learn to take lovely photos of your jewellery which is an invaluable skill that will be used time and time again.
You can find out more here
Get in touch We would love to see you on one of our jewellery making classes soon!