About Product Photography In Jewelry Industry
To make a professional jewelry photo is a mission for a seasoned photographer, who is fluent at lighting, intuitive with camera settings, knows how to tame the omnipresent reflections on rings and earrings, and is a top-notch guru in post-production.
Yet, is it possible to produce a decent image of a precious accessory piece without heaps of experience?
Armed with some basic photography equipment, a wealth of patience, and plenty of time on your hands, you can nail the mission – just let us guide you through the process.
If you are looking to DIY jewelry product images, or browsing the internet for jewelry photography tips, or just seeking some inspiration on the topic, this hands-on guide will give insight for everyone: beginner and expert alike.
This detailed manual is compiled based on the empirical wisdom of the Squareshot team: it is packed with insider tricks and industry-exclusive pointers.
With the total global jewelry market of $278 billion, knowing how to shoot jewelry is a highly needed skill.
Let’s dive right into this shiny sparkly precious piece of material then.
How Photography Affects Sales & Conversions In Jewelry Industry
The difference between a great jewelry image and a so-so one is not just about the poorly edited reflections or the dull sparkle of a precious gemstone. The difference between a great and a mediocre photo of a piece of jewelry is a lost sale. Worse even, it’s a sale lost to a competitor, who is biting into your share.
For a customer to find you on the internet, you have had to make some major investments in:
- Design & manufacturing of the jewelry.
- Web design.
- Blog articles for SEO.
- Google SEM or other paid ads.
And all of that just to lose your customer over a poorly lit, overexposed, or badly edited image, that doesn’t do justice to your great product?
At that cost, you can’t afford one subpar image of your jewelry pieces, let alone premium or luxury lines.
Just to give more substance to the importance of product images and magnify that ringing bell in an online jewelry store owner’s mind, here are some eye-opening e-commerce stats:
- A massive 93% of surveyed customers mentioned the visual appearance to be the major purchasing factor.
- A larger product image leads to a 9,5% increase in sales.
- 22% of returns happen because the items looked different from product page images in real life.
Yep, professionally executed jewelry photography has the power to propel your business to the top of the niche, drive conversions, reduce returns, increase CTR, and ultimately boost your bottom-line.
Let’s get down to the backbone of the subject: how to photograph jewelry for Instagram, Esty, and your eCommerce store to help your business grow.
Jewelry Product Photography Process & Planning
Professional product photoshoot planning is an indispensable ingredient of a perfect product photo session, specifically when it comes to handling pieces made from precious metals and gemstones.
For a mission to be a self-evident success with impressively crisp images of the objects, here are the top-10 things to pay extra attention to:
- Get a list of all the accessories & items you need to photograph.
[you need to specify the number of images required for each item, agles, props needed for each take, and possibly even references].
- Take care of logistics, insurance, getting stock out of inventory.
[security, insurance, and logistics may be the biggest worry about premium luxury designer jewelry pieces; but taking them out of stock may also be an issue for a limited-edition series].
- Agree on the model involvement in the shoot: cast, contract, book, and seal arrangements legally and financially with models.
- Hire a studio or deal with other relevant shoot location legal & financial aspects.
- Choose / rent photography equipment.
- Hire a photographer / professional product photo studio in NYC or near your company warehouse location.
- Send reminders to all parties involved [inclusive models, makeup artists, photographer] in the shoot 1 week before, 3 days before, and on the eve of the session.
- Generate ideas for the props, buy/source props – as inspired by other images or your own [also see some jewelry image tips below for inspo].
- Ensure your items are ready as per the list on the day of the shoot. Wipe them clean and spotless using gloves. This will save lots of time and effort during the retouching stage. Line up with all the props and boxes as per the shooting order to save time for the photographer.
- Set up lights to ensure maximum brilliance & sparkle of pieces with minimal unwanted reflections. Now you are ready to shoot.
How To Take Jewelry Photos: Positioning Your Object
How to photograph necklaces, chains, and pendants: lay flat, hanging, on a model, etc.
Necklaces are usually photographed placed in the following positions:
- Lay flat on some surface
In this position, the object may need some adjusting and rearranging to achieve a smooth shape. Using a glass upside down inside the item in a circular motion is a great trick to quickly gain that perfect curved look of every chain of the necklace.
The choice of surface will correspond to the mood, ambiance, price range, and brand of the jewelry designer. You can go with the background as rough and textured as a piece of slate, as girly as pink flowing silk, or as smooth and polished as gold bullion.
Premium necklaces with colored gemstone pendants may look stunning against a classy black background with a ray of light piercing the focal stone.
- On a black or white velvet necklace stand
While some photographers may see it as a more conservative approach when it comes to taking necklace product photography, black velvet cushions, or necklace stands, that mimic a human bust, maybe a perfect setting for some of the classic jewelry pieces.
They are widely available on Amazon and in photo equipment stores in black and white. A darker piece will look sharper on a light necklace bust stand.
- Hanging on a hand-made pendant stand
All you need to do for a DIY necklace stand is to cut a 1-2 inches wide frame out of the plastic semi-hard cardboard or foam core and make a footing with a crocodile spring clamp on one of the bottom corners.
This is a great way to hang your necklace for a pendant shoot. You can fix it to the upper part of the frame with pins, small clamps, or gaffers tape. This cheap but handy device allows users to minimize the editing time, as the pendant is free falling and allows for white background and light sources from every angle.
- Taking necklace shots on a model
Models wearing jewelry complicate things for a photographer but ease things for marketing and sales. So the photographer needs to bring up the best of the synergy of the model and the luxury accessory for the sake of sales.
A model has the power to resonate with the target audience to the extent when the purchase impulse is simply irresistible. If a model is relatable to the User persona, embodies the lifestyle of the potential client, chances are, the conversions of the product page with jewelry shots with such a model will be amazing.
How to photograph rings & bracelets: fixing items at an angle
- Glue them with a hot glue gun to the surface or background [mind you, that most of the jewelry will not be impacted by the glue itself, but if you are working with a plated golden ring, the layer of gold may eventually be as thin as to possibly stick to the glue – so use caution and your best judgment in the choice of fixing materials].
- Use wax [like dentist’s wax or museum wax] to fix it upright or at the desired angle.
- Use blue tack: it’s best to use a transparent one or of black color if using a black background. This is the least of the adhesive materials that will ensure your ring stays undamaged irrespective of how fragile the upper layer is.
- Use double-sided scotch tape. Easily available in any photo studio, this classic equipment may not be as easy to fix the ring properly, but is worth a try in absence of a hot glue gun or wax.
Jewelry Photography Ideas & Props: Examples & Inspo From Big Jewelry Brands
Below we hand-picked some of the ideas on how to take a jewelry shot with examples from some of the big names in the luxury jewelry niche for your inspiration.
- On a human hand/neck/finger
While usually, images of accessories shot on a human body part are rather neutral in terms of connotation, Tiffany nailed this type of jewelry images by creating a rebellious shot of a hand with 3 T1 collection rings.
- 50 shadows of accessory product photography
Shadows are often used in jewelry product photography and can be cast by:
- Objects themselves
- Hands of an assistant
- Floral elements and leaves
See how GenkJewelry used the bee honeycomb shape shadow for the bee collection
- Silk as the perfectly smooth background to colored pieces
Colored silk serves as an amazing compliment to colored gemstone pieces. Check out this ring with green jade stone
- Props with character & personality to them
Jewelry can be subtle, exquisite, masculine, tender, fragile, assertive, chic, rough, laconic, flamboyant, extravert, and timid. It can be anything a designer conceives it to be. The props you choose for the shoot may help reveal the true colors and spirit embedded in the piece.
We love how Cartier jewelry photographer used the bike as a prop for this iconic nail bracelet to spice it with the notes of freedom and reckless drive.
In this next jewelry image example, Bulgari played a decadent chocolate dessert to render the sumptuousness of the collection.
- Make seasonality part of the screenplay
Xmas time has a different vibe to it than a relaxed summer feel. Props & scenarios for the shoot may well depend on or involve the season of the year.
See how masterfully Bulgari adds the timely seasonal flavor and pertinence to its collection.
- Catch a designer in action: creation process shot
For luxury jewelry products having a series with the creator, the designer is an ultimate must-have.
See how Theo Fennel uses black and white images to bring a note of retro heritage and the handmade feel to it.
- Use several light sources
Bulgari made its high jewelry necklaces the star of the show basking in multiple rays of the limelight.
- Irregular slanted angles & dynamics for rings & bracelets
Lay flat images are great for a product page, but commercial images for your e-commerce store’s front page and social media need to carry more character and add some drive and dimension to them.
See how Fred combines the 2 bracelets in one shot at dynamic angles.
- Detail closeup shots: it’s all about nuance
The devil is in the detail, true. But then the true designer jewelry is all about the detail too. Cartier knows the powerful visual impact of a perfectly polished shine of the few golden inches of slanted watch chain links. There’s so much personality in this shot, don’t you think?
Product Photography Equipment
When it comes to the choice of equipment it may be as a pro or as basic as it gets, depending mostly on your budget and ambition.
As a general rule of thumb, any product photography jewelry tutorial will prompt you to get a smaller space or room for your shoot, that allows for perfect diffused lighting with less unwanted reflections.
To achieve this effect, you may get yourself:
- a light tent or
- DIY a wide tube out of a big sheet of hard white paper or translum, cut out a hole wide enough for your camera in one of the sides of this tube, and place an object inside the tube.
Needless to say, a proper photo table with professional lighting in a studio is always the best option in the hands of a professional jewelry product photographer.
You will need the regular set of equipment used to take product images, that we have described in detail in this comprehensive guide on e-commerce product photography:
- Lighting, reflectors & diffusers
Take Your Best Product Photos With Squareshot
Photographing jewelry is a craft that takes years to master to produce a jaw-dropping take-my-money result.
While we tried to equip you with some inspiration and useful tips, truth be told, a professional product designer with extensive jewelry experience is your best bet when it comes to the creation of converting images.
Squareshot has plenty of jewelry photography ideas, know-how, expertise, that we are happy to integrate into the success formula of your e-commerce store.
- Our savvy seasoned team has been there & done that, so we will not waste your precious time on experiments that don’t work.
- Our team has the creativity and a talented artistic eye, that allows us to shoot unique unexampled shots for your campaign and social media.
- We know how to photograph rings and how to photograph jewelry for Etsy. We have shot bracelets, rings, pendants, necklaces, watches, earrings, and more – with models and without.
Just take a look at Product Photography Pricing – it can get fairly complex sometimes.
When in need to take pictures of jewelry so that to turn your visitors into clients, contact us with your requirements and we will be delighted to supply you with our best quote.
Let’s send that gold on the way to your customers, bringing joy and sparkle to their lives! We know how to make shiny things addictive & desired at first sight.
Let us show the world how stunning your jewelry is.