How to Photograph Jewellery

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How to Photograph Jewellery


Jewellery is one of the most difficult subjects for any photographer, particularly because its most valuable property is the ability to reflect light and dazzle us with brilliant colours.

Because jewellery reflects light, one of the major problems faced by a photographer is that the item will reflect just about everything, including the photographer, the camera and the surroundings.

The best method of lighting jewellery is to use natural daylight or LED light bulbs wherever possible, and to try to use an enclosed space to ensure an even light distribution.

You can make your own simple and cheap light box enclosure from cardboard lined with tissue paper, which helps diffuse the light. An alternative could be a large cake container. Cover the outside of the box with black velvet to remove the possibility of unwanted light entering.

If you prefer to take photographs at night or when natural light is not available, you can use desk lamps fitted with LED light bulbs placed around the light box, on either side.

It is essential to use a tripod for your camera when taking photos of jewellery. Any slight tremble of your hands will show up vividly on a close up of a beautiful jewellery piece.

You also need to be familiar with your camera before you begin, in particular the white balance and macro settings. With modern digital cameras you can at least experiment to your heart’s content without wasting a deal of money on film.

If you’re not lucky enough to own a digital camera, perhaps you own a scanner attached to your computer. You can even use this to take images of flat jewellery pieces. The important tricks for using a scanner are to make sure the scanner glass is perfectly clean and protected from scratches by a clear plastic sheet. After you’ve arranged your jewellery item on the scanner plate, place a small box, slightly thicker than the jewellery on the scanner bed, but out of the area that you wish to shoot. This will make sure that the jewellery is not moved from the designed position when you close the scanner lid.

Finally place a suitable background over the jewellery, this can be a sheet of scrapbook paper, or material, then close the lid and try a pre-scan to see how the finished results will appear.

Whether you take your images with a digital camera or scanner, you may need to use photo editing software to clean up any glitches. Even this need not be expensive as there are several free, good quality photo editing software programs available online.

Shooting jewellery can be aesthetically rewarding. Not only are you beginning with a beautiful and visually intriguing subject, buy you can manipulate the background and foreground in order to create some neat scenery.

 

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