The Trick To Becoming A Better Photographer
If you’ve ever bought diamond rings online, you’ve probably noticed the simple, clear photos of the jewelry that allowed you to make an informed choice without ever having seen the jewelry. But when you finally get the gorgeous diamond ring or necklace, you may have been surprised at how hard it is to capture the sparkle of the quality diamonds or the unique luster of the pearls with a regular point and shoot camera. We all know that a major part of the fun of getting a new piece of jewelry is taking photos of it and sharing them on Facebook, Flickr, or jewelry forum websites, and it can be frustrating when the beauty of your new ring or necklace is just not coming across in your photos. Try these simple tips to improve your diamond jewelry photos—and all other kinds of photos too!
1. A good jewelry photo has sharp, crisp focus. Put your camera in “spot focus” mode, which will allow you to control the area of focus better than the camera’s default average focus setting. But even in spot focus, the camera will not lock perfectly on to a small, detailed item like a piece of jewelry, so if you know how to manually adjust your settings, use manual focus to lock into the subject.
2. No matter how steady your hands are, a tripod is an essential tool to crisp, beautiful diamond images. Although fully adjustable professional quality tripods are great, an inexpensive tabletop model will still get the job done. Setting the camera on a tripod will also allow you to set the lighting and other details with more precision.
3. Lighting is crucial to good jewelry photographs. You want a nice bright photo, of course, but using your camera’s flash will add glare, create shadows, and can obscure the entire diamond by bouncing too much light off of it. Soft, diffuse lighting works better, so light up the room with neutral-tone daylight or CFL bulbs in a natural tone. Professionals use a light tent to diffuse and distribute light evenly—you can experiment with a white sheet or another absorbent white surface for the same effect, or invest in a small light tent or box. You can even take photos outside on an overcast day for that bright but diffuse light that creates the best photos. (Really sunny days can create glare.)
4. For really gorgeous pictures with no distracting background elements, consider using a light box. You can actually make your own light box out of a cardboard box and tracing paper—instructions are available online.
5. To bring out the intense natural sparkle in quality diamonds, use a sparkler light in addition to your regular lighting. A sparkler light is a small, not-too-powerful bulb set so it shines directly into the diamond, setting off all that beautiful fire and brilliance that makes the diamond gorgeous. It can still be tricky to capture the subtle nuances of a diamond’s light performance, but this should make it easier.
6. For a more interesting photo composition, try using a tiny bead of wax to stand up small pieces of jewelry like diamond rings and pendants. When you buy rings online, you’ll notice that many show the ring seemingly magically standing in midair—this look is achieved with a tiny piece of wax adhering the ring to a hard surface. Utilizing this trick will give your diamond jewelry photos a very professional look.
7. If you really love jewelry photography, consider investing in professional style tents, backgrounds and acrylic stands. These simple tools give your photos the glossy but non-distracting backgrounds of a professional diamond photo. Without these pro accessories, be creative! Look around your house for surfaces with the right textures to serve as a background—consider a dress shirt for its tightly woven fabric, a pane of smoked glass, or even a mirror.
8. When photographing pearls, use only one light positioned above the jewelry. This will create a subtle shadow that will make each pearl look rounder, fuller, and more beautiful. Take some time to arrange the string of pearls into an interesting and eye-catching composition, instead of just setting it straight. Try coiling it into a circular shape, or winding it around a prop like a rose.
9. Once you get comfortable with jewelry photography, experiment with fun, creative backgrounds that set the mood of your photo shoot. Drape a luxurious tennis bracelet over a champagne flute and a single high heel for a decadent look, or slip a diamond ring over a single rose for a romantic feel. Incorporate everyday items like your jewelry box or even a favorite coffee mug for a quirky take on the classic engagement ring shot.