Why are taking professional, high-quality jewellery photos important?
As with any professional business, it’s in your interest to display the products in their best light and since a photo is a form of visual communication, I believe that makes the first impression. Like when meeting a person, a client forms their first impression of you within 7-17 seconds. Clients will get to know your brand and style on social media platforms, therefore, it is integral to have professional visual content that makes a good first impression.
How would you describe your photographic style?
As with anything in life, taking macro photos of jewellery is ever changing. This is my focus with my brand as well as I always reflect the style of the piece of jewellery I’m photographing. That said, there are a few key elements that form part of my foundation, such as soft light and a whimsical radiance.
How do you enhance a gemstone’s natural sparkle?
Light is key. I try to avoid shadows and dark backgrounds. Stella Uys Photography taught me to always focus on one of the main stone claws to achieve that crisp clarity… and a little bit of Prestic as my wingman. All jokes aside, as with any photo, your focal point needs to be precise and the open (white) spaces should not be too much.
Being a jewellery designer, I always capture a piece of jewellery from various angles. Make sure your aperture is set correctly when taking photos of engraving or side details. The golden ratio still applies as with any photograph.
How do you keep things smudge and dust-free?
I always keep my jewellery in boxes – polished and cleaned. Prior to a shoot, I will clean the surfaces with a dry cloth before shooting as I do not do much editing on my photos. Watch out for the dreaded fingerprints on the stones and metal surfaces.
I recommend servicing and cleaning all jewellery prior to taking photos.
What gear do you use and why?
The Canon 7D Mark II camera body and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens. Gunther at Outdoorphoto recommended the lens. You can really get close to the jewellery and play around with the aperture. The fast shutter speed of the lens eases the task of taking macro photos. I do not have much time to take photos of jewellery, so the lens helps a lot with taking great close up shots.
What lighting gear do you use?
For a while, I used natural light along with my cellphone light which worked well. (We all need to start somewhere, right!) I then purchased a photo lightbox from Outdoorphoto a while ago and it elevated the quality and overall professionalism of the photos. I will remove slight shadows in Lightroom if needed. I still prefer to keep a bit of character to the photos though – I want my clients to see the rings as they are.
Do you use any props to get the shot?
I am giving away some of my best secrets here… I love to use glass and beautiful papers underneath the jewellery. The soft reflection from the glass works phenomenally. My latest go-to props are fabrics which I place underneath the glass for some soft texture. Props such as velvet ring boxes and dainty flowers are always fun to shoot with. Incorporating wedding stationery is also becoming a huge trend especially amongst wedding photographers. Use accessories that speak to you and that compliment the overall aesthetic feel of the jewellery piece. It is, however, important to understand that the props should never overpower the main focal point, which is the jewellery.
Do you have any tips for other jewellery photographers?
Talk to your client prior to taking photos of their jewellery and ask them more about what makes their most precious jewellery so special. Discuss the photos with jewellers (we have different outlooks on jewellery). Learn from someone who is better than you: Without Stella Uys Photography and Gunther from Outdoorphoto, I wouldn’t be able to take the quality photos that I am taking now. I still send photos to Stella from time to time to ask for feedback. As we all know, there is always room for growth and exploration in art.