How to Capture the Beauty of Fine Jewelry

Fine jewelry evokes feelings of luxury and opulence. Buying jewelry is an emotional process due to the association with the person for whom the customer is buying it. For jewelry designers with e-commerce platforms, where customers cannot physically interact with your product, conveying an emotional feel through your jewelry product photos is essential. It's no secret customers are naturally drawn to beautiful images, with customers who buy luxury jewelry expecting a grand experience, from the first time they see your product online or in print to the second they present, unbox and wear it.


Professional product photography is especially crucial in the luxury jewelry industry. Social media and smartphone use are steadily increasing every year, barraging customers with product images. E-commerce companies only have between seven to eight seconds to attract a customer to view their online store before they move on. This statistic highlights the fact that your product photos need to stand out for customers to ultimately choose your brand. Having studio-quality jewelry product images should be a priority for any jeweler who uses a print advertising or e-commerce platform.

Fine jewelry is tough to photograph correctly, due to its reflective properties and fine details. With the advances in smartphone camera quality, many retailers may be tempted to use their smartphones to take product photos. The truth is, subpar jewelry product photos can hurt your brand's image and dissuade potential customers. Hiring a photographer for luxury brands makes all the difference when showcasing your jewelry, and is one area where you don't want to cut corners. Photographers with expertise in working with luxury jewelry designers can effectively capture both your brand's image and the beauty of your products.


Capturing Your Jewelry Brand's Image

The luxury jewelry industry heavily relies upon the aspects of superiority, uniqueness and prestige to market products. Professional, studio-quality photos are vital to conveying your brand's message, highlighting the quality of your jewelry and bridging the gap between your product and the viewer. Quality photos are perhaps the biggest influencer when it comes to potential customers, especially when advertising in print and online. The goal is to entice them to want to buy your jewelry by convincing them your brand and products are worth the money.

Product photography, as the name suggests, is different from other types of photography in the fact that it showcases and sells a product. Jewelry product photography requires the use of special techniques that capture the beauty and fine details of your jewelry, while conveying your brand. Having a consistent look for all your product photos is an effective way to promote your brand image. To achieve this consistency, your lighting, camera settings, product position and equipment must be consistent for each product photo shoot.

When photographing jewelry, having a live model wear each piece helps showcase how the jewelry looks on, and is a great way to help establish size and scale. Using models can also help build your brand image and appeal to your ideal customer. While it can be expensive to employ models to display your jewelry, it is another important detail that is well worth the cost. Live models require precise styling to ensure details such as hair or makeup don't distract from the product.

Since jewelry designers are busy with the day-to-day aspects of running a successful business, it doesn't leave much time for things such as scoping out locations, acquiring talent and staging, shooting and editing product photos. Partnering with a professional product photographer who shares your vision of perfection, fine detail and luxury and has vast knowledge and expertise in the luxury jewelry industry ensures your jewelry product photos will always look polished, consistent and in line with your brand image. They also have an expert team of stylists, hair and makeup artists and other professionals at the ready to make your brand and product photos shine.


What Goes Into Luxury Jewelry Photography?

One of the most challenging aspects of photographing luxury jewelry is capturing its detail. Most jewelry pieces, including rings, earrings and necklaces, are small with fine detail. Using the proper equipment, lighting and photography techniques is essential to achieving high-quality jewelry product photos. Unclear or blurry photographs can make potential consumers wary that your product may be hiding flaws or may not look as beautiful in person. In a market where online shopping is increasingly popular, a substantial 41 percent of online consumers worry the product they purchase will not look the same in person. Here are the factors that go into photographing luxury jewelry.

1. Correctly Styling Each Piece

There are many different types of jewelry, each possessing distinctive details and features. Each type also has unique challenges when being photographed.

  • Necklaces: With necklace photos, it's essential to represent the size and scale of the piece, how it falls and how it looks around a neck. Photographers can accomplish this by using a necklace stand or a live model to wear it. It's also vital to photograph all the little details such as the clasp and bail.

  • Rings: Rings are notoriously difficult to photograph due to their small and intricate details and design, which make it difficult to photograph rings so the entire piece is in focus. If not expertly photographed, blurry back shafts and facets can result. A soft shadow underneath adds dimension and focus.

  • Earrings: Earrings are some of the smallest and most challenging pieces of jewelry to photograph. Using an earring stand or a live model helps properly represent their size and scale. Since it can be particularly difficult to properly photograph long, dangling earrings, it's best to turn the task over to an experienced jewelry product photographer who knows how to lay out the earrings so both tiny studs and long chandeliers show nicely.

  • Pearls: Genuine pearls are beautiful gifts of nature whose luster is almost impossible to capture in a photograph. Careful lighting setup and camera angles can bring out the natural shine of the pearls, while avoiding issues with their reflective properties. As with rings, a soft shadow under your pearls helps add dimension.

  • Diamond and gemstone jewelry: Diamonds are extremely alluring, since they sparkle when the wearer moves. Capturing the sparkle of fine diamonds and other faceted gemstones is key to grabbing the viewer's attention. It can be quite difficult to capture in a still photograph, since motion enhances the sparkle. Experienced jewelry photographers have special lighting that adds sparkle to your jewelry pieces and brings out the brilliance and fire of the diamonds without producing a glare.

2. Having the Proper Equipment and Skill

An experienced product photographer who has the proper equipment and is knowledgeable about what settings, camera angles and product setups will best capture your brand's aesthetic and bring out the real beauty of each piece in keeping with your brand image. Professional product photographers have experience with the following.

  • Equipment: From cameras, lenses and tripods to lighting setups, props and displays professional product photographers have all the equipment ready to go and know how to use it to best capture the fine details of your jewelry.

  • Lighting: Proper lighting adds dimension to your jewelry and makes all the difference between your product photos looking professional or poor. An experienced luxury jewelry photographer knows the proper lighting to use for different types of jewelry. They have equipment such as lightboxes and lighting setups and the knowledge to properly set it up so there are no dark shadows or harsh light.

  • Product staging: Jewelry can be tough to stage properly. Using the right props effectively showcases your jewelry and adds creativity without distracting from the main focus. Professional product photographers can aesthetically style your jewelry to get just the right layout and know all the tips and tricks, such as removing the props in the final retouching, to achieve stunning results.

  • Camera angles: Camera angles matter. Photographing your jewelry from various angles helps customers see all the fine details and also helps them determine the scale and size of each piece. Professional photographers know the camera angles that will achieve natural shadows to make photos look realistic and keep the viewer's focus on the proper area of the jewelry piece. They also have the expertise to keep all your images scaled the same across your product line, since you can't always photograph jewelry — especially earrings — to actual size.

  • Backgrounds: The background against which you get your jewelry photographed dramatically affects how your audience reacts to your brand and images. Professional product photographers know how to choose a background that will complement the fine detail of the jewelry without being distracting. Using the proper backdrop in your jewelry product images allows customers to easily browse your online store and can significantly increase your product's conversion rate.

  • Post-production: Even the best jewelry photos need editing. Professional photographers are experts at using editing software to retouch photos so they look polished and clean. Adjusting the contrast, correcting the color so both metals and gemstones have the correct tone, fixing flaws such as glare and shadows and cropping photos for the various places they may appear are all photo editing techniques best left to a professional.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Photographing Jewelry

Mistakes are easy to make when photographing jewelry, resulting in poor-quality product photos. While you can improve your photography technique with time and practice, photos that don't accurately represent your brand and products can end up costing you sales and customers. Working with a professional product photographer is the best way to avoid these common mistakes, which include the following.

  • Poor lighting: Without proper lighting, stones and metals can look discolored, lose their vibrancy and even look like entirely different stones and metals. Soft and diffused lighting is excellent for photographing jewelry, with certain jewelry types and stones looking better under certain lighting. Your lighting should make your jewelry appear sparkly and three-dimensional instead of flat and dull.

  • Distracting backgrounds: Photographing your jewelry on a white background not only brings out the fine details, but also makes your website look uniform and refined. It also establishes a sense of quality and trust with your potential customers, since it shows them you're not hiding any product flaws behind busy backgrounds and blurry photography. White backgrounds make your photos appear professional, clean and sophisticated, allowing the jewelry's fine details to take center stage, while distracting backgrounds can deter potential customers.

  • Uncontrolled reflections: The reflective quality of most jewelry causes it to absorb the colors around it, making it very challenging to photograph. In jewelry product photos, reflections can appear as flaws. Since you don't want your customers thinking your jewelry is less than perfect, controlling product reflection is essential.

  • Dirty, dusty jewelry: It's imperative to polish and clean your jewelry before a photo shoot, since dust, smudges and fingerprints are easy to see in an enlarged photo. Wearing cotton gloves while handling and shooting jewelry is an effective way to combat smudges and fingerprints.

  • Not having enough product images: In e-commerce where customers can't physically view and handle the piece, having as many different views and camera angles as possible is essential. Including many different detailed images increases the likelihood of potential customers purchasing your product. It's also crucial to have at least one in-context photo showing the product in use to help determine scale.

  • Image inconsistency: You want to be sure all your product photos look consistent across your entire website or print catalog, and that your product photo looks the same as the actual product. Since even the savviest customer doesn't always read product descriptions, they depend upon the product photo to know precisely what to expect when their order arrives.

  • Poor post-production: Having quality post-production software doesn't guarantee your photos will look great after being edited. Poorly retouched product photos look unnatural and can destroy your customers' trust. They can misrepresent your product, causing customers not to buy it or be unhappy upon receiving a product that looks much different in person than in the product photo.

  • Not working with a luxury brand photographer: Even if you have all the right equipment, your jewelry photos won't look professional if you lack the expertise to use it correctly. The most expensive cameras, lighting and software will fail to produce quality photos if the photographer doesn't have the necessary skills. Working with a photographer who specializes in photographing luxury brands and who oversees everything from location scouting to post-production ensures your jewelry product images will be high-quality, consistent and in line with your brand image.

Luxury Jewelry Photographer Mark DeLong

Whether you want still photographs or a video that captures the elegant sparkle of your jewelry, luxury designer photographer Mark DeLong can create beautiful images that showcase the high quality of your brand. As a photographer for luxury jewelry designers, he applies his careful attention to detail and involvement in all product phases from pre-production to editing and delivery of the final product, so you can be sure your website or print publications will look polished and professional while highlighting your brand image. Through client-photographer collaboration and the ability to understand the client's vision and needs, the Mark DeLong Photography team will flawlessly manage all the production details of your next project. Call for a quote today to bring your brand image vision to life.