Jewelry photos can be quite a challenge, even for an experienced photographer. These 10 essential tips will help you master the technique like a pro!
Are you planning to launch an online store for selling jewelry? Maybe you have already one but are not sure how to attract a steady stream of shoppers that are interested in your items. Featuring and selling jewelry items online can be a challenge. If you’re equipped with some insider’s advice on it, however, you’ll find it more fun and easy than others do. Just to give you a sneak peak at the most important feature of an online jewelry store – it’s all about your jewelry photos.
In your product research, you likely came across online stores that were selling different kinds of accessories. Of those, jewelry happens to be one of the trickiest, but also more rewarding categories.
Unless you’re selling jewelry from a well-known brand, customers will have a wide range of questions and doubts. They will ask things like:
“Will this pair of earrings look good on me?”
“Will this necklace really stand out and attract attention when I wear it?” and…
“Is the quality of this ring worth paying for?”
There can be many more questions like these regarding the fit, feel and quality of the jewelry products you are selling in your online store.
One tried-and-true way of answering many of these questions and eliminating doubts almost immediately is by paying attention to your jewelry photos. How you photograph the jewelry items that you feature in your online store is of the utmost importance, more so than with almost any other eCommerce product.
It’s easy to get intimated by the small size and delicacy of jewelry items. Because of the tiny detail in jewelry, it’s not always easy to get a photograph to represent the beauty and detail we want. Setting up the jewelry photo with the right tools will help bring out the sparkle and shine, however. There are some essential techniques that you should follow to rock jewelry photos for your online store – and attract customers like crazy.
Setting up for great jewelry photos includes:
- A Camera with Spot Focus – To get the sharp, crisp focus that is essential for jewelry photos, consult your camera’s manual and learn how to use it’s spot focus feature. This will allow your camera to lock on to the exact area you want.
- A tripod and camera remote – Because of the tiny detail in most jewelry, absolute clarity is required. A human hand, no matter how experienced, will always have slight movement. Using a tripod, even a poor quality one, is much better than using no tripod at all. Same goes for a camera remote. The less you have to touch your camera, the better!
- Soft (diffuse) Fluorescent Lighting – Avoid camera flashes and use continuous soft fluorescent lighting or daylight lighting bulbs for jewelry photos. An added benefit of the daylight bulbs is that they don’t heat up during long photoshoots so are much more comfortable to work with.
- A Light Tent – Shadows are a frustrating problem in jewelry photos. To ensure a brilliant shine and a white, uncluttered background, consider getting a small light tent to place your pieces in. The light tent will provide fast and easy soft lighting and also help to diffuse any fluorescent lighting you may be using.
- Use Mannequin Busts – Using mannequin busts allows you to feature jewelry items in a realistic way, which is something many customers will appreciate. When using mannequin busts, you should always remember to choose the color carefully. Though you’ll usually see most jewelry items displayed on dark mannequin busts, white ones sometimes work better because they look more natural. Photograph a specific jewelry item both on black and white mannequin busts and compare the looks – and you’ll quickly find your preference. Then use that bust consistently through your site.
- Hire a Model – Yes, models are expensive. But the greatest benefit of photographing jewelry items with models is that you can try different poses or angles. This isn’t possible with mannequins. Many online stores use models because they believe it creates a deeper connection with the target audience, which is also true. Even if you have a limited budget, consider hiring a model for short session, in order to get some of your key photographs taken.
- Create Ghost Mannequins – For more elaborate pieces, ghost mannequins can quickly take your jewelry photography to the next level. What ghost mannequins do is make jewelry items look like they are floating on a human form that’s invisible. Creating ghost mannequins is an excellent way of giving large necklaces a beautiful three-dimensional form. Here’s how to create it:
* Place the piece on the mannequin
* Photograph the jewelry item from the front
* Photograph the jewelry items from the back, turned inside out
* Remove the background
* Place the front on top of the back using Photoshop
* Use a tripod
* Remember to take both photos from the same distance and angle
- Consider a Freeze Frame – If you’re looking to give the illusion of your pieces being suspended in air, a Freeze Frame may be another alternative to Ghost Mannequins. Unless you already own mannequins, many consider Freeze Frames easier to work with and less expensive than Ghost Mannequins. You can buy one, or easily make one yourself. It will allow tiny pieces of jewelry to be suspended by nearly invisible threads, which will both anchor it in place and make it look frozen in mid air. These frames are great for avoiding shadows, as well.
Use Cardboard – When you’re on a budget, cardboard can be a good replacement for mannequins, Freeze Frames, or busts. Collect a piece of cardboard and cover it with white paper. Then simply use it like a jewelry clipboard. Just pin the ends of the necklace to the back – and photograph!
- Take a Few Closeups – Full-frame product images don’t necessarily show the details or the texture of a jewelry product. But customers love looking at the details before they can make a purchase decision. What you can do is take a couple of close ups and share it with the larger image of the product you are featuring. You can take close ups of tiny stones, joints, patterns – anything that you think customers will want to check out.
Contrary to what most online store owners think, photographing jewelry can actually be easy and fun. Since jewelry products are small, you won’t even need to have a large studio setup. Use the tips and guidelines above to take your jewelry photography to the next level, create eye-catching images, attract more customers, and increase your sales. Even amateur photographers will take excellent jewelry photos with the right setup!