Diamond Rings Jewellery Photography

Whether you’re looking to photograph a $50 dollar pair of handcrafted earrings or a $15 000 diamond ring for an advertising campaign, knowing how to photograph jewellery is a useful skill for any photographer.

This product photography class provides solutions to some of the most common challenges associated with jewellery photography, including controlling reflections on shiny surfaces and working at close magnification.

Challenges:

  • Controlling reflection on shiny surfaces
  • How to light small objects on a white background
  • Getting sufficient depth of field at high magnification
  • Best camera settings for product photography

Solutions:

  • Create a light cone to remove reflections
  • Gradient light with pockets of light to highlight key areas
  • Use focus stacking to get the whole image sharp
  • Select a small aperture for maximum depth of field, low ISO and highest sync speed

You can watch the retouching process and focus stacking technique for this shoot in the accompanying post-production class.


To overcome the problem of unwanted reflections, I created a light cone, which I placed over the rings. This blocked out any reflections and allowed me to create that graduated lighting that is so great for jewellery photography.

Creating a light cone for jewellery photography

Creating a light cone to reduce reflections on the rings.

The next step was to light the rings. I started with my fill light (a bare bulb point light source), before gradually adding a few more to highlight key elements and add some extra sparkle. Although I used picolites with projection attachments for this shoot, you could achieve the same effect with a tight snoot.

Lighting setup for jewellery photography

The effect of each individual light.

The final stage of the shoot was the focus stack. Even though I was shooting at a small aperture, I couldn’t get sufficient depth of field due to the high magnification. Before I could start my focus stack, I had to finalise my lighting and ensure my camera was locked down (I use my Manfrotto Super Salon, but any sturdy tripod will work). Working in manual focus, I then took a series of images shifting the focus from the front (the diamond) to the back (my background surface).

Here you can see the first image of the focus stack, with the focus on the front of the diamond ring:

Focus stack for jewellery photography

The first image in the rings focus stack.

And here is the final image of the focus stack:

Focus stack for jewellery photography

The last image in the rings focus stack.

In the above image, the last of the focus stack, the focus point is at the base of the ring. I took a total of 12 images to ensure my whole image would be sharp.

Once I’d completed the focus stack, the next step was to put it all together in Photoshop. You can learn how I did that here.

The final image:

Rings photography final image

The final image of the rings jewellery shoot.


If you enjoy this class, check out Gemstone Necklace Photoshoot, Diamond Necklace Photoshoot, and Zenith Watch Product Shoot.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.

Comments

  1. Hi Karl thank for the amazing video …if we need to do an eye level(front,side ) shot of the Jewellery is the set up is different or the same

    Thanks

  2. Hello Team!

    Thank you for your amazing content; these videos have been extremely helpful! I do have some questions though…

    1. When focus stacking, is it better to mount the camera on a rail and move it forward incrementally between each photo, or better to rotate the the focus ring on the lens? Sony a7rIII w/ 90mm Macro.

    2. I have more of a an “on-the-go” setup since my clients like me to photograph their products at their location. Do you have any lighting, light box, tripod recommendations for me? My tripod is especially sensitive when I touch my camera to rotate the focus ring and I’m afraid this is resulting in lower quality photos. (By the way, I have access to a 3D printer, so I can essentially print attachments that can direct light for any small light sources you might recommend).

    As a side note, while I don’t want to spend too much money on my whole setup, I am willing to push my budget up to $8,000 – $10,000 (including the camera & lens which already ran about $4,400).

    Thank you for the amazing work you all do!

    Regards,
    Admon

    1. Hi Admon, thank you for your kind words. Answers to your questions below:
      1. That is a method that some people employ for focus stacking and it can be useful as it reduces the change in magnification that occurs when changing focus. However it is not a technique I have found necessary as Helicon does such a good job of adjusting and merging the images when they are taken with focus adjustments only.
      2. For location work I use the very heavy Manfrotto 058B tripod with a junior geared head or a good ball head. Other similar tripods from Manfrotto or their sister brand may exist although alot of them now have gone towards lighter weight carbon fibre. But generally you should be aiming for tripods that are designed to take heavier loads as these are the most stable.
      3. For the lighting and good brand of lights from Godox, Elinchrom to Broncolor should be good it comes down often to the modifiers that you are going to use and which ones you need comes down to the type of photography you need to do. As you will see in many of our product tutorials often bare bulb with scrims are used, stripbox and grids are common and the Octabox 150 is a good allrounder but not great to dismantle and setup each time so you may want to consider a good diffusing umbrella might be easier for you.
      Kind regards
      Karl.

  3. Hey Karl,

    I’ve just subscribed to your education. I’m a fan.

    I wish to make the CONE, and I can not find all items. Paper + Plastic

    Do you have any links for buying these?

    Big thanks

    1. Hi thank you, it’s just LEE216 diffusion paper (or you can use architects tracing paper) and it is sitting on top of a clear acetate sheet that you can usually buy from art stores.

  4. Hello Karl,

    I’ve just subscribed to your education. I’m a big fan.

    I was wondering if you can help me in order to find these items on a webstore. Can not find in France …

    I would like to make the CONE, and I can not find any of these items in a store. Paper + Plastic

    Do you have any recommendations? or links to provide for buying these?

    Big thanks

  5. Hi Karl,
    Thanks for the great video! Quick question regarding the set up: I assume it’s glue you used to hold the rings in place. How did you get it off the table top and rings? Any special care or product you had to use?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Francky, yes a hot glue gun and I’ve not had any tarnishing problems. I suppose you could wait for the glue to cool slightly before fixing. You can see us applying the glue with a stick from the glue gun at the start of the video instead of directly.

  6. Hi! What kind of lights should I use? I don’t have all the materials you have for lighting, but I don’t know what lights I should use?

    1. Hi, what sort of lights options do you have? Speedlites, studio lights maybe even more economic ones such as Godox or Elinchrom or continuous LED lights?

  7. Hey karl great videos , what can i do to get 1 jewelry to focus stack with less images to stack? i shoot closly to the “ring” so the image will be as sharp as i can , and the camera is standing in front of it , at a straight and surface level . not like you did in the video , it can turn up to 100 photos if i am not increase th f stop , but when i increase it the sharpness decreases aswell .

    1. Hi Hilelkashi, Why do you need to shoot ‘less images’ for the photo stack? If you have set the shot up and you have your camera on a tripod it is very easy to shoot 4, 6, 10 or however many images are necessary for the focus stack. Software such as Helicon puts the stack together for you in a matter of seconds?

          1. The jewelry i shoot takes most of my 77D frame so it will be as sharp , and im with a 100m lens , i use around f8 and 1/200 shutter speed since its the limit when im with the flash probes, and the minimum of photos i take is 60.

            Thanks for answering if you have any tips ill be glad , i saw a proffesional shooting jewelry he was shooting from way higher and tilted camera downwards , i shoot with the camera straight at the jewelry’a hight.

  8. Dear karl,
    thats a very helpful video , i have an important question and im urged to get an answer , why didnt you consider using a product box ? the one thats lit with white led from inside , . also know as photo studio box . im about to work in jewlery photography and i need to finalize whether if its more convenient for me to use a photo box or a cone just like you did(which might be a little bit of a hassle ) as i need to save time and produce a rather consistent group of images
    Thanks in advance ,

    1. Hi, I don’t find they have enough level of control for me to adjust my lighting. Also generally speaking some LED’s don’t reproduce the full range of colour in objects unless they have a very high CRI. There are some expensive jewellery only photography box solutions that I’ve seen that do work well though but I think they were about $2000.

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