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.


To read more about to photograph jewellery, visit our blog post where you’ll learn my top tips for jewellery photography. If you’re interested in watching more jewellery photography classes, I’ve put together a selection of courses you’ll find helpful below.

If you have any questions, please post in the comment section below.

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.

Comments

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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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