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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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:
And here is the final image of the 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:
Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.