4 Secrets Of Jewelry Photography Professionals Don’t Want You To Know!

Photographing jewelry is oftentimes easier said than done, but when you have hundreds or thousands of sparkling baubles to capture on camera, that’s when things get a bit more complicated. We can all appreciate the effort and the pains that professional photographers go through in order to capture jewelry in the best light possible. In fact, even professionals agree on the fact that photographing jewelry properly is probably one of the hardest tasks. Due to the tiny nature of the designs, it is hard to manipulate and isolate small features. Even harder is capturing the depth of the stones versus the reflection of light which is where most novice photographers fail.

Knowing how and when to photograph jewelry plays a vital role in the quality of the results. Though seen as both a daunting task and a thrilling one, nothing surpasses the feeling of finishing a great photo! Below, we will describe the top four secrets provided by a photographer about achieving perfectly balanced professional quality jewelry photos at

1. Invest in the right lighting

The most common problem with photographed jewelry is the lack of proper lighting when capturing the minute details. Poor lighting will cause the images to blur and look unfocused, which is why professionals agree that tungsten lighting can help remedy this common issue. Others may use a combination of different lights as needed such as HMI, strobe, and tungsten. The only real pitfall when working with more affordable tungsten lighting is that it illuminates everything in a yellowish hue.

For amateur photographers, however, there is some silver lining. Most decently equipped cameras will come with a light balance function that allows you to change the hue of the tungsten lighting from yellow to white. Your camera can read any light source as white as long as you remain in an area with a singular source of lighting. With enough practice, you will discover that natural lighting is still fairly hard to capture based on how sunny or stormy it is outside.

2. Invest in or build your own light box

It’s crucial to diffuse light effectively when photographing sparkly gems and metals. That means a light box is an essential part of jewelry photography and no professional can do without. You can certainly invest your money into a readily made light box, but it is easy to make your own with a bit of ingenuity. For example, you can use a large plastic box or even use a cardboard box with a white interior to create a decent quality light box.

If you’re not too keen to create your own light box, consider shooting your subject outdoors. Natural lighting isn’t easily manipulated, but it can yield a number of benefits. Shooting your jewelry at either 7:30 AM or PM will ensure you get even and flattering light. If possible, try also shooting on a slightly overcast day as it can help you capture the jewelry without unnecessary glare.

3. Use a textured background for contrast

When photographing fine jewelry, most professionals either select a solid or white velvet background. However, for lower-end pieces, you can really experiment with color and texture to make your images stand out. In fact, fabric or a plain background isn’t always the answer. Colored pebbles or river rocks can offer a really sleek touch to play on faux gemstones or shiny metal components.

Of course, virtually anything is usable as a background photo prop for jewelry. From patterned scrapbooking paper to placemats from your kitchen drawer, you can use anything as long as it captures your subject matter in a flattering way. Play around with the lighting as well as your camera settings to see which background yields the best results.

4. Take the time to prepare for your photo shoot

Most novice photographers wrongly assume that taking photos of jewelry is as easy as pointing and shooting. There’s so much more to it than meets the eye, and if you genuinely want to capture jewelry in the best light possible, it’s important to prepare the proper setup.

Necklaces and bracelets are a bit easier to shoot in that they require only an object you can drape them over. However, bangle bracelets, earrings, and rings require something to hold them in place while you prepare to take the photo. Professionals often use something called jewelry wax to make their pieces appear as if they’re floating. The real downside to using wax is that it can mar surfaces and leave behind residue if careful attention isn’t paid to how the wax is handled.

A more affordable and straightforward option to consider is employing the use of white jewelry boxes along with mirrors. It’s best to employ different sized mirrors to help with the light refraction as the photographs are taken. From a mere few inches to a foot wide, the right mirrors can highlight noteworthy aspects of certain jewelry pieces and make them look even more desirable to shoppers.

Final Word On Photographing Jewelry

Jewelry by nature is fickle enough to capture on camera, but without the right accessories, it is near impossible. Apart from employing the right lighting, camera lenses, boxes, and accessories, it’s vital to prep the jewelry as well. If you’re selling vintage or second-hand pieces, you will need to adequately clean and polish the jewelry to remove smudges, tarnish or anything that may hinder your ability to photograph them in the best light possible.

Bear in mind, you’ll work to capture tiny details of the piece on camera, so every little fuzz or scratch will show up. These negative aspects of jewelry photography should never serve as a deterrent, but rather as a reminder that photographing certain products is harder than others. The shinier the surface and more faceted the stone, the more difficulty novice photographers have removing glare or unwanted lighting from their images. With enough practice and some trial and error on your part, however, you will discover that photographing jewels is not only a learning experience, but a highly rewarding one.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]