Photographing Jewelry

Good product photos are critical for being able to clearly communicate what is for sale. 

And they are indeed, one of my biggest challenges. 

I photograph jewelry that is a mix of metal, glass, and stone.  Much of it has reflective surfaces and some of it is absolutely not.  Lots of semi-precious stones, like blue sandstone, and members of the Tiger Eye family have life that sparkles in the reaction to light. A light you have to catch. just. right.  For some stones, their appeal is in how they play with light, how they transform it- things that are exceptionally hard to capture. 

I started on the dining room table, with natural light when possible.  But we have moved into the grey days here in Indiana, and sufficient natural light is rare. 

I knew I needed a good way to shoot them in artificial light, without getting horrid reflections and glare. 

Our makerspace had a product lightbox donated, and I experimented with that the day after Thanksgiving. 

Lightbox setup at SHAK Makerspace

While the picture were not reflective and were low on shadows ( a big achievement), one light was out and the replacement light gave a distinct color shift in all of my photos.  In the picture above, the base is actually a grey cloth, but in all the photos it ( and all the jewelry shot) shifted to tan.  

It was a real problem for about half the jewelry I shot that day, the colors in the photos were just not accurately representing real life. 

Today, David reminded me that years ago we had a green screen setup and there were some glare free light setups in that kit.  I dug them out of the bottomless closet in the hall, set them off and did more shooting in the dining room today.  I am leaving it set up for more shooting tomorrow ( as we prepare for cyber monday around here).  I am MUCH happier with the color quality in the photos, but there is slightly more shadow.  I think I need to move them out of the dinning room, and set up with a different angle on the lights.  For now, good enough. 

Photography setup at home

We have now entered the meta phase of making art by photographing the wearable art… 

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