Choosing the correct camera for Jewelry Photography

Photographing jewelry for ecommerce is a tricky craft, but once perfected, can look stunning.  It’s a fine balance of knowing how to do correct lighting, enhancing the gems and metal on the luxury item, and using the right tools to get it done well.

Close up:

Now, unlike most other things you can photograph for ecommerce like hats, shoes, bags, tshirts and gifts, jewelry is exceptionally difficult because it’s so TINY! It’s teeny tiny. The diamonds, gemstones and detailing can be only millimeters big.

When you shoot with a standard low end camera and lens, you might get a photo that looks decent, on the viewfinder of your camera. By “standard low end”, I mean a kit camera that people might purchase without much thought on jewelry itself. So they might shoot with incorrect lenses like a 50mm or 70-105mm lens. The camera itself might only process photos with a maximum resolution of about 4000 pixels wide.

Here’s an example of that. Looks fine, right? Maybe if you’re only using it for Instagram.

However, if you zoom in any closer, you’ll see it’s incredibly pixellated and the detail is lost.

There are two reasons why this is problematic.  One is obviously because you don’t want to show your customers bad detail, especially not on something as precious as a diamond.

The other reason is, it’s much much harder to retouch.  Fixing a blurry picture will, well, still create blurry results.  The foundation of the photograph must be incredibly strong, so that the photo retouch detailing can also be very accurate.

Here’s an example of a ring in close up, unedited, where you can see the detail is getting lost already.  This is why it’s utterly important to have tools that can capture those beautiful gems! They’re worth it!

And here’s the best we can possibly do to eid the photo.  If the foundation is not strong, the edit will also be imperfect.  We’ll always do our best to edit a jewelry photo as best as we can, however, the level of fixing can only go so far before we have to pull out our bigger tricks of actually painting over the object.

Too often, clients just view the photographs in a small resolution, and expect a miracle in the photo editing.  Though, admittedly we are quite miraculous with our image editing techniques, we can save you a lot of time and money by giving you the right tips on shooting it properly.

A single ring, because it was photographed incorrectly, now takes the whole team a lot of time to fix later on.  You can see all the layers needed to fix this one little engagement ring.

So when you are asking your photo retoucher to fix the detailing of your jewelry picture, you need to make sure you’ve checked a few things

Make sure you have photographed the jewelry:

✓ with a professional digital camera with at least 15 Megapixels in size.  We personally would recommend a much higher power like 45 – 65 Megapixels. (remember, you’ll be able to grab a lot more tiny detail if you use the right tool)

✓ The lens used is a sharp, clean and well maintained macro lens.  A macro lens around 105mm should do the job.  We cannot stress enough on the lens being well maintained.  Lenses over time loses its sharpness if they’re continually used. You do NOT want to lose detail on the cuts of your diamond during the image editing process. So, do yourself a favor and invest in a good lens, or hire a photographer who has the correct lens for what you need.

✓ The lighting must be using studio lighting.  Ignore any amateur photographer who boasts of his video lights. When you’re shooting very tiny objects, you need very strong light.  If you’re blessed with sunlight then, you might not need such strong lighting.  But, in order to keep things look consistent and controlled, ample lighting will be needed.

Most professional photographers use at least two studio lights for still life photography.

✓ The item must be completely still.  Rings, earrings and necklaces can be so wobbly, so make sure there is absolutely no movement while the shoot is going on. Glue it down or use clear fishing wire, if you must!

✓ The camera too, must be completely still. Make sure it’s photographed on a sturdy tripod.  Any tiny shake can create a blur in your item

Check these boxes, and let us pull up the photos to look dazzling.  Then you can enjoy beautiful, high resolution photographs for your marketing materials!


If you’re interested to have some free demo retouching work of your jewelry photos, please send us a message and we’ll do our best to make them shine and sparkle!

Send us an email at [email protected]

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