Jewelry photo before and after

Your Basic Guide to Jewelry Retouching in Photoshop

When it comes to product photography, you’ll want results that realistically show the best parts of your product. For jewelry pieces, this means highlighting the natural shine and luxury of each piece. While having a skilled product photographer or jewelry photographer can help, using the best jewelry retouching techniques can enhance your images. That’s why knowing how to edit jewelry photos in Photoshop to achieve naturally stunning results.

For beginners in jewelry retouching, it’s important to know the basics of the most common tools used in Photoshop jewelry editing. Here’s our guide to some of the basics to help you improve your jewelry photo editing service and build your portfolio of product photography.

Toggling the Lighting Settings

Your first step is to use the lighting settings. If you’re using multiple programs, we recommend doing these edits on Adobe Lightroom, especially if you’re using presets. Lightroom offers more features to help you adjust these settings. You can also do these changes and jewelry retouching in Photoshop.

Start by uploading your image to Photoshop and select the adjustment layer. From there, you can edit the contrast and brightness. If you’re a beginner, you might have to play around with the toggles until you get your achieved result. Brightness affects the lightness of the image, making the overall image (or a selected section) brighter. Contrast, on the other hand, adjusts the difference between the lightest and darkest colors of your image, so this can affect the amount of detail you can see.

From there, you can edit the other factors that affect the overall quality of your image, such as color balance and levels. We recommend doing these first before moving onto jewelry editing in Photoshop that erases blemishes. Once you’ve achieved the right settings, you can move onto the next steps of jewelry retouching.

Edit the Metals and Stones Accordingly

One thing that sets jewelry photography apart from product photography in general is how lighting can be a bit more complex. This can almost always lead to additional steps when editing jewelry photos in Photoshop. The best lighting and other settings for the luxury metals of a piece isn’t always the same best settings for the gem stones. As a result, you might need to separate all the elements of each piece, create new layers per element, and then edit them individually until you get their best appearance.

Once you’ve enhanced the brilliance and shine of each element, you can use the feathering tool to blend them all together for a cohesive appearance. The finished result should be one where both the metals and stones of your jewelry shine their best and allow customers to view even the smallest, most intricate details on your piece.

Removing Unwanted Blemishes and Dust

During photography, it’s a good practice to polish your jewelry to minimize the dust and blemishes that can appear in the photo. This is to minimize the risk of even the smallest flaw getting overlooked during post-production. However, there may be some unavoidable flaws that happen during production, such as fingerprints, scratches, and any dust in the room or on the jewelry pieces. With jewelry retouching in Photoshop, you can erase these blemishes down to the last pixel.

Photoshop has a number of tools that can help you remove unwanted spots. These include the Spot Healing Brush, the Clone Stamp Tool, and the Healing Brush. The Spot Healing Brush is best for dust on wider surface areas, while the Healing Brush is best for the edges of your jewelry piece. The Clone Stamp Tool is best for flaws in larger areas that can be replicated by another part of the photo. For example, if there’s a flaw on one side of a ring’s band, you might be able to find another area where you can copy the spot and then warp it over the flaw for a cleaner finish.

Creating or Modifying the Shadows

Marshall Troy Edited

Shadows play a small but significant role in your image. A natural-looking shadow gives your image a three-dimensional depth, rather than looking flat against any background. One mistake beginner editors tend to make is to delete all the visible shadows, making the piece look flat and dull. However, a good practice in jewelry retouching in Photoshop is to either modify the existing shadows on the image or create a natural looking shadow.

Modifying existing shadows is the much easier option. If there were additional light sources, there may be multiple shadows that can affect the quality of your image. It’s possible to remove distracting shadows or enhance the shadows you want to keep to give it more depth.

On the other hand, creating new shadows that have a realistic and natural appearance may require a higher level of skill. However, it’s a skill worth building early on as a photo editor to provide a full range of photo manipulation services.

Editing Your Background

Once you’ve retouched your jewelry, you can start editing the rest of your image, such as the background. For jewelry photography, it’s common to have your pieces against a plain white background, which can be added in post-production or created during a photoshoot using a white background or lightbox.

A white background is a good image to have for any jeweler’s arsenal of image assets. These are the photos that are best used on your online store, product page, or online catalogue since it allows customers to examine the details and compare your products without any distracting backgrounds. Depending on your brand’s aesthetic, you can also use other neutral background colors like gray, beige, or black, depending on the aesthetic and style of your brand and of your piece.

If you’re opting for a creative background for images to use on social media and ads, you can add this in during photography or added in during retouching. Use a theme, props, or any background that matches your branding while also highlighting the best features of your jewelry.

Adjusting the Ratio, Resolution, and Image Size

Finally, the last thing you should do is make sure your cropping, image size, and resolution are consistent with all the other jewelry photos. This is a step that’s often overlooked when using Photoshop to touch-up pictures, which can affect the consistency and overall results when the images are used on a jeweler’s website, online store, or ads.

When cropping the image, you don’t want to crop too much to the point that the shadows are awkwardly cut. Avoid cropping to the point that you’re only a few pixels away from the edge of your jewelry from all sides. White space isn’t always a bad thing, especially when you’re leaving a consistent amount of space for all your images. This uniformity can make your jeweler’s catalog of products more consistent, as the image sizes are the same. Maintaining a uniform size also prevents others from resizing your image down the line, which can warp the jewelry’s proportions and affect the overall quality and consistency.

What to Avoid When Editing Jewelry Photos in Photoshop

These are some of the best practices when retouching jewelry photography. However, it’s also important to know the practices to avoid. Here are some of the common mistakes beginners tend to make when editing jewelry photos.

  • Distracting Background and Props – if you’re creating the background in post-production, make sure that it complements or highlights the jewelry piece, not take attention away from it. Avoid adding in flashy props or accessories that can be eye-catching. A good rule of thumb is to limit your props up to three items in every shot.
  • Forgetting to Retouch Reflections – one of those unavoidable flaws that come up during photography is when a jewelry is made of reflective materials, like any luxury metal. As a result, the metal tends to catch the reflection of the photographer or anything around it during the shoot, which can then be overlooked in post-production.
  • Overly Retouched Images – the most crucial part of jewelry retouching in Photoshop is knowing when to stop. Too much editing can make your image look unnatural, cheap, and unprofessional. This could cost a jeweler their potential customers who are put off by the images. Luxury jewelry is beautiful on its own. Editing jewelery photos in Photoshop is only meant to enhance the natural beauty of the jewelry, not create it entirely. 

Get High-Quality Jewelry Images with Paper Boat Creative

By following these best practices, you can take the first steps towards stunning jewelry photography. When you want to bring out the best of your jewelry into your images, photography is just the first part of achieving great photos. Have a professional team of editors deliver quality images when you partner with Paper Boat Creative.

At Paper Boat Creative, our team can use our professional editing magic to make your pieces stand out. We have editors skilled in the latest editing software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for jewelry editing and retouching services for other types of products. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.

Work With Us

We’re here to edit any kind of image you have. Big or small, short or tall, a few images or ALL, we’re the team that you can call.
Experience unmatched dedication to quality and service and find out why some of the world’s most recognized brands choose to work with us!

Scroll to Top