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Jewelry Retouching Techniques for Your Product Photos

Many product photographers can capture the best angles and features of an item. But when it comes to products like jewelry, catching the natural color, shine, and glimmer that’s a signature of high-end jewelry can be a challenge. To enhance the luxurious appearance of jewelry, many photographers require the help of jewelry image retouching. But enhancing the natural beauty of jewelry can be a delicate procedure, and achieving that stunning shine requires expert image enhancement services that can deliver the quality your discerning customers expect.

To stand out in a market of established and independent jewelers, you’ll want your jewelry photos to look their best. Here are some of the jewelry retouching techniques that we recommend to bring out the natural shimmer of your metals and the sparkle of your gemstones – as well as some of the practices to avoid.

Use a White Background

While some advertisers may use more luxurious backgrounds for ads, you can’t go wrong with a plain white background for e-commerce pages, catalogs, and other publicity materials that need the audience to focus on the product rather than the brand as a whole. A white background offers simplicity, which contrasts with the luxurious appearance of your jewelry and allows your customers to focus on the product itself. Many customers will want to examine the tiniest details of your product, and this is best done by providing clean photos of your product.

Now, here’s a mistake some photographers make: they take a picture of their jewelry on a white set, enhance the brightness, and call it a day. While there was some editing involved, this doesn’t take out the shadows and other elements that can affect the quality of your photos. You’ll want your photo manipulation services to create a crisp, endless white background with nothing that can distract your customers from the product.

Create Different Paths and Layers for Metals and Stones

The way luxury metals reflect light is different from how gemstones react to light. During post-production, the settings that best highlight the appearance of metals aren’t necessarily the best settings for the stones. To ensure the settings for both are optimal, create separate paths and layers for all the different elements of your jewelry.

Separate the stones, the different types of metals, and the shadows onto different layers. From there, zoom you can feather these elements together while creating the right settings for each of them to create a better image. If you’ve gone with a white background, you can use this to your advantage by highlighting the best features of your jewelry and allowing your customers to see even the smallest details since each element has been enhanced.

Use Both Brightness and Contrast

Play around with the use of brightness and contrast until you get the ideal results. Brightness can show the details in areas that aren’t as clear because of natural shadows. However, it can oversaturate certain areas and cause lighter areas to fade and lose their detail. Contrast, on the other hand, adds vibrancy and deepens the colors. This can highlight the smallest details in contrast to its surrounding colors.

Again, be sure to use multiple paths and layers as these settings can vary for the metals and gemstones. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, so play around with the settings until you find the combination that highlights the best features of your jewelry.

Watch Out for Blemishes and Reflections

A good practice for jewelry photography is to polish your jewelry before photographing. But during the process, there may be some issues that are either unavoidable or difficult to see until you’ve captured the image and notice the smallest details. This can be distracting or negatively affect the quality of your jewelry. For instance, you may notice some fingerprints, scratches, and dust particles affecting the smoothness of your jewelry. And since some types of metals can shine, it’s possible to see reflections of items outside of the shot. The same can apply to gemstones, especially clear ones like diamonds that can capture the color of things around them. This can create poor reflection quality that can be distracting and mar the quality of your jewelry.

To get the best jewelry photo retouching results, it’s important to know which photo editing tools in programs like Photoshop to use. For instance, the Spot Healing Brush Tool is best for dust on broad surface areas, while the Healing Brush Tool is best for the edges. The Patch Tool is best for blemishes in areas you can easily replicate in other parts of the photo. As for reflections, you may have to use a combination of these tools and color correction.

Don’t Erase All Your Shadows

One mistake some editors make when creating jewelry images on white backgrounds is to remove all the shadows your jewelry makes. While some shadows should be erased or edited to add light to certain features and give the appearance of a crisp white background, some shadows can actually help your photo. No shadows can make your jewelry look flat and awkwardly edited, especially if you’re taking photos of products like necklaces or bracelets where the details in front are more focused than the elements at the back. For round or curved shapes, even the subtle shadows at the edge of the item can prevent your image from looking flat.

Shadows can add dimension and depth, especially when paired with a white background to reduce the need for deep shadows. If you’re a beginner, however, it may be better for you to remove shadows as needed rather than adding shadows to give it more depth. Adding shadows for volume and dramatic effect requires extensive knowledge of programs like Photoshop and Lightroom to create a realistic shadow effect.

Color Correct Your Metals and Stones

If the color of your metal or gemstones is off by even just a little bit, don’t be afraid to use color-correcting tools. The lighting during photography may not have been ideal for certain colors, which can make your jewelry appear faded or even the wrong shade. Color correction can help you remove unnecessary colors or highlights that dull the true vibrancy of your jewelry.

This is a technique to use if you’re using white gold. Depending on the color, type of jewelry, and the other stones surrounding it, the wrong color shading can make white gold look like platinum or silver. Metal tones are essential especially if you want to highlight the shine and vibrance common in high-end luxury metals, so make sure that your image presents the true colors unaffected by reflections or light issues.

Shape and Crop Your Images Accordingly

Before saving your image, make sure it’s the angles and alignment are at their best. In jewelry photo retouching, your jewelry doesn’t always have to be symmetrical (unless, of course, that’s the style you’re going for) and can still be positioned creatively to highlight the features around your jewelry. Make sure that the object is at the center of the image and that all the paths and layers are precisely aligned.

Finally, be sure to resize your image to your needs. Ideally, all your images should be the same size so that, regardless of where you use your images, uniformity and creating a clean catalog of your products won’t be a problem. This also prevents other people responsible for uploading and creating your website from resizing your image, which can warp the appearance and quality of your photos.

Let Your Jewelry Photographs Shine Their Best

Like any other product, jewelry can benefit from careful retouching that highlights its natural beauty and erases the unwanted blemishes that can inevitably pop up during production. With these jewelry photo retouching tips, you can learn the basic steps crucial to learning how to retouch jewelry photos and produce photos that let your products shine online and in any of your materials.

Paper Boat Creative’s jewelry photo editing services bring your jewelry into the best light. Let our team of skilled editors work their magic and highlight the beauty and luxury of your high-end jewelry.

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