How to clean up jewelry in Photoshop


Clean up jewelry

As a web designer with a background in jewelry, I frequently encounter jeweler websites featuring subpar jewelry photography, a disappointing reality given that the sparkle is often what entices customers to purchase our pieces. The primary issue stems from a lack of equipment or expertise, particularly among smaller stores.

Photographing jewelry is an intricate art form. Challenges such as capturing reflections in polished jewelry, mastering lighting techniques, and showcasing intricate details are unique to this craft.

In an ideal scenario, every jeweler would possess their own photography setup equipped with a quality camera featuring a macro lens and a dedicated photo booth. This setup would enable them to maintain an updated inventory on their website, showcasing their jewelry in its most captivating form – brimming with sparkle and allure. Additionally, having a professional photographer on staff would further elevate the quality of their photography, ensuring that each piece is presented with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Your Jewelry Photography Set-Up:


In jewelry photography, almost any imperfection can be corrected or enhanced in Photoshop, with one notable exception: blurriness. It’s essential to start with a sharp image of your item, captured under decent lighting conditions – avoiding both overexposure and underexposure. While you don’t necessarily require the most expensive setup, especially for online platforms, it’s crucial to remember that the quality of your initial photo greatly influences the success of any subsequent touch-ups.

We highly recommend using a soft box light tent for your photography endeavors, as it helps to minimize reflections and creates a diffuse, even lighting environment. Whenever possible, take advantage of natural daylight by shooting your photos outside for optimal lighting conditions. And regardless of the setup, always utilize a tripod to ensure stability and sharpness in your images. Following these guidelines will contribute to producing high-quality, visually appealing photographs of your jewelry pieces.

For information about how to set-up a low-budget photo studio read our article about jewelry photography set-up >>

How can you clean up your jewelry pictures yourself?

There are probably several programs out there that can help with this but I like to use Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw to clean up and enhance my jewelry photography. For this tutorial, I use Photoshop CS5.

Don’t have Photoshop? Try

1} White Balance your image:


Open up your image in Photoshop and unlock your layer, by clicking on the lock in the layers panel. Click on the adjustment layers – Levels.

Remove Color Cast

1. Choose the middle eye-dropper in the levels panel and 2. click in the image on a white spot. You might have to click on different spots until you find the best “neutral” color. This removed the color cast which is especially useful if you have a yellow color cast in a photo with yellow gold jewelry.

2} Adjust Brightness:


Use the Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer to adjust brightness.

3} Get a crisper image with filters:


1. Duplicate your layer – layer- duplicate layer and choose the top layer of the two. Go to filter- other- High Pass and choose a setting between 10 and 50. It will most likely look funny. Don’t worry, the magic comes now. 3. Go to your layer blending mode and change it to overlay. This will create a crisper look. You might have to adjust the opacity on that layer especially, if you chose a higher number on the filter.

3} Select the image with the pen tool:

Image selection

This is where the real tedious work happens. Some people just use the magic wand tool or the lasso tool to select the image but it usually does bot do a very good job and it never is clear enough for print or putting the image on a dark background. You will have to use the pen tool to select the outlines of the piece and all the cut-outs. The pen tool takes practice but if you don’t get a curve right, you can always use the white arrow tool below the T tool to adjust the curve handles or the corners.


Once selected, click on paths- and control click the path later. This will turn the path into a selection. Go back to your layers panel. Invert the selection and delete the background. You will have to do it on both layers, the original and the overlay layer.

You can now save it as a png to preserve the transparent background. Duplicate and make reflection.

Clean up jewelry

These images above were taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-W camera, a lower end point-and-shoot in a light tent to show the results one can expect with a cheaper camera. The whole clean-up process for a piece like this is about 25 minutes. The better the photography, the less clean-up time required.

Jewelry Photography Services:


Jewel Web & Design/ Design by Janja offers jewelry photography for local businesses in Vista, Oceanside and surrounding areas in San Diego County. We are able to arrange an on-site photo session (please, contact us for rates) with our mobile set-up.

For businesses further away, jewelry would have to be mailed to us.  We understand that you can’t just send out every new piece of jewelry or your whole inventory to have it photographed to some random company on the internet.

For that reason, we have compiled an article about how you can set up your own photo booth without breaking the bank. That will make it easier for you to take the photography and we can clean it up for you.

Read our article about jewelry photography set-up >>

Jewelry Photoshop Clean-up:


If you have a camera with a macro function, and some basic set-up, we would be glad to do our best to “glamorize” your jewelry photos and make them “internet” ready for you. Email us your pictures and we can touch them up and remove the background for you.

Photoshop clean up rates are $95/hour (most pieces can be cleaned-up within 10-30 minutes depending on the complexity of the piece). For more accurate quotes, please contact us with a picture of your original photo and ideally one that shows what you hope to achieve.

No matter how great your set-up or photography is,  if you want to produce an ad with colored backgrounds, you will need to cut out your jewelry from the background. See a few examples of such ads, shot with a DSLR and other cameras.

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