The Essential Guide to Photographing Jewelry for Online Success

Jewelry is not just a purchase; it’s an experience that starts the moment a potential buyer sees your piece. For jewelry designers, capturing the essence and detail of each item through photography is essential for attracting and engaging customers online. Good photographs can communicate quality, craftsmanship, and the unique style of your creations. This guide provides essential tips and techniques for photographing your jewelry in a way that enhances your online presence and drives sales.

Understanding the Importance of Good Photography

In the world of online shopping, visuals are often the deciding factor for potential customers. The quality of your jewelry photographs directly influences the perceived value and desirability of your pieces. Photos that capture the brilliance, color, and fine details of your jewelry can set your brand apart in a crowded market.

Equipment Essentials

To get started, you don’t need a professional studio, but a few key pieces of equipment will significantly improve the quality of your photos:

  • Camera: A DSLR camera provides versatility and high-quality results, but a high-resolution smartphone camera can also suffice if you’re on a budget.
  • Macro Lens: This is crucial for close-up shots to capture detailed textures and intricacies that are characteristic of fine jewelry.
  • Tripod: A tripod stabilizes your camera, ensuring sharp, clear images without blur from hand movements.
  • Lighting: Soft, natural light works best for jewelry. Consider shooting near a window or outdoors on an overcast day. Avoid direct sunlight, which can create harsh shadows.
  • Reflectors: These help to balance the light and brighten dark shadows, ensuring the jewelry looks as luminous as possible.

The Camera:

There are a few different types of cameras: automatic,  semi-manual digital cameras (point and shoot) and Digital SLR ( Single Lens Reflex) cameras. For this article, we want to focus on the automatic and semi-manual digital cameras, since DSLR Cameras are not only more expensive but also harder to use and require some photography knowledge.

Point and shoot cameras are fully automatic and most people are familiar with them. They are available at all price classes starting from as little as $25.  There will be a few things to consider when buying a camera. We are not experts in cameras but your sales associate in your local store can help you decide on what you really need.

Iphone and other cell phones:

Cell phones have come a long way and if you have a newer iphone you will most likely have a macro function on your camera. The advantage of cell phones is that its always on hand, light to carry and these days have a great resolution.
The downside of iphone cameras is that its a not the best for advanced “depth of field stacking” practices.

DSLR Cameras:

DSLR cameras are the perfect solution, if you are a bit more serious about your photography and have a medium budget to make this happen. There are models out there that are the beginners version of the professional cameras and will do the trick just fine.

We prefer the Canon DSLR’s as it comes with the very handy canon utility software, that allows you to look through the camera from your desktop computer, zoom into details and be able to get them very sharp. It makes focusing on different depth a breeze.

Setting Up Your Shoot

The setup is key to capturing great jewelry photos. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Background: Use a neutral, unobtrusive background that doesn’t distract from the piece. White or light gray backgrounds are typically the best choices as they reflect light and enhance the jewelry’s visibility.
  • Positioning: Experiment with different angles to find the most flattering perspectives for each piece. Often, a slightly angled view that shows multiple facets of the piece works better than a straight-on shot.
  • Focus: Make sure the focus is sharp where it matters most. For most jewelry pieces, focusing on the front element of the design or the most intricate detail provides the best impact.

Photography Tips

  • Consistency is Key: Maintain consistent lighting, angles, and background across all your photos to create a cohesive look for your brand’s online presence.
  • Highlight Unique Details: Focus on what makes each piece special, whether it’s the craftsmanship, the gemstone quality, or unique design elements.
  • Use Models Wisely: While it’s important to have some shots that show the jewelry being worn, these should not overshadow the close-up product shots. Ensure the model’s attire and style complement the jewelry without stealing focus.

Editing Your Photos

Post-processing is a vital step in jewelry photography. Use photo editing software to adjust exposure, contrast, and sharpness to truly make your images pop. However, it’s important to keep edits realistic and not overly enhance the jewelry, as this can set false expectations and lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Photoshop clean up jewelry
Touched up jewelry photo – shot with Sony Cybershot DSC-W7 Point & Shoot

Photoshop Touch-Up Services

If you do not have a person on staff who can clean up your jewelry for you, we would be glad to do it for you. Email us your photos and we can touch it up and remove the background for you. Prices will charged an hourly rate since time per piece will depend on simplicity of the pieces.

Optimizing Images for Online Use

Before uploading your photos, ensure they are optimized for the web. This means balancing image quality and file size to reduce loading times without sacrificing detail. JPEG is generally the best file format for product images on the web due to its balance of quality and compression.


Great jewelry photography is more than just taking pictures; it’s about crafting images that convey the beauty and quality of your work to entice and engage potential buyers. By following these tips, you can create stunning, sellable jewelry images that will enhance your online presence and help your creations stand out in the competitive online marketplace. Remember, each photo is a reflection of your brand, so invest the time to make each one as beautiful as the jewelry it represents.