Tips for Shooting Rings and Other Jewelry Techniques for working, lighting, and shooting jewelry

This B&H video includes a large number of small but useful tips for shooting rings and other types of jewelry. Some of these tips require extra gear such as lights and diffusers but others are helpful no matter what gear you have.

Shooting jewelry is a profession all on its own and even experienced product photographers can struggle to get the most or a ring or diamond necklace as there are many things to consider.

Here are some tips/tricks and techniques for working, lighting, and shooting jewelry:

  • Don’t handle jewelry with your bare hands – use cotton gloves or a microfiber cloth to handle the ring/jewelry.
  • Clean the jewelry as much as possible, fingerprints, dirt and dust are your enemies. Use a blower to remove dust as you shoot.
  • Having a tripod and preferably a macro lens or one with good close up distance and decent macro magnification (1:2 or 1:3) is advised. If you don’t have a dedicated camera a smartphone and macro lens attachment might work in a pinch although your results will probably not look as professional as those taken with a real camera and a macro lens.
  • Use diffusion – in the video, you can see a simple setup where the ring and everything around it is covered in a sheet of diffusion. Surrounding the ring with diffusers can help you get more light from around the ring,
  • You can use soft diffuse window light and use a reflector to fill in the shadows on the side that is not lit by the window (a piece of white cardboard will typically do the trick even a small mirror might work).
  • Choose your surface – it can be a super reflective surface, a fabric a textured surface, a stone, wood etc.).
  • For holding the ring you can use dental wax (we also use Glue Pads) some people use a glue gun although we are not fans of this method. This will help you position the ring in the angle that you want.
  • If you don’t want to use natural light (or can’t) using artificial light (either continuous or strobes/flashes) is your other option (you can of course mix light sources as well but be aware of their color).
  • The video brings quite a few ideas for ways of shooting a ring – on piano keyboards, inside flowers, as part of some wine corks or on a model’s hand.
  • You can even use a TV or computer monitor to add some colored background to your images as you shoot (another way is to use some small LEDs that will spark in the background).

One important point not discussed in this video is camera settings. When shooting rings you have two main options – shoot using a close aperture (f/11 or even f/16) but sometimes even that isn’t enough and you need to do focus stacking, alternatively you might want to use a tilt-shift lens although these are fairly expensive.

This isn’t the first video we shared about shooting rings/jewelry – you can also check out Fstopper’s video which we published here on the subject a few years back.

You can find many more product photography related videos on our dedicated product photography on our technique section.

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