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Jewelry Photography

How to photograph jewelry for Instagram

Posted by Marcus Weston on

If you’re just starting out as a photographer, photographing tiny reflecting things like jewelry photography for Instagram can be difficult and annoying. Unfortunately, not all of your images will initially appear to be of ‘magazine quality,’ but this will improve with time.

Your images will drastically improve if you master these methods.

1. To take the right type of photo, use a macro lens

If you bought a DSLR or mirrorless camera, it almost certainly came with a kit lens. A kit lens usually includes a wide-angle element and a short zoom; the focal length ranges from 18 to 55mm numerically. While these lenses are excellent for capturing life’s special moments, they are not appropriate for shooting tiny things such as rings or earrings.

Investing in an entry-level dedicated macro lens will likely solve your main problem. Look for a lens with the term “macro” in the name and a focal length of roughly 60mm.

With this fixed zoom, you can position your camera close to the subject and the magnification will look half-life size (or 0.5x), which is great for jewelry photography.

Better still, if you have the budget, consider a macro lens that will provide a 1:1 (lifesize) representation of the subject.

2. Use a sturdy tripod to avoid camera shake

A photographer’s biggest adversary is camera shaking. Any little moment created by hand-holding the camera while dealing with tiny things, such as jewelry, may appear as a blur in the final shot.

Choose a robust tripod to prevent this decisive impact. A replaceable tripod ball head, an Arca Swiss compatible ball head, and a spirit level on the legs or tripod head are all features to look for in a tripod.

The benefit of a tripod ball head is the smooth movement it allows to achieve a desired angle. You may freely adjust your camera while the head is unlocked before locking the desired angle by rotating the locking mechanism on the head. The Arca Swiss tripod plate compatibility guarantees that you can easily put your camera onto the top of the tripod ball head, and the spirit level will assist you in determining whether or not the tripod is level.

3. Light your jewelry evenly and thoroughly

A typical macro jewelry photography lighting setup should include at least two flash heads or continuous lights, one on the subject’s left and the other on the subject’s right.

Many online stores provide flash lighting kits that include all of the essential equipment, such as a flash trigger (that connects to your camera), umbrellas, diffusers, and stands.

Any camera reflections are eliminated when reflecting umbrellas with fabric diffusers are attached to flash heads.

4. Select the correct aperture and ensure everything is in focus

If you’re photographing jewelry with a macro lens, don’t be fooled into believing that a bigger aperture (f2.8 or f4) would make your images seem brighter. This will be the case, but there will be a major drawback. This flaw is largely due to the shallow depth of field.

More light enters the lens when the aperture is set at f2.8, yet only a tiny portion of the subject is in focus. Bokeh is the term for when the remainder of the focus ‘falls off.’

While bokeh is ideal for portrait photography, it isn’t appropriate for jewelry photography. A big aperture, such as f2.8 or f4, is not ideal since you won’t be able to view the complete piece of jewelry in detail. When shooting in Aperture Priority (‘Av’ or ‘A’ on most camera mode dials), use an aperture of f11 or f16 for the best results. Smaller apertures result in less bokeh, which is ideal for capturing the entire detail of a piece of jewelry.

With this info, you’ll be well on your way to turning your average-looking jewelry shots into photographs that sell once you’ve mastered aperture priority and acquired a macro lens, solid tripod, and professional lighting setup.

Common mistakes to avoid when photographing jewelry

When you photograph jewelry, it is easy to overlook some of the details and things can quickly go wrong. These are some of the common mistakes that you don’t want to make:

You haven’t done your homework.

Before you begin shooting, clean and shine your objects. It appears to take more time at first, but if you do it now, you will save time later and spend much less time editing and cleaning the dust and fingerprints from the jewelry.

Poor lighting 

Your things will appear to be highly diverse in hue across your online store if your lighting isn’t good or consistent. Use the same lighting or studio for everything to seem consistent.


You’ll get terrible reflections on your things if your lighting isn’t ideal. You want to prevent this as much as possible because the customer won’t be able to notice the details when shopping online.

It also gives your photographs a less professional appearance.

Inaccurate coloring

It’s critical that your items’ colors appear as true as possible.

When a consumer is hunting for something that appears to be gold but turns out to be silver, it is a miserable experience. It’s unrealistic to expect customers to read product descriptions.

Consumers rely on buying via photographs since Instagram and Pinterest are so popular. If you can make the color appear true, you’ll be less likely to make a mistake.

Inconsistent image size

Jewelry (and especially earrings) come in a wide range of sizes, and you won’t be able to present everything to scale on your eCommerce business since some studs will be so little that you won’t be able to see them. As a result, it’s critical to maintain your picture sizes constant so that everything on your online store is in order and easy to navigate.

Inconsistent backgrounds

Consistency is crucial in any endeavor. With a constant backdrop, you can keep your photographs on brand. Keep the background the same whether you choose a bright or dark color scheme. The customer will find it more difficult to search your web store if the background is uneven.