Jewellery photography

Jewellery photography can be particularly challenging and depending upon the finish of the item, can require an amount of time in retouch. At Graymatter Media we have developed lighting and support techniques to minimise the amount of retouching required and hence reduce customer’s costs.

Modern digital cameras, when used with the very best quality macro lenses, record the most amazing level of detail. Although this mostly preferable, it can sometimes be frustrating when photographing jewellery which will be reproduced many times larger than life size. Although a piece of jewellery, whether it’s a gold ring or silver necklace, may look beautifully finished and highly polished to the eye, when viewed through a microscope, which is effectively what’s happening with macro photography, it can have many scratches and polishing defects. When these images are printed and viewed many times life size, these defects are highly visible. Defects such as surface scratches, dents and buildup of polish in tight areas where the mop couldn’t get to, all look quite unpleasant.

Although retouching can not be avoided altogether with jewellery photography, we have developed lighting techniques to make the best of highly polished surfaces, giving them a beautiful, almost airbrushed, sheen which disguises fine scratching without making them look at all dull. The polished shine in the metal is reinforced by adding hard reflections.

As with all product photography disciplines, propping and support of jewellery is very important. Whether we’re photographing rings, necklaces, ear rings or cufflinks, being able to quickly and repeatably present the piece to the camera is important to minimise retouching costs and speed up photography. Often a securely propped ring will have something quite large holding it position and this will need removing in retouch. While removing supports from a background is quite straight forward, the real problem is removing the reflections of the supports that show in the polished surface of the ring. And this is made even harder in curved surfaces, especially when a surface curves in two or three dimensions. The trick is to make sure that whatever is holding the ring does not reflect in it.

Jewellery photography can be done by the hour, the day, or we can quote unit rates or for bulk lots. We’re also happy to do some example work free of charge if we’re unable to show you existing examples.