Jewelry Photography

I’m very blessed to have a beautiful model that signed a lifetime contract with me (my wife) so I’m pretty familiar with portrait photo. I’m working on a new project where I need to take jewelry photos.

I turned on the light box, placed it on top of the product, and started taking pictures with my 24–70mm lens. This lens is good for landscape and portrait in general but I know that I needed a macro lens, the lens that you see other photographers take pictures of bugs and insects with extreme details.

test shot with 24–70mm zoomed all the way in, can’t capture its detail

When I test shot the first image, it looks good with the reflection at the bottom. The ring was placed on my Ikea desk, I needed something more shiny. Looking around my desk I see my external backup hard drive is pretty shiny so I tested the shot on it.

this external hard drive has a shiny surface

Ok, looking good, but the surface has a lot of scratched so it doesn’t look good under macro detail. Looking around, I see my iPhone has a reflective screen too.

iPhone screen is pretty shiny too, but too small

But that screen is too small, I needed a bigger screen that is similar to iPhone, iPad! I ran into the bedroom, wife was watching some Vietnamese kid music show, told her I’ll trade her iPad for my iPhone. She was hesitating with a confused look on her face. I said ok I’ll sweeten the deal, I’ll swap iPad for iPhone with a kiss. She smiled and it’s a deal.

almost a full reflection on iPad screen

Now I need to hang the jewelry so I can get different angels and other details. There’s a water bottle on my desk so I tested that concept, didn’t work out well.

test shot trying to hang the product

I need the jewelry to be on its own, so something to hold it. I have a wooden toy on my desk too (ok by now you should know that my desk is super messy, I thought I had my own corner but somehow it was placed right next to the main door, people put all kind of stuffs on it).

wooden toy can hold stuffs!

But as I introduced the jewelry carrier, he kinds of block the lighting from top. Also my light metering also have to measure light with the wooden toy in the frame, so I can’t get a sharp lighting on the subject.

I contacted my friend, he happened to have the 100mm macro lens. It’s a life changer, I can get super close up shot of the products. Here are the results, I really enjoyed working on it.

my watch taken with 100mm
test shot on my watch
grenade from Ecks Jewelry
my studio
tools to clean jewelry and hang it up. Double side tape to helps some items stand up
I used a simple white envelop for white background / reflector
here’s the awesome 100mm, it’s not even an L lens. The L probably has much better quality
here’s the soft box setup. I removed the screen diffuser from the light box since the 2nd box already acts as diffuser.
this light box comes with 4 bulbs, I used all 4 at once. Will replace with LED once these felt apart, already have to patch with duct tape.

Gears used:

Some trick I learned from Youtube and from working on this project. My camera manual said it’s sharpest at 5.0 -> 8.0 aperture. Anything greater than that we will start seeing blurry at the edge. I also set the metering mode to Spot Metering, so that it only calculate light for the 1 subject. I don’t use flash. Wear a white t-shirt also help since I see my reflect in some of the super close up shot.

You can check out Ecks Jewelry here: You can also follow their Facebook page here:

- Kien