Capturing A Diamond’s Sparkle

It’s practically the ultimate challenge for a photographer — an exercise in lighting, focus and composition. Taking pictures of jewelry forces photographers to get everything right.drizzle.jpg

And, of course, when you do get everything right, the results can be spectacular, with sharp edges, strong lines and bold flashes of white light. Here’s what you need to do to put it all together…

1. Get Your Light Levels Right
A low ISO will give you higher image quality but that will make the right balance of aperture and shutter speed crucial to get exactly the right exposure. Lenses tend to become less sharp at their maximum f-stop ranges so try two or three stops down. You can also try diffusing the light, placing the item on a lightbox and using dullers to avoid the problem of contrasts that are too sharp, but that will also reduce the strength of sparkles. The best bet is often a mid-range aperture, a long exposure… and a good tripod.

2. Test Depth Of Focus
When faced with a multi-faceted stone, which side is the most photogenic? There’s plenty of room here for fun experimentation so try placing the focal plane on different parts of the object to test the results. Remember, you can always play with the aperture if you want to deepen or reduce the depth of focus but again, that might mean changing the shutter speed.

3. Use Creative Compositions
Black and gold go together like bread and butter, so skip the clichés and match precious stones with items that contrast… like slices of bread and butter, or pieces of broken pottery. Tightly focusing light on select spots can have a similar surprising effect, so look at what the stores are doing… and steer well clear.

4. Go For The Shot, Not Photoshop
While post-processing is always a useful way to clean up errors, when you’re photographing jewelry the fun is in getting it right on camera. Pretend you’re living in a world without Photoshop, check your shots regularly and on a big screen to see how you’re doing with the focus and light levels… and enjoy a diamond of a challenge.

The rules for good jewelry photography aren’t difficult. Putting them into practice though can be a whole other question, so get your hands on an engagement ring and get practicing!

Photograph of Drizzle by JF78.

[tags] jewelry photography, photographing diamonds [/tags]

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