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Jewelry photography is a challenging photography technique that requires both knowledge and skill. Not only will you be photographing still objects that require adequate lighting and a steady camera, jewelry photography is also a work of art and therefore must be given justice in their photos. Despite the difficulty posed by jewelry as a photography subject, it is a rewarding and fulfilling task nonetheless.
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Things to Consider When Photographing Jewelry
When taking pictures of jewelry there are several things that you must consider, which will contribute to how good your jewelry photos will be. These include lighting, sharpness and focus, and proper exposure.
Jewelry Photography Lighting
Lighting is perhaps the most challenging part of jewelry photography. Jewelry is shining and sparkling in nature, so you must make sure that additional lighting will not contrast with its inherent lightness. Normally diffused lighting is the key to effectively photographing jewelry. Built-in flash or on-camera flash is a no-no, as they are too bright and reflect the sparkle and shine of jewelry. On-camera flash produces harsh and distracting shadows. If you don't have access to independent lighting equipment it is advisable to use the ambient light instead and disable your on-camera flash. But if you can get a hold of a flash diffuser that can soften the light provided by your flash bulb, you may also try to use on-camera flash.
Mastering Macro & Creating Sharp Images
Since jewelry are relatively small objects, your task as a photographer is to represent its minute and finest details in your photos. Macro photography is of course the best option when capturing jewelry on camera. When shooting in macro mode, make sure that your camera is set on "spot metering" mode to give you more control when focusing on the jewelry that you are taking pictures of. Manual focus is also a must as this will give you better focus control.
To achieve sharper photos of jewelry, use a tripod to reduce camera shake and give your jewelry photos the sharpest output.
Adjust Exposure Settings
And lastly, when taking pictures of jewelry, proper exposure compensation is also important. Your camera's exposure compensation control is your best friend in this kind of photography. Adjust exposure compensation accordingly to achieve the proper exposure for your photos. To learn more about exposure control, please read Understanding the Elements of Exposure.
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Jewelry photography may be difficult to master, but that is not to say that you can't do so with a little practise and some learned skills. And you don't need to be a professional or have expensive equipment for jewelry photography; even photography hobbyist can achieve great photos of jewelry through constant practice. The most important thing to remember is to appreciate the beauty of your subjects. A single piece of jewelry is a fine work of art, as much as possible give justice to its creator by capturing their creation through your photographs.