Thanks to fellow local photographer Anita, I shot Jewellery yesterday, on location in St Catharines. This was the setup in the store:

An improvised table with a curved white background, lit by two speedlites in an umbrella, with an opposite reflector; then one”sparkler” speedlite in a Honl snoot to aim at the jewellery.

I used

  • A 580EX II on the camera
  • Two 430 EX flashes in an umbrella
  • Wireless TTL with +2 stops flash compensation
  • A 100mm f/2.8 macro lens
  • A Canon 1D Mark IV camera.

A few tips:

  • Use aperture in the 5.6-16 range. More is better, except when you go much above f/8-ish, most lenses get blurrier again.
  • Use a tripod!
  • Focus using manual focus. Use Live View and x10 magnification to set this focus accurately.
  • Expose carefully, using flash compensation as needed. Use the histogram and “highlight alert” to verify.
  • Use the sparkler straight on to add life, especially to diamonds.
  • Watch reflections carefully
  • Use a black reflector if needed to add the black reflections in diamonds.
  • White balance carefully.
  • Clean the jewellery well.
  • Use Photoshop to clean up any remaining dust. Jewellery photos need to be finished in photoshop.
  • Use Play-do to mount rings, etc.
  • Consider an acrylic stand to separate jewellery from the background – this avoids shadows.
  • Black acrylic works too – nice reflections. Black slate can work, too.
  • Did I mention you should use a tripod?

This got me shots like this one:

Jewellery can take many hours to shoot, so yesterday worked out well – 20 products shot in four hours.

2 thoughts on “Jewellery

  1. Speaking of reflectors, if you were packing reflectors for a backpack portable lighting kit, what size reflectors would you use? I see you have a rectangular shown. I was looking at 5 color circular sets the other day and found a very WIDE range of sizes.

    So different size reflectors are good for different things, but do you have a size you recommend for a starter set, and to build on from there?

  2. Indeed. I recommend a round one, one of those that’s around three feet across that folds up into a very small package, and preferably has multiple colors: some have two sides, some even more, like a removable sleeve that gives it four possible sides (white, silver, gold, etc).

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