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Jewelry photography lighting: Guide to setup and what to use

Jewelry photography lighting is an important factor in upgrading your online jewelry business. This can be challenging since most jewelry products come with highly reflective surfaces. In this article, we will introduce two common lighting setups and tell you what equipment is needed for great jewelry photography.

Lighting setup for jewelry photography

To illuminate the jewelry properly and capture great photos, you have two setups to choose from. One is the double overhead lighting setup that minimizes reflections, the other is a 45-degree setup that uses V-flat.

Double overhead lighting setup

This setup requires a bright surface behind, below, and on the sides of the jewelry. This can be achieved by using a large piece of white paper to build a small cyc wall. Then, place the two umbrellas top-down over the jewelry to provide a gentle light source and a smooth, white surface that will reduce reflections. Similar effects may be achieved by using a light tent with lights positioned above and on the sides.

45-degree angle lighting setup

When using this setup, you need to position the photography light at a 45-degree angle to the subject and camera location. A foam board or a tabletop v-flat should be used to bounce light back onto the subject. This setup not only works for jewelry photography but also fits portraits.

What should be included in jewelry photography lighting kit?

You need studio lights, light box, reflector, and other accessories to build a photography kit that suits your shooting style and requirements.

Studio lighting for jewelry photography

COLBOR CL220 is one of the best LED lights for jewelry photography.

Jewelry photography lighting that is diffuse (soft) typically works well. You have probably already found out that taking jewelry shots with the on-camera flash does not work well. In addition to being too bright at such a close range, the camera's flash is also most likely positioned improperly to properly illuminate the jewelry. Additionally, the on-camera flash will produce harsh and annoying shadows.

Continuous studio light is recommended for jewelry photography. It allows you to preview the final images and make adjustments. Among the types of continuous illumination, LED constant light for photography like the COLBOR CL220 is a good choice. It features a CRI of 96+, 85 tungsten SSI, and TM30 Rf94 and Rg102+ at 3200K. All these specs indicate that the CL220 can reproduce the true colors of earrings, necklaces, etc. LED beads produce really little heat during long photography sessions, which makes the photographer stay in comfort without overheating.

Light box for jewelry photography

This is an empty box with a translucent white background and white sides. This box is mostly used for photographing jewelry items such as necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. It aids in the entire illumination of the ornament by reducing distracting shadows from its body sections.

Light reflector for jewelry photography

Jewelry photography lighting will come from one direction if you take photos beside a window or use side lighting in a studio. Reflectors can act as the fill light on the other side to balance out the shadows. It gives even illumination to the jewelry without mixing light sources.

Other accessories

When photographing jewelry in a larger area, photographers usually utilize softboxes or umbrellas with studio lights. You may also need stands to help position and angle the light fixtures. Batteries are also needed if the fixture accepts multiple power supplies and you don’t want to come across tripping hazards.

More jewelry photography lighting tips

Besides the aforementioned setups, you need to pay attention to the following tips to ensure good jewelry photography.

Control the reflections in pearls

Reflections in a pearl are able to add dimension to the pearl, but you should keep control over it. With the exception of freshwater pearls, pearls can be mirror-like. A light tent would be ideal for controlling this. If pearls are grounded by a faint shadow, they will look more substantial. A single light source placed just above the pearls should produce excellent results; the pearls will seem incredibly 3D.

The dark area on each pearl, which is the reflection of the dark room, is not a bad thing because it adds contrast and sparkle to the pearl's finish. The aim is to prevent a flat, lifeless finish, which is common in images taken with too much lighting. A single light produces a single white highlight, which is ideal for convincing the eye that an item is spherical.

Keep Jewelry photography lighting, backdrop, etc. consistent

Whatever method you choose to shoot jewelry, keep the quality, appearance, and style constant. This involves using the same (or extremely similar) backdrop, lighting, perspectives, and editing style throughout. Consistency in capturing jewels and other details makes designing albums after the shoot simpler for jewelry photographers.

Avoid incorrect coloring

It is critical that the colors of your jewelry appear as true as possible. It is a horrible experience for the consumer if they are shopping for gold and the item turns out to be silver. Customers are unlikely to read product descriptions. Because Instagram and Pinterest are so popular among customers, they rely on photo-based buying. If you can reveal the color accurately, you will have fewer returns.