060. Shooting Jewelry Photography with Your Smartphone


released July 6, 2021
(recorded June 26, 2021) - 1 hour, 9 minutes

A great jewelry photo is worth 1000 words. Today you can use your smartphone to capture those great jewelry photos instead of a bulky DSLR camera. This is episode 60 of the Podcast in which we are giving you details of smartphone photography, photo composition, lighting ideas, photo size considerations, and how far you should hold your smartphone from your jewelry.

TOPIC: Taking Photos with Your Smartphone

We want to talk a little bit today about taking jewelry photos with your smartphone.

Smartphones are much more convenient than using larger DSLR cameras for product photography. DSLR cameras have always been a challenge for people who are not professional photographers. Those cameras have a lot of settings that are not easy for non-photographers to figure out. Most people would just put their camera into automatic mode and try to shoot jewelry, when you really need to put them into Manual mode so you can control the settings.

The camera lenses on the smartphones from the last few years have really improved and provide a reasonable quality for social media photos and for your website, but taking those photos still requires you to understand a little about the composition of the photo, lighting, the purpose of your photo, and the distance between the jewelry you are shooting and your smartphone.

Sub Topic: The composition of the photo
The composition of your photo refers to how you arrange the things you see in the photo. If you are taking a photo on a white background then the only thing in the photo is your jewelry.

But white background photos are boring for social media and for the home page of your website, so you should consider what non-white background you could use to make the photos more aesthetically pleasing to look at. An artistic photo will get more attention on your home page and on social media.

Keep in mind that the main focal point of the photo should always be the jewelry, so don't overwhelm the composition with so many other things that the jewelry gets lost. The jewelry should always be the largest thing in the photo, but it doesn't have to be right in the middle of the photo.

Possible composition items could be:
Mirrors and other reflective surfaces
Textured material
Cut stone slabs
Dichroic glass
Dinner plates
Or anything else that might be good to express the season or the reason you are advertising a particular item

If you are taking a photo on a plain white background, then you should do you best to make sure the background is truly white. Many photos will show the infamous gray or blue tinted background because the camera app was not set correctly.

There are a lot of different camera apps that can help make a background white. No matter the camera app you are using, built-in or something paid, you should search online for directions that will show you how to adjust the settings to get that pure white background.

Sub Topic: The lighting of the photo
The lighting of your photo is the next item on our list.

The best lighting will be pure white light. You can get pure white light by shooting your photos outside when the sun is at its highest point in the sky or you can use a lighting source that is at least 5000 degrees Kelvin.

If you are using a lighting source, then you should have at least two lights. One light will be next to your smartphone and the other could be behind your jewelry item, or to the right or to the left.

The light next to your smartphone is called the "key light" the other light is often called a "fill light." The reason it's called a fill light is because you can use it to fill shadows that the key light creates.

You'll need to use some type of movable stand to hold the lights in place. If you've ever seen our jewelry photography training then you would be familiar with the gooseneck lighting holders that we use. They clip on the table and can be moved anywhere.

Sub Topic: The purpose of the photo
If you know the purpose of the photo ahead of time then it will help you figure out the composition and the size.

If you are shooting product photos for your ecommerce website then you need a photo with a white background that will be at least 1000 px X 1000 px. The 1000x1000 size will work well with most zoom features on ecommerce websites.

If you are shooting photos for your home page, then you need to have pixel sizes that are the largest size needed by the website. For example, if you have a spot for a hero image on your home page that is 1900 px X 700 px, then you need a photo that is that size.

The composition of the photos should remain consistent depending on where they will be seen. For example, if you have a particular composition style for Instagram then make sure you know if you need to set up that composition when shooting your jewelry that day.

If you are shooting photos for online ad platforms, like Facebook and Google, make sure you read their photo requirements so your product images will get approved.

When working with a DSLR camera, we usually recommend grouping your jewelry according to the metal, gemstone type, and composition type that you will be shooting. Because DSLR cameras require fine tuning for colors and composition, it's time consuming to change the settings between photos. But that's not the case with smartphones.

Because smartphones have most of their settings built-in, you don't have to worry about grouping your items like you do with DSLR. It's more point and shoot. This allows you to concentrate on a single jewelry item at a time and take all the photos needed for ecommerce, email, Facebook, Instagram, and the ad platforms one right after the other.

Sub Topic: The distance between your smartphone and the jewelry

The distance between your smartphone lens and the jewelry will dictate how much detail the smartphone is able to capture. Recent smartphones have better optical lenses that allow you to optically zoom in or out.

Be aware that the zoom out lenses are ultra wide angle lenses that distort the image.

The zoom in lenses, also called telephoto lenses, do not distort the image.

If the built-in lens is not good enough to capture small details of the jewelry or gemstone, then you will need to get a lens attachment for your smartphone. You can search for smartphone lens attachments and filter the results according to your smartphone. We've always had good experience with the OlloClip brand for iPhones in the past.

Zooming on a smartphone is tricky. If you are on an older phone you will need to look up the specs to see if it has an optical zoom or not. Under no circumstances should you ever use a digital zoom when taking jewelry photos.

A digital zoom will make the photo blurry and it will make your jewelry look disgusting.

Remember that the pixel size of your jewelry that comes from your camera, in this case that's your smartphone, must be at least the size needed for your website or the social platform you are posting to.

If you want to show the best detail of your jewelry then we have the following tips for you.

If your photo needs to be a perfect square, then do your best to use the optical zoom feature, or physically move your smartphone closer to the jewelry so it will fill as much of the square as possible.
If the photo needs to be wider than it is tall, like a hero image on your home page, then you will want to zoom in so your jewelry fills in the height of the image. Since the photo is wide, you will have empty areas to the right and to the left that you will need to fill with something else to create a good composition.
If the image is taller than it is wide, like a story on Instagram or Facebook, then you will want the jewelry to fill the image left to right. In this case you also might end up with an empty area above or below the item. Again, you will need to sill that empty area with something to create a good composition.

You really need to pay attention to the size of the image that your smartphone creates. If you are using a photo app, or the photo app that comes with the Gems One lightbox, then you need to make sure those apps are creating images of the size you need.

Pitfall: Cropping Images
One of the most common problems with smartphone jewelry photography happens when you shoot a jewelry photo that has too much empty space around it. This usually happens when jewelers are trying to take pics for their ecommerce site or to quickly send to customers.

The smartphone will not be able to capture as much detail when the jewelry is centered in a photo with a lot of blank area around it, you have to get closer with the telephoto lens or optical zoom.

Time and time again, we've seen jewelers take photos with too much white area and then they try to use those photos everywhere. Some photo apps will save the images and allow you to zoom in and crop the photo. That zooming in and cropping is the same as a digital zoom, which looks horrible.

This is where we see a big difference between DSLR cameras and smartphones. The DSLR cameras are designed to capture a lot more detail through their larger lens than a smartphone can do right now. Because the DSLR photo has more detail, you are able to zoom in and crop the photo and still have a better photo than the smartphone.

If you want good looking jewelry photos, don't crop them to make them appear larger. Instead, take the photo over again and get closer to the jewelry with your smartphone.
AT: 07/06/2021 07:37:33 PM  

Post a Comment
Comments are closed.