Are you trying to photograph gemstones but canbt take flattering pictures of them? It can be challenging to capture precious gemsb true beauty. Therefore, webve prepared a guide that will bring your gem photography skills to perfection.
Webll explain why gemstone photography is unique and what you need for it. Moreover, webll explain how to choose a background and set up lighting and camera settings. Webve also prepared some tips for gem photography to help you out. With our guide, youbll learn how to take professional gemstone pictures for ecommerce.
In this article
Why Is Gemstone Photography So Special?
One would think that photography is photography; if you know how to do landscapes, you know how to photograph gemstones. Well, you couldnbt be more wrong. Gemstone photography takes effort and understanding of how different gems work, how they photograph, and how to style them.
Therebs a common misconception that gemstone photography is like shooting other jewelry. However, it doesnbt require telling a story through the picture. It does require some special equipment that is optional with different types of product photography.
For instance, gemstone photography requires a macro lens for your gem photo shoots. You canbt do commercial gemstone photography without a macro lens. Macro shots allow you to capture gemsb details and best portray them for customers.
Equipment You Need for Gemstone Photography
The right equipment is essential for high-quality gem photography. Even if you have a tight budget, we bly recommend you invest in a photography kit. With the right gear, youbll already be ahead of your competition. Thus, invest in the following equipment besides a macro lens for your camera.
Using a Tripod Is a Must in Gemstone Photography
If youbve ever tried taking handheld photos, you know the frustration when your pictures come out shaky. However, imagine that with a macro lens and a zoom of x20. As still as you think you are, you canbt possibly control the focus and clarity of the pictures when your camera zooms in on your gemstone.
Therefore, we recommend getting a tripod. A tripod will allow you to zoom in on a gemstone without your camera shaking and losing focus all the time. Tripods are a must-have in gemstone photography. Moreover, theybre relatively cheap, so you donbt need much money.
Get a Wireless Shutter
A wireless shutter release is another must-have in every photographerbs bag, especially for gemstone photographers. Each camera has a built-in shutter that allows it to do its job. However, you should get a wireless shutter release to take photos remotely without touching the camera.
Since macro shots and focus are essential for gemstone photo shoots, use a tripod to steady your camera for perfect photos. However, a wireless shutter will help you avoid touching your camera once you find the ideal angle and focus. This way, youbll avoid messing up the sharpness and clarity of your gemstone photos.
Get Proper Lighting Equipment
Gemstones are challenging to photograph as theybre highly reflective. Moreover, each gem is unique because of its color and reflection degree. Thus, lighting is essential for portraying your gembs true beauty. Some gems work best with natural lighting, but some require lighting equipment to shine.
We recommend investing in proper lighting equipment for your gemstone photography. However, make sure to stick to a single-color temperature of light for a photo shoot. Therefore, you can buy several lighting kits, but avoid mixing them in the same gemstone photo shoot.
Find a Quality Lightbox
Another essential for gemstone photography is a good lightbox. Light highlights and influences every aspect of a gem. Therefore, lightboxes are the perfect solution for gemstone photo shoots. A lightbox is a small, well-equipped portable studio allowing you to photograph gemstones easily.
Lightboxes create a controlled environment enclosed on all sides except the side where your camera stands. That gives you control over how much light enters the lightbox and bounces off a gem. Moreover, lightboxes can have black or white backgrounds, allowing you to photograph different gemstones professionally.
Read more: best lightboxes for jewelry photography
Photography Characteristics of Different Gemstones
As different gemstones look and shine differently, they also photograph differently. Itbs impossible to photograph the alluring amethyst the same as the sun-kissed topaz. Also, photography settings perfect for rubies donbt work for opals, and vice versa. Letbs cover some photography characteristics of the most popular gemstones.
Jade is usually green, but its color can vary. Itbs opaque and translucent. Moreover, with digital cameras using the RGB spectrum, you can perfectly capture and portray jadebs color.
Since this gemstone is opaque, you can use a round, circular light on high power if you want jade to shine and reflect light. Moreover, a white or neutral background would make jade stand out nicely.
Due to emeraldsb unique color, theybre probably the most challenging gemstones to photograph. Artificial lighting isnbt that suitable for natural emeralds. Therefore, this gemstone photographs best in natural lighting.
Moreover, when choosing a background color for emeralds, avoid black at all costs. Emeralds work best with natural backgrounds like beige, wood, and flowers.
Opalsb vitreous and veiny properties make them highly appealing to the eye. However, their pools of color can be tricky to capture on camera. Therefore, to best photograph opals, limit the focal range by opening the aperture to allow more light to reach your lens.
However, opals differ drastically in patterns and colors, so sometimes youbll need direct and sometimes diffused light to photograph opals properly.
How To Choose a Background for Gem Photography
Choosing a proper background for your gem photos is essential to gem photography. Backgrounds control the vibe of the images, so pick them wisely. If one doesnbt match your gemstone, your pictures could be off, your gem could look dull, and you could wrongly depict its colors.
Letbs see how you can choose your background. White backgrounds highlight your gembs color, so emeralds and rubies look incredible on white and natural backdrops. However, lighter gemstones look better on black, as it allows them to stand out.
Besides solid color backgrounds, you can choose a natural backdrop. Gemstones show their best qualities in a natural environment. Thus, you can use grass, flowers, trees, or rocks as background for your gemstone photography. However, avoid using fake backgrounds as macro shots will catch that in the pictures.
How To Set Up Lighting for Shooting Gemstones
As already discussed, lighting is the essence of gem shots. The most appealing property of a gemstone is its reflectiveness, so lighting is crucial for high-quality commercial gemstone photos. However, different gemstones need different lighting to shine fully. Thus, the lighting setup will depend on which gem youbre photographing.
When it comes to faceted gemstones, polished flat surfaces can reflect a glare with too much white light. It results in white areas on the gem image and negatively affects the actual color of the gem. Thus, diffused lighting works best with faceted gemstones.
On the other hand, cabochon gemstones are round and smooth. With cabochons, youbre not trying to highlight the shape but color and clarity. Thus, these gems photograph best with specular light that emphasizes their depth.
Lastly, we bly recommend using a single-color light temperature to highlight your gemstones best. Moreover, be careful when choosing between artificial and natural light. For instance, artificial lighting works better with dark and medium-dark gemstones, such as sapphires and rubies, while lighter emeralds and aquamarines look better in natural light.
How To Set Up Your Camera Settings for Gem Photography
Camera settings are vital for perfect commercial gemstone photography. You should avoid automatic settings and auto-focus. Instead, personalize your camera settings according to your gembs properties for the best results.
Letbs start with ISO speed. ISO speed determines your camera sensorbs sensitivity to light, meaning how much light passes through the sensor. When photographing gemstones in a lightbox, set the ISO value between 100 and 200. That will result in a better rendering. When selecting a lower ISO speed, you reduce noise from the gemstone pictures.
Next, set the aperture. When selecting the aperture for gem photography, f8-f10 works best. However, if you want to avoid some details, set the f5 aperture for best results.
Finally, set the exposure time. Depending on your light source, you can choose the exposure of 1/100th of a second to two seconds.
Additional Tips for Gem Photography
Now that webve covered the basics, itbs time to explore additional tips for gemstone photography. Following the steps above and the following techniques will help you attract more clients and ensure their gems sell themselves.
Watch for Overexposure When Photographing Gemstones
You could overexpose your gem photos if you use too much direct light, especially from several angles. You can check for overexposure if a particular gem has too many white areas in the picture. If you donbt control the light, your gemstone photos will be “burnt.”
That can easily overshine the actual color of a gemstone, making your photos unreliable and unrealistic, not to mention unappealing to the customers. To avoid overexposure, wave your hand around a gem to create a shadow from the light bringing the overexposure. Once you locate that light source, cover it with a piece of paper.
Clean Your Gemstones
Your gemstones require macro shots to show their true beauty and qualities. However, macro shots also show each imperfection and speck of dust. Therefore, start with cleaning your background and stand properly. Then, clean the gemstones so that your gem photos wonbt show dust or fingerprints.
Thoroughly wipe gemstones with a clean piece of cloth. If a gem falls or touches something, clean it again. Even though it might seem tiresome, youbll save much more time cleaning the gemstones before the photo shoot than editing out the dust in post-production.
Take the Time to Adjust the Focus Perfectly
It should be evident by now that we bly discourage using auto-focus. Itbs inefficient in commercial gemstone photography, so you should avoid it. Instead, take your time manually adjusting your focus. Spin the zoom on your lens slowly until you reach the desired effect.
A tripod will help you avoid shaky pictures, and a wireless shutter release will help you take photos without touching your camera and essentially losing focus.
Thus, slowly set the desired focus and remotely take pictures of your gemstones to produce the best, crystal-clear shots.
[NEW TREND] Use an AI Tool for Authentic Imagery
If you still canbt take quality gem photos or are just starting and the pictures donbt meet your standards, we have a perfect solution. AI product photo generators provide realistic, high-quality images of whatever you want. These photo generators produce incredible, authentic gem photos with any background.
Some AI photo generators are excellent, but some still need improvement. Therefore, webll save you the trouble of testing various AI photo generators and introduce the best one. Wondershare VirtuLook is a powerful photo generator that uses artificial intelligence to create authentic images of gemstones and anything else you need.
Wondershare VirtuLook can provide original, lifelike images in seconds thanks to an intuitive interface and powerful algorithms. The steps for getting incredible gemstone photos are the following:
Step 1. Visit the Wondershare VirtuLook website using your browser and click on Sign Up to establish a free account.
Step 2. First, upload your original gemstone image to the platform. Then, left-click on the portion of the cloth or product you want to retain. To ensure the best output quality, consider reviewing the basic requirements for the original photos
Step 3. Alter your gemstone background using the Template or Custom Editing options. You can modify the style and background by choosing a different template.
However, if the available templates do not meet your requirements, you can use the Custom Editing function to create your own personalized photo.
Step 4. Lastly, you can download or bookmark the photos you like. We also appreciate timely feedback from you regarding any issues with image quality or any other concerns you may have.
Professional photos are essential for brands selling gemstones. As a gemstone photographer, you can help clients present their brands as reliable and professional, showing realistic and appealing pictures of their gems. With our list of necessary equipment and examples of photography characteristics of different gemstones, youbll produce the best possible results.
Moreover, following our guide on choosing a background, setting up proper lighting and camera settings, and additional valuable tips, your gemstone photos will look astonishing and breathtaking. However, you can opt for a more straightforward solution and get gemstone pictures from the best AI photo generator – Wondershare VirtuLook.