Classic Setup for Photographing Jewelry

Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Classic, for me anyway, method that I shoot jewelry. Most of the time my clients want clean, easy to see pieces that show off the finish or the stones. I find that large soft light with lots of fill works to deliver the smooth highlights and well lit jewels.

You can create this with a scrim and lights, a double scrim (two separated by 6 – 10 inches), a softbox or combination softbox / scrim. Just depends on what you want to achieve. I use lots of canned air to clean set, bees wax to affix the jewelry, makup mirrors for adding snaps of light and an assortment of small cut white fill boards.

Here are some shots using the above lighting scheme. There is a lighting diagram at the bottom of the page.
Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Jewelry Brochure for a Navajo Silversmith:
There are additional small cards added, but the most obvious is the half-circle bracelet with the bevel toward the camera. A white card was positioned to pick up that bevel as it was reflecting a dark studio.
Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Custom Silver Smith for Western Riders Catalog:
This shot took nearly a half day to set up. The 4×5 is mounted straight down and I stood over it watching my assistant carefully place the buckles on the background – getting them straight in the camera – and then ‘tacking’ them down with a small bit of bees wax. After we were finished placing them we had to bring in fill cards to help keep the convex buckles from reflecting dark studio.
Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Above and below:
Two shots from an oversized direct mail piece for consumers. Each image was a single page. The designer would add the type to the image in production. Watch the multimedia presentation for a closer look at how they were done. These were both done with the setup in the diagram below. Very painstaking work, but also very much fun.
Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Lighting Essentials Jewelry Tutorial
Here is a quick little multimedia presentation of the jewelry shoots here..
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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

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