KEEP IT SIMPLE!
WHAT MAKES A GREAT JEWELRY PHOTOGRAPH
A good photographic reproduction of jewelry is the perfect companion to a jeweler’s own creation.
It provides clear and tangible evidence of the materials and design, and it is a superior way to present a collection. A jewelry image is a message. It conveys a statement by means of impact or emotion. If reproduced accurately, it is the perfect representation of the original craftsmanship and design. The jewelry photographer is the author who conveys this message in a clear, concise, and effective way. The camera is really just the tool that is used to capture the image.
In order to preserve and reproduce an original piece of jewelry and capture it in a photograph, the photographer must pay attention to the unique qualities and design of that jewelry, explore its distinct features, and understand its designated purpose. When the shutter is released, there should be some connection with the subject. Before recording the image the photographer should have a sense of what it is they are looking at and what message they want to convey with the lighting or styling? Product photographers are not just problem solvers, first and foremost they should be good visual communicators.
© Sanchez Arias Photography
Jewelry shot on figure or even just standing alone should be the central point of interest or focus of the composition and should be a dominant feature of the final image. In order to deliver the final message, the photographer must also include another element, an environment, setting or background. Choosing the appropriate background or set gives the subject relevance, presence, and adds another element of interest. It is this combination of subject and environment, and the right lighting treatment of both that creates the final emotion, mood or impact.
In my opinion, good Jewelry Photography is an art form that is unique from any other type of photography. Understanding what to exclude is just as important as knowing what to include. Anything that isn’t part of the message is a diversion, cluttering up the image and diluting the meaning. In most cases, eliminating superfluous ‘props’ and moving closer to the subject creates a cleaner image with far more impact.
I am often asked by the creative directors, and clients that we work with, to place the jewelry in all sorts of crazy sets and backgrounds. Clients get all caught up in the props and the concepts, and get diverted from the subject when they see all the options in my prop room. The truth of the matter is, in most cases, what the client ‘wants’ and what they really ‘need’ are usually miles apart. It’s crucial to find a way to simplify within the concept and return to what is ultimately important – showcasing the design and beauty of the jewelry or product in an interesting and deliberate way.
Painters create art by adding more paint to the canvas-whereas a jewelry photographer creates art by removing the unnecessary elements and adding light only where it is needed. In most cases, the recipe for a good jewelry photograph may be as simple as a lovely piece of jewelry placed at just the right angle, a simple background, beautiful lighting and nothing else!
When in doubt – Keep It Simple!
“Through simplicity comes great beauty!”