DON’T TALK YOURSELF OUT OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL JEWELRY PHOTOGRAPHER.
Excuses I’ve heard uninformed clients use as their reason for not hiring a professional photographer
We’re a family owned and operated jewelry store. We use my best friend’s nephew for photography. He’s really talented and loves photography he’s won several photo contests….as a matter of fact, he recently received an Honorable Mention for one of his sunset images and another for a close-up portrait of a cat.
Response to Excuse #1
No offense to your best friend’s nephew, I’m happy to know that he’s receiving recognition for his images, and I’m sure his award-winning sunset and cat photographs are amazing, but photography of sunsets and pets cannot be compared to professionally styled and lit photographs of jewelry. They couldn’t be further apart.
I’m a huge fan of Landscape photography…Ansel Adams and Peter Lik are two of my favorites and of course, I have huge respect for all those talented National Geographic photographers that create amazing intimate images of animals of all shapes and sizes, but regardless of their talent photographing nature – it doesn’t mean that they would possess equal talent and expertise photographing jewelry.
We are one of the top new jewelry designers in the country. We always get the best. We have just hired one of the top editorial fashion photographers in the country to photograph our new designs. He has never shot jewelry before, but he is one of the most popular new stars in the Fashion Photography world.
Response to Excuse #2
In photography, as in medicine or the legal profession, everyone has a specialty. There are wedding photographers, fashion photographers, food photographers, portrait photographers, photojournalists, industrial photographers, fine art photographers, architectural photographers, and so on. Each particular type of photography has its own unique equipment and skill set, and its own special methods and techniques. A Jewelry Designer needs a photographer who not only knows and understands jewelry but has the experience and technique to capture the essence of the jewelry and its special design. Do your due diligence – when a photographer tells you that they shoot everything, beware! If you want amazing images of your jewelry, do yourself a favor, find a photographer who has experience in jewelry photography. Make sure when you look at their Fashion portfolio you also ask to see images of their product and jewelry photography too. Think of it this way – if you needed life-saving brain surgery, would you hire a top-notch orthopedic surgeon? Probably not!
I’m a Jewelry Designer, I went to Art School. I’m an artist. I can take my own pictures of my jewelry, after all, one of my hobbies is photography and I got an A in my ‘Intro To Photography’ course that I took at college.
Response to Excuse #3
Jewelry Photography is one of the most difficult assignments in commercial photography. Even for an experienced Professional Photographer, in my opinion, jewelry is one of the most challenging products to photograph well. It requires an enormous amount of patience, a great deal of technical proficiency and extra attention to detail. The size of the jewelry, combined with the mixture of precious stones and reflective metals make it extremely challenging and often difficult to achieve good results even from a professional.
I’m a large online jewelry store and wholesaler. Our inventory of jewelry is over 40,000 items. We’re huge and would rather do everything in-house…it’s more productive that way. We bought a $25,000 digital camera kit from a DIY jewelry photography online store. We set up our own in-house studio hired a kid out of school for $15 an hour. We know that the jewelry photography is mediocre but we’re saving a ton of money.
Response to Excuse #4
Every time you post a badly lit and photographed image of your jewelry in your online store, you run the risk of losing a good customer. If the photography is less than perfect your customer is not going to buy and you’ve missed a sale. Multiple that by 10,000 or 50,000 and bad photography could end up costing you hundreds of thousands in lost sales! Take my advice don’t throw good money at bad photography. It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive, highest resolution, autofocus camera on the market or the most recommended cocoon or jewelry tent, you’re not going to create stunning jewelry photographs consistently without the vision and expertise of a talented photographer behind the lens. Even a Lamborghini needs a good driver to win a race!
It won’t matter how professional you are, how perfectly made your product is, or how amazing you are at costumer service- if your images are badly photographed and inconsistent, you are not going to be represented as a credible online retailer. That’s why you need a specialized professional creating the look and feel of your online store that sends the right message about who you are as a jewelry wholesaler.
In an online e-commerce store, you never see your customers so you don’t get the feedback that a physical store will give you. If you owned a commercial retail store you would need to hire a professional to plan and style, the store and displays in a way that represents your design ethic to the customer. I don’t think you would display your jewelry on a dirty gray card and light it with a desk lamp in your retail store, so why would you allow it in your e-commerce store?
In all online jewelry businesses, 100% of the jewelry is sold based on visual impact and interest in any particular item. Jewelry is a luxury product – it is bought by choice, not by necessity and in most cases, it’s an impulse buy. This is especially true with an e-commerce site where customers are only a click away from a purchase. Successful online jewelry businesses are successful because they send the right message. Through good photography, they present an image of elegance, confidence, and professionalism.
We are a jewelry distributor and wholesaler. We hired a web designer who includes the jewelry photography as part of the web design, they assured me that they have a $5000 high-end camera that will give us professional quality images of our jewelry.
Response to Excuse #5
If it’s too good to be true – it usually is. Be careful that your web designer is not a “Jack Of All Trades” and a master of none! I may own a $5000 set of pots and pans. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to cook you up a meal like a professional chef.
For the average jewelry distributor and wholesaler, the pressures of additional expense have a way of blurring the true importance of jewelry photography. A crisp, vivid, true to life digital capture of the jewelry is the best, and often the only, chance to sell the product. The design and details of the jewelry you have worked so hard to create or acquire, the shape, the metal, and the precious stones – these are the elements that create the complexity or simplicity of the design and are best appreciated and reproduced when viewed through the eyes and the lens of artistic, experienced and technically proficient, professional jewelry photographer.
Profitable jewelry companies communicate frequently and consistently with their potential customers through catalogs, magazine advertising, postcards, and of course the Internet. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in the (Real Estate) space, area or location for the photography and then spend nothing in the actual image that is placed there. Why would you pay thousands of dollars for a full page ad in a magazine and then put a blurry badly lit photograph of your jewelry there? It would be the same as buying an expensive piece of land in an affluent neighborhood and then parking a trailer on it.
The concept of Jewelry Photography is quite simple. The photograph illustrating your jewelry should look the same, or better than the jewelry itself. If you’re not achieving that measure of quality then you’re losing. Bad photography only decreases the value of the jewelry you’re selling. On the other hand, a great photograph by a skilled professional appreciates the value of your jewelry and create customer confidence.
We have a jewelry store in a beautiful and trendy area of town and when we need photography we hire the photographer that has a portrait studio in the same plaza. It’s very convenient and sometimes I can trade jewelry instead of paying for his services.
Response to Excuse #6
Congratulations on your store! You’ve done your homework found a good location, invested in your store’s design and layout, you’ve spent thousands on signage, product displays, and lighting. You sell only the best quality jewelry from the most popular designers – and now to compliment it all you have mediocre, poorly lit jewelry images for your catalogs, brochures, posters and backlit store displays, shot by a talented portrait photographer who has no idea how to shoot jewelry. Convenience is great but it should never be a substitute for Quality!
If your photographer cannot capture the essence and quality of the jewelry, it will not matter how fabulous the jewelry is, how precious the diamonds, stones, and metal are, or how stunning the designs for the entire collection are – bad photography will fail to inspire the potential consumer, and the jeweler will miss the opportunity to entice the customer into the store. An empty store will not help create more sales or help generate income to recover any of your initial investment. Remember well-photographed images can become your company’s least expensive and best performing ‘sales associates’!
If you’re serious about doing what you do best, “Designing, making and selling jewelry”, then get serious about your jewelry photography. The choice is yours. You can continue to make excuses or you can turn it over to an experienced professional.