Jewellery photography is one of the most challenging of all photography. A specialty jewellery photographer is a master craftsman who understands jewellery and knows how to deal with the challenges of creating pleasing results. It requires very high levels of professional skills in photography, handling of sophisticated equipment, awesome retouching and visualization skills to achieve fabulous looking images that can drive the sales charts and create extraordinary brand image.
The use of specialized, technical large format cameras that use movements for swing, tilt, rise and fall, at lens and image plane for controlling depth of focus, shallow or infinite. These cameras when mated with high resolution Schnieder Macro Apo-Digitar and Rodenstock Apo-Soronar optics having large image circles along with PRO quality digital back are the ultimate weapon of choice for a serious photographer to achieve great details in the diamonds to show clarity, cut and colour. The use of such cameras require study and technical know how.
These are very expensive photographic assets and only a competent photographer with years of experience can muster the courage to invest so much capital. It is very risky to venture into this exclusive club of rare photographers in an era where DSLR photographers are a dime a dozen to provide mediocre images dirt-cheap.
Below: The state of the art technical camera from Arca Swiss, (shown here front and back view) with Phase One digital back and Rodenstock digitar apo macro lens. Below: The flexible movements at lens and film plane with precise calculations ( notice the scales and degrees on the camera) enables us to control our plane of focus for desired effect. There are times when we intend to put only certain parts of the image in focus and create out of focus effect on certain parts of the image for added visual impact. This can be achieved only by this camera type.
Possession of these photographic assets alone does not ensure great images unless the photographer understands the use of correct lighting and has the patience and commitment, to create controlled highlights and shadows with sparkling diamonds. In technical terms, it is the use of different types of lighting (Soft and hard) both for metal and diamonds in proper ratio and conjunction that is required for high quality images. Fine-tuning the lighting to get glitter of diamonds with smoothness and graduating highlights on metal surfaces, for form and shape. The varying tones of shadows and highlights, on very small surfaces poses the greatest challenge to the photographer.
It is very time consuming and requires a lot of patience and dedication to execute great jewellery photography. Thus I insist once again that great jewellery photography go beyond equipment. Having visual sensibilities are the greatest assets of a professional jewellery photographer.
like in medicine, where you have a specialist doctors who have mastered in Ophthalmology, Oncologist, Ortho etc. Jewellery photographer is a specialist who has mastered the art of jewellery photography.
Master jewellery photographer is one who goes beyond the technical skills and creates enchanting images by intense visuals. He is an artist who understands the language of visual art.
Representation of the jeweller’s creation in full glory, creating mood, fashion and style by adding environment around the jewellery in a way that is minimalistic in nature is the challenge.
The jewellery has to be arranged in a prominent and revealing manner. Showing the clarity, cut and colour of the jewels along with the fine finish, craftsmanship and design.
Knowledge to show the most important parts of the jewellery while hiding the inappropriate parts effectively is important.
Using poor quality images in the advertising media or website will not create a compelling impression on the prospective buyers. These images can do more harm to your brand than you can imagine.
I have 6 years of experience working in the industry and I consult various advertising agencies. Many agencies try to make do with the services of in house photographers providing cheaper alternatives to their clients. During the course of my career I have also come across jewellers that have invested in light boxes and cameras to execute photography by employing the services of startup photographers.
It has to be understood that by following these routes, you will not be able to achieve high value image of the fabulous jewellery that you have invested in.
Jewellers invest heavily in designing and production of expensive jewellery pieces. The jewellery may be beautiful and precious, with high value diamonds, metals and designs but if it does not inspire the potential customer with a beautiful photograph the opportunity to make a sale is lost.
In the emerging marketplace this opportunity may be lost to your competitor with better and more compelling images.
If you are a jeweler who deals in expensive jewellery, you will require a professional jewellery photographer. There are not many to choose from even in bigger cities that are jewellery capitals like Mumbai. Jewellery photography is a very difficult and challenging subject with astronomically huge investments. Photographers abound in other areas like fashion but not in Jewellery. Of course, you WILL find a lot of guys, but not the real specialists.
The potential customer is converted into a buyer only through compelling images that appear on pages of newspaper, magazine and hoarding ads.
Jewellers are under pressure to sell the inventory before the designs become outdated and redundant. They have to reach out to the public in the most effective medium through advertising. The images used in the advertising have to be very powerful and attractive. If these images are weak, the jeweler looses on the media investment and opportunity cost. Thus from all angles, the jeweler should spend on good photography and consider it as a high return investment. It will pay back huge dividends.