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Every other month our blog posts a tutorial showing how to take at home the pictures we create in the studio. If you have a question about our suggestions please don’t hold back - write to us.

Would you like Via U! to create your photography instead of doing it yourself? Anywhere in the world you live, we are here to help.

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I am an advertising photographer in NYC. My pictures help large corporations sell more and keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U!, an online studio dedicated to creating photography that helps people selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

16. March 2012 17:51

Taking Jewelry Pictures Like a Professional Without the Professional Equipment

Use a regular household lamp to take pictures of jewelry that can look like photographed in a professional studio.

You will need 2 boxes, 2 A clamps, a piece of translucid material and a working lamp.

To make the lamp create a large reflection I used a piece of acrylic (plexiglas). The one I am using is translucent, the kind that lets light go through but you can see through. You can use anything that is translucent and has no color, like paper or fabric. This piece of acrylic is 1/4" thick and 24”x18” in size.

Set up in a place where you will have space to put the camera in front and lamps in the back. Working on the floor is not a bad idea.

The closer the acrylic is to your jewelry, the bigger the reflection of the light on the metal. Consider hanging the acrylic to have space to put your camera close to what you are photographing if you need to. These boxes are a 12” high.

More see more about how to control light using acrylic look HERE

Put the side of the boxes covered in white paper facing the inside. Light will bounce from the white paper to the jewelry. If there writing it will show on your jewelry, cover it with white.

Turn the lamp on. Close the shades and turn off all other lights in the room.

Light is too yellow you say? That’s because a house lamp bulb puts out yellow light. The photograph shows the actual color of the light from the lamp.

Is there a real color for anything? I guess not really, the same object looks different at different moments. To help us make sense of a world that changes so much cameras balance colors so things appear to be the way we think they should look. They do it by adjusting light coming in to match an imaginary 100% white.

Now, you may think twice about white balancing a sunset...

... but it’s a kick ass tool if you want your jewelry to look normal.

To learn how to adjust the white balance for your camera search in You Tube for a tutorial that teaches how to do it for your camera brand and model. I use the tutorials in You Tube to learn things about my own cameras.

Here is something important ... when adjusting the white balance put a piece of white paper in the place where you will be taking the pictures. When taking a reading make sure that the camera sees only the area covered by the paper.

I suggest not to worry about understanding terms like degrees Kelvin, color temperature and balancing targets. The color of your pictures does not need to be perfect, it simply needs to look good. Let your eyes call it, if you like it, it’s perfect.

It is a matter of taste. I let some dark areas in the silver because I like variety and feel that they make the areas that shine more special. But you may disagree...

Polished silver is like a mirror, it has no color of it's own, it takes the color of what it reflects. The dark areas are the room’s reflection.

You can control the size of the black areas by moving the bracelet closer or further away from the light.

If you would like to have the dark areas to be as small as possible put  a gray, white or silver card on each side of the camera. You can control their effect by moving them closer or further away of the camera.

To learn how to make your own silver cards look HERE

The lovely bracelet is a courteous loan of Versani , thank you so much Yaf.


Comments (42) -

pavel shepherd
pavel shepherd United States
3/22/2012 1:59:34 PM #

great tutorial! so easy a caveman could do it! keep it up

Audrey United States
3/24/2012 9:41:56 PM #

Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information.  It was truly helpful.

SHAWN United States
3/26/2012 7:56:37 PM #


Kathleen Ruth
Kathleen Ruth United States
4/1/2012 10:23:52 AM #

Thank you so much! I'm still learning to take decent pictures and this is very helpful!

Jacqueline Marchant
Jacqueline Marchant United States
4/1/2012 4:32:38 PM #

Thank you so much for all the brilliant instructions... The article was so helpful...I was fortunate enough to win the Modahaus unit sponsered by  Lex ...The Beading Gem Journal is one of my many sources for instructional information also and now I am adding you to my list of helpful instructors.....ty ty ty

Angella Briggs
Angella Briggs United States
4/1/2012 11:38:30 PM #

Thank you for this awesome tutorial!! I have been struggling with getting professional pictures for my jewelry creations for awhile now. Genius!

Jesse United States
4/20/2012 12:58:46 AM #

Thanks, so helpful! Smile

Silvio / Berlin
Silvio / Berlin Germany
4/20/2012 1:28:01 PM #

Very simple, very affordable, very good results. Chapeau.

Anena United States
4/21/2012 4:24:14 PM #

Thank you so much for your pointers I love this story and the pictures; you've inspired me.

mark rex
mark rex United States
4/23/2012 3:25:32 PM #

man this so helpful I,m a lamper and glass has so many colors taking pics is hard ..thanks again

rachaelhart People's Republic of China
5/10/2012 11:47:58 PM #

Nice one, there is actually some great points on this post some of my associates will find this worthwhile, will send them a link, thanks.

Bruce Kocher
Bruce Kocher United States
5/17/2012 6:06:42 PM #

Hi, Do you have any tips for someone like me? I need to take great shots of house inside and out when I list a home. So many of the pictures I see in the listings from others are soooo horrible. Its a wonder that any one come to look at the house in person. I want to drive people to my listings. I hired a pro and it worked. But I can't afford to hire someone each and every time.

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5/25/2012 1:58:16 AM #

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Doris United States
6/3/2012 9:03:55 AM #

Thank you so much for the instructions that anyone could understand. I needed help on how to make a simple setup for photos of my jewelry. I have a table thats perfect for setting it up and l now look forward to trying it. Thanks also for suggestion of youtube
for camera instructions. I'm putting you in my FAVORITES. By the way found you through Pearls "The Beading Gem" she is one special gal.

                           Have a great day, Doris

Susanna Lachut
Susanna Lachut United States
6/7/2012 1:58:12 PM #

Hi there, lately i study your article and right now i submit my comment to you. Because i have buyed the book. See you!

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Wedding rings los angeles United States
6/21/2012 9:57:56 AM #

Its real awesome post It was really helpful to me

France Mazingo
France Mazingo United States
7/5/2012 6:15:34 PM #

Good work

heidi ruth grenda
heidi ruth grenda Nicaragua
9/8/2012 4:51:31 PM #

Te agradezco mucho la explicación y la forma para sacar las fotos de mis trabajos.  Creo que con esto podré mejorar. Mil gracias¡¡

Thelma Harcum
Thelma Harcum United States
9/8/2012 9:40:23 PM #

Thank you for sharing this photo tip.  It will help in many ways! I've just started making jewelry again and so I will try this when taking photos.  

Thanks for the magnificent article. Where else may anyone get that type of information in such a perfect manner that also involves great writing skills? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I was looking for such information.I really like your blog.

Deena United States
10/12/2012 9:11:02 PM #

Cheryl... this is really neat! Thanks so much for sharing!!

James India
10/15/2012 3:29:29 AM #

Great information and it sounds very easy when you explain these. Reading your blog makes me want to try a photo according to your presentation. Excellent share.  

Nancy United States
11/13/2012 9:45:24 AM #

You are a wonderful teacher. Thank you for all the work you put into this amazing page.  

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12/20/2012 2:04:13 AM #

Wow! This stuff is amazing. You have mentioned such great tips that anybody can work like a professional photographer even without the equipment.

Narayan Patel
Narayan Patel Bangladesh
12/21/2012 1:38:10 PM #

Yes this is much helpful for photography beginners also !! Thank you  

Angie United Kingdom
1/27/2013 9:58:31 AM #

Hi I was just checking out your tutorial. Have you edited teh photo in photoshop to make the background a pure white? Because using the steps you have suggested, the background turns out grey in the finished photo.

Would love to see a tutorial on how you made the background pure white in photoshop.


fernanda United States
2/12/2013 9:43:32 AM #

wow este articulo esta buenisimo!!

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Jewellery Photography India
5/2/2013 3:52:08 PM #

amazing tutorial, thanks to share it...

Pearls United States
5/24/2013 3:15:01 PM #

This is a very nice post which I was awaiting for such an article and I have gained some useful information from this site. Thanks for sharing this information.

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