Shadows in your jewelry photos aren’t necessarily a bad thing. During jewellery editing, it’s a common mistake for beginner-level editors to remove all the shadows and retouch the rest of the jewelry. Unless specifically requested by a brand or client to match their aesthetic, removing all types of shadows in jewelry photos isn’t recommended. When used correctly, you can add depth and drama to your image, which can enhance its quality and add to the luxurious feel of your images.
That’s why it’s important to work with a professional jewelry retouching company that understands how to use shadows in your jewelry images. Here are the types of shadows in jewelry photos, when to remove or add shadows, and some jewelry photo editing tips to achieve natural shadows that aren’t distracting from the main parts of your image.
Know Your Shadows
There are three types of shadows you can add or edit on your jewelry photos: natural shadows, reflection shadows, and drop shadows. For e-commerce photos used for things like online stores and catalogs, it’s best to be consistent and choose one of the three. Using all three for one set of images can be inconsistent while using all three in one image can produce unnatural results. Here’s what you should know about how to use these shadows in your jewelry images.
Natural shadows are the typical shadows you see when the jewelry piece is held upright and with one light source pointed at it. A natural shadow in your image gives your jewelry more depth as it allows customers to see your jewelry as a three-dimensional object, rather than a flat object with no shadow.
Creating a natural shadow is one of the more difficult types of shadows in jewelry photos to add in during post-production. It’s much easier to have a shadow to work with and fix in post-production. While it is possible to create a natural shadow from scratch, it takes a certain level of skill and experience in how to edit jewelry photos to create a realistic natural shadow in Photoshop.
These types of jewelry photo shadows give your image the appearance that your jewelry is placed on top of a glass platform that’s reflecting the bottom half of your jewelry. This mirror-like reflection adds some understated elegance to your jewelry without the need for props, making it a simple way to add more to your image rather than just a plain photo.
While you can achieve this effect with glass or mirror props during photography, the typical reflection shadow is often edited in during post-production. To add a reflection shadow on Photoshop, you’ll need to duplicate a layer of the jewelry and then flip it so that it’s a mirrored image from the bottom. Use the gradient mask and blur tool to adjust as necessary to achieve a natural reflection.
A drop shadow is a dark line found along some of the edges of the jewelry, depending on where the light is hitting your jewelry. In other words, if you place the jewelry on a flat surface, this is the small dark line that is your jewelry casting a small shadow over itself. This gives your image a three-dimensional appearance without the natural shadow.
In most cases, you’ll find that photos of jewelry set on a flat surface already have some form of drop shadow. However, you can still retouch the shadow to make it more dramatic or to emphasize overexposed details. This can give it more depth and make it look more realistic. Just keep in mind not to overdo it in editing, as it can start to darken some of the smaller details on the edges of the jewelry.
Should Jewelry Photos Have Shadows?
Unless a client or brand you’re working for explicitly tells you to remove the shadows from the image, it’s best to keep some of the shadows in the image. Removing all the shadows can make your image flat, dull, and two-dimensional, which can affect the quality and how potential customers see a certain piece. Adding, editing, or simply leaving the right shadows in can give your image depth and a three-dimensional shape that allow customers to visualize the product.
There are some instances when you should remove some of the shadows in an image. If there was a lighting issue or a distracting shadow in the image, this can be removed with Photoshop. However, it’s also important to know which shadows add value to your image and which should be removed. You should also practice consistency with all your photos, as these images side by side can give a clean and organized appearance that makes it easier for customers to compare jewelry pieces.
Some of the benefits of keeping shadows in your jewelry photos include:
Appear Realistic and Natural
Given the lighting of your image, it’s only natural to see a shadow somewhere in the image. Based on where the lighting is and your jewelry’s position, having a shadow in the jewelry photo makes your image look realistic and natural. Depending on the overall aesthetic of the image, removing the shadow entirely can give your jewelry an awkward, unrealistic, and overly edited appearance. This can be off-putting for some customers, which can cost you sales in the long run.
Focus Your Customers’ Attention
When used correctly, shadows can really make your jewelry pop, especially on a white background typical in jewelry photography. The darkness of the shadow adds contrast to the background and helps your jewelry stand out. This can help your customers focus solely on the jewelry, which can allow them to view its details closely.
Professional Level Images
Photo retouching is an essential step for producing the best output for your images. By knowing which shadows to keep, your retouching output can result in vibrant and natural-looking jewelry. Keep in mind that even a customer that isn’t trained in lighting and photography may find something odd about an image with no shadow. Since our eyes are used to seeing shadows everywhere, having the right kind of shadow can provide professional and realistic results.
Add Elements to Your Image
Most online stores and catalogs feature jewelry against a plain white background with a natural shadow. If this is too boring for your aesthetic but you don’t want to add distracting props, you might find that retouching the shadows and adding depth to them can add more to your image – without having to add anything at all. For example, adding a reflection shadow to your jewelry photo can give the appearance of a mirror-like platform underneath your jewelry. This has an elegant effect to it, even without the need of using special stands or additional props.
Let Jewelry Retouchers Be Your Partner in Post-Production
Not all types of shadows in jewelry photos should be erased. If you have a good eye for lighting and the editing skills to add or modify shadows, you can produce results that look natural and make each jewelry piece pop in every image.
At Jewelry Retouchers, our editors are skilled in the best practices and latest software to retouch jewelry images for stunning results. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our high-end retouching services for jewelry photography.