Learn about Jewelry Photography Lighting

Get the Best Light: Learn about Jewelry Photography Lighting

Jewelry photography lighting is an essential component of jewelry photoshoots and it is one of the most important factors to consider when making publicity materials. Not only does it help showcase the glamour and splendor of your jewelry collection but proper lighting can make a good picture great.

This is why there are various jewelry photography lighting setups that can give your jewelry collections different characters and ambiances. They offer a great way to capture aesthetically pleasing jewelry that will enamor potential customers.

If you want high-quality photos without worrying about lighting, you can work with a jewelry retouching company. It will need more time and resources, but your photos are sure to exude luxury and elegance.

On the other hand, you can explore the different setups and decide what works best for your jewelry. To do so, it is crucial to understand photography lighting fundamentals before trying different setups.

Photography Lighting Basics

To capture high-quality photos, you have to understand how light affects the photos you take. There are two things you need to know about:

  • Exposure
  • Quality


Exposure determines the lightness or darkness of photos you capture. It’s how much light reaches your camera sensor. It has 3 components: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

ISO – Determining the light sensitivity of the camera sensor, it can be adjusted to perfect the exposure before capturing photos. It is important to remember that high sensitivity could lead to grainier photos.

Aperture – Measured in f stops, the aperture is the opening of the camera lens. It controls how much light can pass through the lens. This contributes to the focus of good-quality photos.

Shutter Speed – The length of time it takes for light to go through the aperture. It showcases motion with a slow shutter speed while a fast shutter speed can freeze motion in pictures.

It is essential that you strike a balance between the three factors to create a well-exposed image. A photo with great exposure comes hand in hand with the quality of light to produce a high-quality picture.


The other basic is the quality of the light source. It assists in controlling light distribution, reflections, and color-perfect photo subjects. It is also the contrast between hard and soft light as well as warm and cool light.

The exposure and quality need to reach an equilibrium for the best quality images. So both should be considered when formulating suitable lighting for jewelry photography.

Best Lighting for Jewelry Photography

With lighting being an indispensable component of jewelry photoshoots, it is important to consider which types of light you use.

Given that there is a large selection of lights to choose from, it’s difficult to narrow down the choices. Here’s a list of some of the best ones you can use for taking pictures of jewelry:

  • Photofloods
  • Quartz – Halogen Work Lamps
  • Daylight Photofloods (Blue Bulbs)
  • Fiber – Optic Lights


Photofloods are spun aluminum bells mounted on small clamp-on lights. This tungsten film bulb works best without other light sources as other types of light affect the color captured.

These lights are most often used with light diffusers, such as mirrors, to add light on other parts of the object to be captured.

The best quality photofloods are those with ceramic sockets, as opposed to plastic sockets that easily overheat and have switches that quickly wear out.

Quartz – Halogen Work Lamps

With the similar color temperature as photofloods, quartz – halogen work lamps are brighter, making them more cost-efficient and better for large objects.

Daylight Photofloods (Blue Bulbs)

Blue bulb, or daylight balanced photoflood, are daylight film type that works similar to photofloods. They’re more economical, at the cost of the amount of light the film receives.

Fiber – Optic Lights

On the other hand, fiber – optic lights are less affordable lights great for eliminating shadows and precise spotlighting. These intense spotlights are apt for small objects as they can be twisted and positioned very close to small objects.

Different lights befit different jewelry; it’s beneficial to experiment for you to figure out which ones work best together. A long with different lights, a variety of lighting setups can contribute to a professional jewelry photography lighting.

Jewelry Photography Lighting Setups

Different setups can emphasize different details of the jewelry photographed. Choosing what setup to use helps you decide what the focus of the photo is. The position of the light can give very different impressions for the same product.

The following are some jewelry photography lighting setups you can experiment with:

  • Back Lighting Setup
  • Side Lighting Setup
  • Natural Lighting Setup
  • Lightbox Setup

Back Lighting Setup

Lighting from behind is a flattering setup for glass-like jewelry that showcases the allure of the product without any distortion to its shape.

You can do this technique following these steps:

  1. Organize your photoshoot area – It should be an environment where you can move around unimpeded and free of external elements that can damage the jewelry you plan to feature.
  2. Prepare a stable platform – For this photoshoot, it’s important to have the jewelry aligned in the same level with its light source.
  3. Place the light source behind – Position the jewelry in any way you desire with the light source placed behind it. Adjust the light source and jewelry if needed so that the jewelry is well-defined and striking.
  4. Position the foam board and light diffuser – Arrange the light diffuser between the light source and the jewelry while the foam board is placed under and on both sides of the product. These will help distribute the light, control reflections, and remove imperfections.

Side Lighting Setup

This setup is best for featuring intricate jewelry; it is an aesthetic setup that revitalizes any piece through a three-dimensional effect.

Follow these steps to try this setup:

  1. Prepare materials and photoshoot location – Have materials like reflectors and diffusers, light source, white backdrop, and foam board on hand; sweep down the white backdrop under the jewelry.
  2. Diffuse the light – Similar to how it was done in the earlier setup, ensure that there is an object between the light source and the object. As this setup will emphasize some details, harsh reflections, and blemishes should be minimized.
  3.  Illuminate the jewelry from the side and make sure that the features are properly highlighted.

Natural Lighting Setup

The sun provides the most even distribution of light that illuminates the jewelry. It is suitable for outdoor or indoor photoshoots.

For this, it’s imperative that no other light source is turned on and that the gray card is used to balance the color and adjust other possible settings for the photoshoot.

Lightbox Setup

This setup is an effective yet economical technique to achieve soft lighting. It can be done following these instructions:

  1. Prepare a container – Get a storage container big enough to hold all types of jewelry you want to feature.
  2. Diffuse light – Similar to the first two setups, place the foam board under the container.
  3. Stick a firm paper on the container – To have a smooth background, remove corners by sticking the white firm paper with tape while allowing it to curve.

Get the Best Lighting All the Time with Jewelry Retouchers

You can experiment with the different lighting setups to see what works for your jewelry. But you can also choose to work with professionals like us.

With Jewelry Retouchers, you can feature your tastefully crafted pieces without having to fear that the publicity materials fall flat.

Our jewelry photo retouching services ensure that your photos always get the best light. See more of our services here.

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