how to photograph a necklace

How to Photograph a Necklace – Lighting & Composition

Here are some tips on how to photograph a necklace…

1. Soft Lighting using a Light Box

Softboxes are typically used for jewelry photography because they help evenly diffuse the light. If you don’t have one, you can easily make a lightbox and get some cheap lighting. If you’re photographing from home in a small space, you can also set up your shoot next to a window and use natural sunlight as your light source.

necklace photography

2. Displaying Your Necklace

While many e-commerce sites photograph the necklace laying on a flat surface, it’s always a good idea to capture the necklace hanging as well so customers can see how it falls. You could use a mannequin or a necklace bust like the above image but a quick and inexpensive way to get the same results is to simply cut a slit into some sturdy cardboard and let it act as your mannequin (image below).


3. Light Backgrounds

You want your necklaces to really stand out and the best way to do this is to avoid any distracting backgrounds.

  • When shooting fashion jewelry, a white background is especially good because bright colors contrast well with white.
  • With fine jewelry, white is going to work but a light gray or beige background also works because gemstones tend to look more elegant in soft colored backgrounds.
  • For artsy jewelry, a graduated black-to-white background is often used. But these types of backgrounds can start to interfere with the gemstone reflections so it’s not recommended for an ecommerce site. However, they work well as a homepage image or for a print ad.

4. Angles

necklace photography

You want to give your customers as many views of your necklace as possible. Be sure to get a good variety of angles and close up of each piece. The above pendant is shot open so customers can see that it’s a locket. People, in general are visual so it’s better to show the image than just mention it in the product description.

Close up: If you’re shooting a long necklace, you also want to show a close-up view like the below.

close up necklace photography

Clasp detail: If the necklace has an interesting clasp that shows an inscription or a logo, show that detail as well. Details like these help sell the product.

necklace close up photography

5. Consistency

Consistency makes it easier for customers to browse because it’s easier on the eye to scan through a set of similarly shot images. Overall, it also makes your site look more professional, which can possibly lead to more sales.

So make some basic decisions upfront and carry them throughout the site. Here are a few things to consider…

  • Keep image sizes consistent
  • Show zoomed images for all products
  • Choose between a bust/mannequin or live models or shoot items laid flat
  • Shoot under similar lighting
  • Background color

Don’t overdo it though…think big picture – if a few images are a bit different (and for a reason) that’s completely ok.

What are some of the challenges you face when shooting necklaces? 

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Kristine Pedder

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