Outdoor jewelry photography is an art form of photography. If you want to take creative product photos of your jewelry outdoors to show on Instagram and other social networks, this blog provide some tips on how to work with light and your camera settings to get amazing results.
1. Soft outdoor lighting
Outdoor lighting can be unpredictable, but is often more flattering than indoor studio lighting. The sun can create some beautiful effects, like glinting and sparkling, that really make your jewelry stand out. But sometimes it can be too bright.
- Try to find a location where the sun is behind a cloud. This will give you soft light that’s not too bright.
- You can also try photographing in the shade under a tree so the sun is not directly hitting your product.
- If possible, shoot in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as high in the sky and the light is softer.
The key to taking great outdoor jewelry photos is understanding how to use lighting to your advantage. When you become more comfortable with using natural light, you can start to experiment and see what works best for your product.
2. Outdoor backlighting
One way to create an interesting outdoor shot is to use backlighting. Backlighting involves placing your jewelry such that the sun or another light source is behind the subject of the photo. This kind of gives your jewelry a glare from behind but softer colors in front. You can get some nice gradient effects with this technique.
3. Find the right location
One of the most important aspects of getting the perfect outdoor shot is finding the right location. Some outdoor jewelry photos are taken on the spur of the moment, and they can be great. But if you really want to get creative and get some creative outdoor photos, it’s worth doing a bit of location scouting in advance.
Look for places with interesting architecture, texture, and light. The image above shot on a beach works for pearls because pearls come from the ocean and this background gives the jewelry that natural, organic feel.
A busy background can distract from your jewelry, so look for a clean backdrop that complements the colors and style of your piece.
Once you’ve found a few possible locations, take some time to visit them at different times of day to see how the light falls and take some sample shots so you can see what angles and light works best for your jewelry.
You can also try photographing at night using available light sources such as street lamps!
4. Experiment with natural framing
Natural light and scenery can really make your pieces pop. But how do you get the perfect shot? The key is in the framing and composition.
- Flowers, trees, and rocks can add depth and dimension to your photos, while also helping to highlight the unique features of your jewelry. For example, you can use trees or branches to create an organic frame for your photos.
- When composing your shots, think about the overall balance and feel you want to create. Where will the viewer’s eye be drawn first? What kind of emotion do you want to convey? Experiment with different angles and distances until you find a framing style that works.
- Instead of just placing your jewelry on a flat surface, try positioning it in different ways using a variety of outdoor materials. But be careful not to overdo it. Too many props can make an outdoor shot look cluttered, so use them sparingly and be sure they complement the overall tone of your image.
5. Camera & settings for outdoor photography
To take the best shots, you’ll need to have a good camera for outdoor photography. Once you have a camera, take some time to understand your camera and settings.
Here are some camera setting tips for outdoor product photography.
- Aperture: If you’re shooting in direct sunlight, you’ll want to use a lower aperture to avoid blowing out the highlights. Conversely, if you’re shooting in shade or low light, you’ll need to use a higher aperture to let in more light.
- Blurry background or not? If you’re shooting close-ups of individual pieces of jewelry, you’ll want a shallow aperture (low F number, try something around F5) so that the background is blurred and your subject is in sharp focus. On the other hand, if you’re shooting group shots or full-body shots of models wearing jewelry, you’ll want a deeper aperture (higher F number, try F11 or higher) so that everyone and everything is in sharp focus.
- Low ISO: When shooting during the day, set your camera to a low ISO so your images stay sharp. High ISO’s can help in low light situations such as night shots but images tend to be a bit grainy.
- Shutter speed: Finally, pay attention to your shutter speed. If you’re shooting handheld, you’ll need to use a faster shutter speed to avoid camera shake. If you’re using a tripod, however, you can get away with using a slower shutter speed.
For example in the below photo with the lady wearing jewelry, if you want the background to be clear, try F11 or higher. This blurry background is achieved with a low F number like in the F5 range. This type of photo is usually done with some trial and error. Take the same photo with different apertures and see how it turns out and what you like best. Learn more about camera settings here.
6. Add a Human Element
When taking outdoor jewelry photos, it can be easy to focus on the jewelry itself and forget about the human element. After all, the jewelry is the star of the show!
However, including a human element in your photos can help to create a more engaging and relatable image. Outdoor shots featuring people tend to be more engaging than those without, so if you have a model available, consider incorporating them into your shot.
Here are a few ways to add a human element to your outdoor jewelry photography:
- Include a close-up of the jewelry being worn. This could be a photo of someone’s hand holding a piece of jewelry.
- Include a photo of the person wearing the jewelry in an action shot. This could be them walking, running, or even just sitting down.
- Include a photo of the person wearing the jewelry in water. This could be them running a braceleted arm through a stream, or bathing in a pond.
Outdoor jewelry photography can be a lot of fun, but it also takes some practice to get the shots you want.
Have patience. Shooting products outdoors can be frustrating at times, but by being patient and taking advantage of natural light, you can capture some truly stunning images.
Go outside and start taking some pics.