With this tutorial I will be walking you through an intermediate skill level jewelry product shoot. For this shoot I simply used a silver ring, on table top white acrylic (reflective) base that’s about 9.5” square (from LimoStudio), a 12” lightcube (from Square Perfect), a tripod with swivel/trigger head, two steady lights, a 100mm macro lens (Canon), and camera (Canon 70D), and some good old fashion mounting putty to hold the ring in place. Also, with this tutorial I will be explaining how to get a piece of jewelry entirely in focus for an extra sharp image. Here is a quick photo to give you an idea of how I put the setup together for this particular shoot.
As you can see the lights on either side of the lightcube fill it with white light as well as illuminate the reflective acrylic, which is placed a touch at an angle within the cube. The ring is held in place with mounting putty. Because the ring is kind of thick you won’t be able to see the mounting putty (sometimes you have to use your photoshop skills to whiten out the putty and color in the jewelry for a final edit) The trigger headed tripod is aimed at the piece to give it a more dramatic angle as well. With jewelry photography I strongly suggest using a macro lens to get the most detail out of the pieces you will be shooting.
If you have ever used a macro lens then you know that when closeup on an item there are a multitude of focal points where you can keep part of a subject in focus and others blurred. In order to eliminate that effect and create a crisp image we will be using Photoshop CC. But, here are two examples of the piece with different focal points:
Keep in mind that these are unedited and the background is not “pure white” or transparent plus the item is not entirely in focus.
At this point within Photoshop go to file, automate, photomerge. This technique is called photo stacking, which allows you to merge the same subject having different focal points into one in-focus image.
Which brings you to this screen:
Keep in mind to uncheck “blend images together.”
From here just click browse and select the images you want to SMASH TOGETHER!
In this case I selected about 9 images (to be on the safe side!) Generally you can work with anything above two for simple editing. This is where the tripod and manual focus are a necessity as well as a steady hand when pressing the shutter release. A remote shutter trigger also works wonders and Vello makes some nice ones that are extremely versatile and affordable.
In your Layers palette simple select ALL the images that you are going to merge:
With all files selected click edit and auto-blend layers , then select “stack images.”
Photoshop is now selecting the different elements from each photo needed to make one image. We are almost there…sort of.
Your layers palette should now look something like this:
Your next step – with all the layers still selected is to right click on any one and select “merge layers” and in the blink of an eye you have an image that is a combination of 9 separate photos, which now looks pretty darn in focus. But wait! There’s more!
I strongly suggest to take this process a few steps further to really give your image more of a pro-feel. First of all square the image with your crop tool.
Now, if you have a pen tablet (The Wacom Bamboo is one of the best investments I have ever made) you can start erasing the background, leaving the ring in the center. If you are not handy with isolation yet, you can check out our Isolation methods in Photoshop tutorial:
After this right click the layer and flatten the image, which leave you with the piece on a perfectly white background.
As you can see the image is greatly improved from it’s initial capture. Feel free to take this image and put it through Lightroom to tweak and color correct even more! Hope you guys found this informative!