Photography is one of your jewelry business’ most important details, especially if you mostly sell online. White background and model shots are great ways to give your website a professional and artistic look. But for social media you can be more relaxed. Put a few of your pieces on and post a few selfies! You’ll be able to show off your jewelry, introduce your followers to you, and be more relaxed and natural than a professional photo shoot. Your selfies still need to look good and show off the product beautifully. We have some ideas and tips to take the perfect jewelry selfie.
Note: all photos in this article were shot on an iPhone 8 and edited only using the basic editing tools in the photos app or using Photoshop Express.
Always Remember Basic Photography Tips:
Selfies are still photos and will always look best if you remember your basic photography rules. Some of our phone photography tips will also come in handy for selfies.
Your subject (you) will need to be well lit. Even without any equipment, you can create beautiful selfies. Interior lighting can create problems with shadows, since most lighting is overhead and can create harsh shadows on your face. If this is your only option, play with angles. Raising your phone to a slightly higher angle is the most popular way to reduce shadows on your face. But also play with your physical angle – try turning your head a few different ways to see how you can affect the shadows on your face. There’s also a reason that bathroom selfies became popular. Since the lighting is often not directly overhead, the shadows tend to be less harsh (wouldn't necessarily recommend taking your photos in the bathroom, but keep the lighting setup in mind). Ideally if you’re taking selfies inside, try taking them near a window for a softer light (be cautious of where the sun is). Side lighting is best, or you may end up with nothing but a blown out white background.
Or you can take your phone and jewelry to the great outdoors! Sunlight can create a different set of problems though. Beware of where the sun is. You don’t want your picture to have you squinting because the sun is so bright. Try angling the sun behind you so your body is blocking it. This may also help the background be seen more. It’s not going to create a perfect picture, but it’s a better starting point than a big sun glare. Don’t be afraid of a cloudy day. The clouds can help soften the sun and help your lighting situation.
Do your best to not squint into the sun. Not only does it make your picture less appealing but it's extremely uncomfortable. You'll also get way more shadows. The sun behind you can create a cool effect, just be careful because it can lead to some glare (as you can see in this one).
A phone flash isn’t always great, but it may be able to balance out the lighting enough for a good picture, or at least one that’s easier to edit. If your phone’s camera app doesn’t have flash ability from the front camera, try taking a picture using Snapchat - they can be downloaded and never sent. There are also many accessories on the market that can help with your lighting. One of the most popular is a small light that clips on to your phone. They’re usually relatively inexpensive and can potentially help you take the perfect selfie.
In this example, the photo on the right with flash is by no means perfect, but at least it's not as horribly blown out as the one on the left. So I might still be able to edit it to be usable.
The Rule of Thirds
This might be more of a design aspect but following the rule of thirds will give your selfie that extra touch. In basic terms, this rule recommends you not perfectly center everything. Most phones have this option in their settings to make it even easier for you. Your screen is broken up into a 3x3 grid and the idea is to have the main focal point along one of the lines of the grid rather than centered in the center grid square. Following this is thought to give photos more interest and intrigue.
Think About Your Background
Even if your background is relatively plain, you’ll want to crop in as tight as you can to the jewelry you’re trying to showcase. If there are too many things going on in the picture, the viewer’s focus will be diverted from the intended subject. If you need to do a wider shot, put some extra thought into the background. Maybe try for a background that’s not too busy or that matches the theme of the jewelry you’re showing off. You can also use the crop to put a photo in line with the rule of thirds if you couldn’t get the original to work right.
Take a Lot
Even the most seasoned professionals can rarely get the perfect photo or selfie on the first take. Be sure to take a lot of pictures! Try experimenting with the lighting around you, your pose, the crop or anything else you can think of. When you’re done, you can go through and see which ones you like best for posting. Once you’ve done your selfie shoots a few times you’ll be able to get your good photos a little quicker.
Quick Tips for Jewelry Selfies
Don’t overthink a selfie. You want it to look nice and professional, but these are not photos going in for judging. Be natural and your photos will turn out beautiful.
Don’t over-edit a selfie. A nice filter will go a long way. Instagram has quite a few built in or if you’re using Snapchat they have even more. You can also try a basic photo editing app. Adobe Photoshop Express is free (but if you already have an Adobe account, login to get the Premium subscription) and has a wide assortment of pre-made filters as well as some of the basic editing tools of Photoshop, all on your phone.
Keep your branding in mind! If you have a filter you use for all your photos, you might want to use that. If your branding is bright and colorful, keep your selfies bright and colorful.
Make sure your clothing and hair style allow your photo to show off your jewelry the best. You may have pieces that just won't work with a patterned shirt for example.
If you're not a spur-of-the-moment selfie type of person, here's a few tips to do a selfie photoshoot:
- Dress in what makes you feel most comfortable, whether that's your studio gear or getting a little dressed up. Even if it doesn't work with your jewelry, at least it'll help you get in the groove.
- Start with the pieces you're most excited to show off. If you're excited about the piece, you'll be more excited for the photos.
- Get everything pulled in advance so you can easily switch between pieces and/or outfits
- If you have a photo studio setup, you may be able to use some of your lights and tools for your selfies
There are some tools on the market to help you achieve the perfect selfie. We weren't able to test these items, but they're all highly rated and recommended. A selfie stick is popular so you can get the phone far enough away for a wider shot. These are available in a wide range of options from basic to ones that also double as tripods. Clicking the button to take a photo is often the hardest part. You’ll get the perfect angle then mess it up as you have to move your phone. Try a shutter remote control! This will let you get your phone setup then click a remote button to take the picture. For the full assortment of accessories, this set on Amazon will give you a circle light, phone tripod and shutter remote control. And of course if you want your studio dog in on the selfie action, they make an accessory for that!
Tips & Ideas for Poses
In addition to some of the images above, here's a few ideas and tips to show off your jewelry in a selfie.
Check out these other articles for jewelry photography tips: