Photographing Diamonds

Hi all, Anyone know how to take digital photos of diamonds - as in
diamond rings etc.

My 2.1 mega pixel Nikon with macro seem to find it difficult to take
a clear shot, the diamonds always seem a little hazy and I can never
get any sparkle showing. Other close-up jewellery shots are fine and
clear. Maybe I need a tripod and better lighting? I’d love to know
the secret. Regards Alan Lewis UK

Alan, A few tricks for photographing diamonds/jewelry:

  1. Pull back. Find out what your maximum focusing distance is. This
    will give you the sharpest image. People generally push their macros
    far to close to the subject.

  2. Use a tripod.

  3. Use a shutter release cable (if you can), in our case we set the
    shutter delay at 5 seconds or so, and this gives the camera a chance
    to settle down after pressing the shutter release.

  4. If you have a white hold balance on your camera you can light
    with even a halogen lamp and get an excellent result.

  5. Use a TIFF format.

  6. Adjusting color in printing your images is also possible in the
    computer, ie color balance, contrast, etc.

  7. We’ve made a small quansit hut as a platform – a sheet of white
    velum arched over the top to diffuse the light and a sheet of white
    paper as a sweep. We don’t have any ‘hot spots’.

  8. We use small blocks covered in aluminum foil or white tape to
    accentuate the reflections.

Hope this is of some help. Cathy and Tom

The camera I have has a 14x OPTICAL zoom. I have found that the less
you zoom in, the better the quality of the photo. I’ve seen this in
more than one camera. Digital zoom has always given me disappointing
results…like those you speak of.

I get better pictures when I don’t zoom in and just get closer to
the object iself. With a macro lense, you can really get close
without zooming. Most of the cameras do an excellent job with auto
focus, so I always use that.

Lighting is going to be the other biggie. I like to take diamonds in
daylight…outdoors. The very best would be midday with cloud cover
so there is diffused, indirect, natural light. You can set up a photo
shoot with reflectors (foamcore) to reduce shadows and concentrate
the light for the best color. Move your shooting platform around to
get the sparkle you want. Platinum or white gold is going to come out
best because digital cams seem to be most happy when they shoot grey
tones. Gold will tend to want to shift the color balance to more red
or green. If you are shooting gold, try putting a small card of photo
grey paper off to the side so the camera can balance itself on that.
You can crop it out later. When I process the photo, I can highlight
just the stone and reduce the saturation to almost nill to remove the
unwanted colors in the stone and make it look more like it does in

The other trick I do is to always reduce the shot at least 20%. That
makes the pictures look much crisper in every case (for me).

I could give you some tips on indoor shots if you tell me what your
use for lighting and set up.