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Photoshopping jewelry images


i got some image program called photoshop elements.’ now i heard
that its a real deal i even got myself to remember how to do some
cool effects and all, now i want to edit my pics with this program
and im really excited because its of jewelry for my actual online
webbystore. now let me tell you this, orchidness, i have had a heck
of a time deciding to take pics or actually scan th jewelry i have
created with ice resin and the other easy cast resin.]

im really happy to announce that i need your help with the actual
pictures of the jewelry, if any of u know anything that will make my
pieces of jewelry pop. ive got a bunch of knickels and dimes to take
the pics to show size and im just about the had it with the
photoshop. i really cant get it to do much to the jewelry to make it
stand out, see i need your help orchid, if u know things i can do
with photoshop elements i really need to make the jewelry work.
please help anything really.


Can you put some of your pictures up, on line, so we can see what
they look like now? I’ve had alot of success photographing on white
and then lightening the exposure so the background is super white and
then on the web it looks like they’re floating. I do that on iphoto
which probably doesn’t have as many options as the program you have
but it’s okay.

Margery Hirschey


Hi…I do jewelry photography and use photoshop to edit the shots and
make them ready for use. You should be fine with photoshop
elements…you don’t need all the fancy tools in photoshop proper to
do your editing. What I do is pretty complex because I actually
remove the background and replace it with a gradient and add a
shadow (you can see examples of my work by going here:

and click on the pictures to the right)

But here’s a few tips…use a light tent…you can get an
inexpensive one on ebay for about $15-20. This helps diffuse the
light so you don’t get as many hot spots. Great for metals, not so
great for gems where you want sparkle.

if you’re using a digital camera, which I assume you are:

  1. use your macro or supermacro settings (if you have them) to take
    close up shots. This lets you get very close to the piece and get a
    detailed shot.

  2. use a tripod for stability

  3. if your camera has a remote, then use that, otherwise, use the
    timer setting so that the camera stops shaking before it shots the
    jewelry. Close up shots are hard to keep in focus otherwise.

  4. Play with the White Balance settings and presets to get the best

  5. it’s often good to raise the brightness/exposure if you can to
    between +0.7-1.3 depending on your lighting.


If you cannot afford professional photo lights, take a trip to either
the nearest walmart, lowes or home depot. Buy 3 of the of the highest
wattage energy saving DAYLIGHT bulbs…I think they come in 23-26
watt max. Get three metallic reflector domes to hold them. Use these
to light your jewelry. The Daylight bulbs have a bluer color to them
more like outdoor light, so that it reduces the yellow tinge with is
a big problem when shooting silver.

GO to and read up on product
photography, incl. how to set up your lighting.


Often, even if you’ve set your white balance, you may find you still
have a yellow tinge on silver. You can go in under hue/saturation
(probably under adjust), and play with those settings. In photoshop
proper, you can select individual colors to increase or reduce
saturation or lighten and darken them. I usually reduce my yellows
and lighten them.

note: if you are photographing something with yellow in it, like
citrine, you have to select what is colored and then choose it’s
inverse, then reduce the yellow, otherwise, you will loose all your
color. This also goes for greens as they will go toward blue if you
reduce the yellows.

In Photoshop, under adjust, there is a menu item called Variations.
If you have it or something similar in Elements, you can get a visual
chart of how the image will look if you increase or reduce the colors
in dif. ways.

Otherwise, you will want to get familiar with brightness and

A useful filter, assuming it is in Elements is Unsharp Mask. This
will be under Sharpen, and will help you sharpen up blurry
areas…but don’t overuse it or your images will get grainy.

Speaking of sharpness, when you reduce an image in size, choose
bicubic sharpen in the menu as reducing the image usually blurs it
slightly. You may also need to do an unsharp mask or a sharpen of
some kind.

As to Scanning, there are advantages and disadvantages…advantages
incl. more accurate coloring and less color adjustment. There are
some stones, like the intense cirrilian blue chrysocolla I have from
Arizona, that freak my camera out and it just won’t catch the color
on it…the shade just won’t come out right, but scanning it, it
comes out correctly. Also, you can control size. If you want to show
it 2x actual size, then set your scanner to 200% and 72 dpi

You can use the same photoshop techniques on scanned images as well.

A disadvantage with scanning is that on bright silver, you get
flares where the light flashes off the metal…these show up often as
bright yellow spikes or spots flashing out from the silver.

NEVER EVER PHOTOGRAPH OR SCAN silver jewelry or light colored
jewelry on a black background! it screws up the auto-contrast
settings and washes out your details!!!

Hope this helps…like I said, it’s kind of complicated, and I’m not
even going to try to explain how I remove the backgrounds and such
because you need to learn the basics first. My techniques are more
geared toward silver, so I’m not surer how much of the color
correcting you will have to do with resins, but it all uses the same
basic tools.



Go online to There is a lot of info there
which should help you understand photoshop elements. They even show
how to “spruce” up a sterling bracelet


I use PS Elements 5.0 a lot for many purposes. Here are a couple of
tips that may help:

  1. The Magic Eraser is a great tool. Use it to deleteexisting
    background, create a layer for the jewelry piece, then insert it onto
    a background that compliments your product. Personally, I like items
    on black since it seems to make most things pop.

  2. The Healing Brush tool (bandaid icon) is great for an area where
    you have a speck of dust or a slight blemish. It averages the
    surrounding pixels to help the spot blend.

  3. if you want to make your item look like it is sitting on a
    surface use the burn tool to darken the area under the piece and
    create a shadow. You can also use the brush in a darker shade of the
    backgrouond color to do this too.I also like to photograph my
    jewelry outside in my = garden. You’ll get a better depth of field
    using a tripod (or set the camera on a fixed surface) and a slower
    aperture. I like the lighting best at early am or late day. I then
    bring the photos into Photoshop and crop and adjust the images.

Hope this helps.


Photoshop is a whole different skillset- as is making jewelry, and
photographing it.

I’d recommend getting a good basic book on how to manipulate photos
in Photoshop; I’ve learned a lot of tricks from such. Still, the best
method is to have a great/good photo to start with- and that’s yet
another skillset.

My husband takes most of my photos, and does a great job. Therefore,
what I mostly use is color balancing if that’s ended up funky, or
levels, which is mostly useful when I’m taking a pic of a
mirror-polished ring in a black velvet box, and so everything ends
up black; I can usually tweak the levels to separate the ring from
the background there.

There’s a ton more stuff one can do with Photoshop. of course, but I
do try to have my pics be an honest rendition of how the things
actually look. Therefore, if the color balance or contrast is funky,
that’s one thing; digitally removing flaws seems to me like cheating
(so what i do is re-finish the piece, and get another picture).

So: with Photoshop: I mostly use color balance, and/or levels.
Sometimes contrast/brightness is a quick way to get the levels stuff
more functional.

Amanda Fisher


If you have a camera that allows manual settings, make sure that you
set the lens to it’s smallest apperture, ( that is it’s highest
apperture number ), also use a tripod. I use a Nikon these days,
with it’s Micro lens set at apperture 32. I have photographed most
of my work over the years, which you can see on my Orchid Album,
although I must admit that most of these photos were taken with my
trusty medium format Mamiya RB67 standard film camera.

You cannot make a bad photo good by using photoshop, but you can
change or perhaps improve a good photo with this program. I use
photoshop for cropping and colour changing. It is also marvelous for
improvoving old damaged photos.

James Miller FIPG


I am glad to tell you that yes Photoshop Elements is basicly just a
watered down version of Photoshop. Yes it does take a bit to get
used to but once you do… The possibilities are endless. The
biggest tip I can give you with out getting to technical is to work
in layers in photoshop. The biggest key in photoshop is to layer
always make a copy of your background layer first. then work from
there. Cut the item out then add a blur behind it, personally I love
the radial blurs and such, make the photo black and white and your
item in color. I hope that I’ve helped to give you some idea’s to

Janette Hicks


Let me just say this: There is no substitute for good photography.
Photoshop cannot save a bad image. You can take an okay photo and
make it a little better, you can take a great photo and make it
awesome, but you cannot take a bad photo and make it great…

Jewelry photography is challenging, with or without Photoshop. Email
meoffline and I can give you my suggestions. Meanwhile, check out, or for examples of my work
(the great shots are mine, the not so great are taken from vendors

BK in AK


When photoshopping a jewelry pic, the very first step, above all
else, is adjust the levels. This defines how black is black, and how
white is white. Only use brightness/contrast adjustment if levels
adjust isnt adequate. After this select the item( or the
background-whichever is easiest, then invert selection to the main
subjuct) then press Control-J(PC). This will put the selected
portion on a separate layer. Now you can adjust colors of the item or
the background separately. If you wish to add a new background,
select the background layer, add a new blank layer on top of the
original bkgrd, then choose whatever background color, pattern,
etc… that you like and insert it on the blank layer, adjust to
preference, save as a jpeg, and done.



Jeanne, Thank you for the detailed explanation about photographing

You have solved (or at least partially solved) one of my problems. I
am using daylight fluorescent bulbs as recommended. I have the cloud
dome set-up with the tripod on top. I use a neutral gray background,
set the white balance correctly for the fluorescent bulbs. The silver
photographs beautifully. No problems there. However, the color of my
enamels is way off. The turquoise colors of the enamels photograph as
blue. I now understand from your post that the fluorescent bulbs tend
to eliminate the green, which probably accounts for the fact that the
turquoise color in my enamels photographs as blue.

Another problem is that the cloud dome filters out too much light,
and I lose all the brilliance and depth of the enamels. I will get
one of those tents which I understand is used for photographing glass
and sparkling stones in the hopes that my pictures will be better.

I still have the problem of finding lights that will not eliminate
the yellows to the extent that my turquoise is changed to a blue.

I will appreciate any suggestions.


Photoshop LE is fine, but you need a good image to start with. No
amount of digital post-production can make up for a poor shot. Use
your photoshop for removing dust specs, making minor contrast
adjustments and color correction. But first you need a nice,
tack-sharp, well-lit photograph to start with. I’ve recently made
some big advances in my own jewelry photography. Took this pic just
a few days ago:

The greatest improvement I have made is in the lighting. You want
"daylight" - that’s 5500k on the color temperature scale. Go down to
the grocery store and get 2 or 3 of the swirly CFL bulbs, rated at
or very near that color temp, 20W or bigger, each. Stay away from
anything that says “warm white” or "soft white. " Soft white light
is yellow, it will make your home nice and cozy, but it’s terrible
for photography of your work. Hang those lights behind something
thin, white, translucent: a diffuser. A piece of white acrylic (like
plexiglass) from the hardware store is best, but thin (very white)
paper or cotton will do, as long as it transmits a lot of light. I
use the acrylic. Paper and cloth can block too much light. All this
is to make yourself a cheap, homemade version of the Lowel Ego:

http://www. lowel. com/ego/

(I suppose you could just buy one, but I like it cheap!) Use a
tripod. Advanced options: Shoot in RAW if you are able and learn how
to make exposure adjustments in Adobe Lightroom or Bridge. c Put
your new light source to the right of your work, and put a reflector
on the left - right up close, only inches away, just out of f= rame.
This can be a white paper, aluminum foil. whatever. Watch what
happens as you move your reflector around. You want a secondary glow
on the left, primary light on the right, a little stronger (or the
other way around, upto you). Naturally, use a macro lens for nice
sharp detail on that small stuff.

Good luck.


Speaking of photo shopping images…

I’ve noticed lately, that in JCK the photos of the colored diamonds
and fancy colored gold specially seem to be too good to be true. When
does altering an image go from fixing up an image to out right

Kinda like the Playboy centerfolds.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

I still have the problem of finding lights that will not eliminate
the yellows to the extent that my turquoise is changed to a blue. 

I have purchased Ott Light bulbs for my reflectors that have a
screw-in base like a normal bulb. They only cost about five bucks
each and have a suitable light spectrum (simulating natural light). I
bought mine at Lowes Hardware.



Here’s a link to a photo I shot for an appraisal the other night.

Shot this in a Gembox digital lighting system. Adjusted the levels.
Adjusted the colors a bit with a little red to the gold, and
subtracted a little yellow, and added a gradient background. Took
about 10-15 minutes from start to finish. Hope you like it.


When does altering an image go from fixing up an image to out right

This is an interesting question and I am not certain there is a
clear cut answer. I have talked with photographers in the jewelry
image business who say none of the images you see in any publication
are free from photoshop manipulation. If you have taken any
photographs of your work you will be aware it is almost impossible to
get a good clean image of the metal, background and stone(s) in one
photo. And more often than not all three need a little help. So
adjusting the image to show the work as it is usually takes some
photoshop manipulation. How often is there dust, hair, buff fiber etc
that you don’t see till the image is on the computer display? That
gorgeous sapphire looks like a black hole. The pearl the client
provided has several scratches but the piece came out fabulous and
you want to show it off. The magazine wants it on white and you shot
your only images on black and the item is long gone. There is that
pesky bit of solder that shows in the photo but needs a loupe to see
in real life. The list is endless. At some point it ceases to be a
photograph and becomes a rendering. Any photograph is a manipulation
of some kind as your clients, peers etc will likely never see your
work lighted and displayed in the way you will set it up for a
quality photo. I think the question becomes one of intent, if you are
attempting to deceive then it is too much.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


If you have photoshop or the equivalent, you can go into
hue/saturation, choose the yellow channel and reduce the yellow
saturation and lighten it a bit…HOWEVER, I’ve had trouble with my
camera when it comes to really cyan colored chrysocolla. It just
will not photograph it right and even with adjustments, I cannot get
the right color…it comes out too cyan, and lacks the exact
tones…greens etc. don’t know if the same issue could occur with
turquoise or not.


I've had trouble with my camera when it comes to really cyan
colored chrysocolla. It just will not photograph it right and even
with adjustments, I cannot get the right color. 

There are many cases in which you must select an area to work on so
you can adjust the color, brightness, etc of one part without
changing everything. This is especially true with stones, I would
say. There are several tools for this purpose-- the magic wand, the
selection tool (magnetic, geometric, etc), "select a color range"
etc. It can be painstaking work to get it exactly right, but no one
will take the care with your images that you will yourself,

You don’t need to know how to use all the tools. I am comfortable
with a few, and it may not be efficient, but I get the job done. I
watch closely when my photog does anything while I’m there, and I
bought Photoshop for Dummies.



This may help some of you and may not help. For those of you that
change the background in photoshop or just can’t seem to get the
right color one option may be to photograph your Item against a
neutral density grey background. one of the advantages of this is
that in levels you can click on the middle dropper and click on the
background and it will automaticly correct the color. Plus when you
cut the item out of the picture to change backgrounds then you will
have an easier time. If your having trouble getting the correct
color from a certain Item It may be your lights instead of the
camera. You might try photographing the item out side and use a
polarizing filter. It normally will help counter act some of the
worst color problems. I hope this helps.


yes, this is true, as I said in my first post, sometimes you have to
select the color areas and then select the inverse in order to tune
down the yellows etc. I just found that specifically very bright
chrysocolla screws up my cameras sensors, but if I scan it, I get a
more accurate result…this is just with some of my high grade, cyan
chrysocolla in quartz…

and yes, you can get away with using just a few tools…I mostly use
select, select inverse…some of the modify tools (expand, contract),
feather, delete, layers, hue/saturation, brightness contrast…not
much else.