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Macro Jewelry Photography & Focus Stacking

Macro Jewelry Photography

Macro photography isn’t just about buying a macro lens. There is a lot more to it. When photographing small jewelry products like rings, tiny studs, etc, you need to shoot from up close i.e. your camera needs to be around 8-12 inches away from the product (to get a big image).

When photographing jewelry from so close, your camera lens will not focus on the entire product. If you’ve ever tried to photograph a ring and the back of the ring appears blurry…this is why.

To solve for this, we use a technique called focus stacking. It’s the process of taking multiple images of the product with different areas in focus and blending them together in Photoshop.

Focus Stacking Example

Here is an example of photographing a ring in 3 different ways and then blending them together to create a final image.

Image 1: Back of ring in focus.

How to photography macro jewelry

Image 2: Front of ring in focus.

Macro Jewelry Photography - How to Focus Stack

Image 3: Sides of ring in focus.

How to Blend Images - Macro Jewelry Photography Example

The final image below is the blended image from Photoshop that takes the three images above and puts them together.

Macro Jewelry Photography - Ring

Next, we do some minor editing such as sharpening and making the image a brighter.

Macro Product Photography Jewelry - Final Image

Then remove the gray background to make it white.

Macro Jewelry Photography

Macro Lenses for Jewelry Photography

I use the Nikon 105mm macro lens – I recommend it. If you use Canon, then the equivalent lens is the 100mm macro. Both these lenses give you enough zoom to get large images of tiny items. I’ve photographed tiny nose rings that are less than half an inch long using the 105mm lens.

Macro lens for jewelry photography
Image credit: Nikon

Summary

The above ring only uses 3 stack images. For bigger prints such as a full page magazine ad or a cover image, we would need to stack 15-20 images to get the clarity needed for printing. But for web use or printing in catalogs, then stacking a few images like the above works well.

There are several tutorials on YouTube that show you show how to do focus stacking. Here is a good tutorial to start with. For more DIY how to’s, view our jewelry photography page.

Questions? Have you tried macro photography? How did it turn out? Comment and let me know!

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