Understanding Jewelry Photography: Focus & Depth of Field
Macro photography, and more specifically small jewelry photography can be challenging! Often photographers have a difficult time achieve good quality jewelry photography while maintaining focus from front to back of the product. This article will discuss macro jewelry photography and more specifically achieving a greater depth of field while not hindering image quality.
Michael Atman from Iconasys sits down to discuss Macro Jewelry Photography and tips to achieve a greater depth of field in this video:
How to Maximize Depth of Field in Jewelry Photography
Typically, when shooting with a Macro lens, there will be a shallow depth of field. That is the less amount of the product that will be in focus from front to back – the less focal range equals a shallower depth of field. Now there is a couple ways to get around this when shooting jewelry photography – to ensure entire object is in focus from front to back:
- Focus Stacking – This technique simply means capturing multiple images of the same subject, each with a different focused location. For example of a ring, I would take the first photo of the front of the ring (typically the stone), then adjust my focal point to say the crown of the ring, snap a 2nd picture, focus to the middle of the band, snap a 3rd picture then focus to the back of the band and take a 4th photo. Then, in post production software, we will overlay all 4 of these photos and use only the in focus part of each of the images to make 1 final image, that is entirely in focus.
- Adjusting Aperture – This is a much easier technique however sometimes still doesn’t suffice at getting the entire product in focus. The higher the aperture value (ex. 20 vs 2.8) the longer the focal range, that is the more of the product that will be in focus from front to back.
Lets briefly dive into aperture as its not as simple as crank up the aperture and shoot away. A higher aperture value will typically degrade image quality. So we would never suggest to max out aperture value. Try shooting at around 14 aperture value. Based on our tests, this had a good focal depth while not hindering image quality too much.
The other two variables to consider are:
- Focal Length – The longer your focal length (ex. 60mm vs. 100mm) the shallower your depth of field. So we prefer a macro lens with a 35, 50 or 60mm focal length should we not go the route of focus stacking.
- Distance to Subject – With cameras nowadays being overloaded with megapixels, you’ll likely have plenty of resolution to get that web-quality image you require even if significantly cropping the final result. So try moving your camera further back from your subject – say 8-12 inches.
So to summarize, achieving a good quality jewelry photo that is pretty well in focus from front to back can be done without focus stacking. For best results, use a 60mm or less macro lens, use aperture value at about 14 and shoot from about 8-12 inches away from your subject.
Iconasys offers a wide variety of jewelry photography solutions for users of any skill level to easily and efficiently create high quality still and 360 jewelry photography.