When we launched the Ritani website, I was tasked with providing our customers with the best diamond imagery available. After plenty of calibration, experimentation, and outtakes, we arrived at our perfect formula. Today we have several trained photo technicians in different parts of the world. Diamonds don’t come from just one region, and neither should our diamond imagery experts! Plus, taking photos of diamonds at their source saves us significant amounts of time.
Between 30 and 40% of the diamonds on our website have a full set of images. With purchased diamonds going out and new diamonds coming in all the time, this number remains fairly consistent. However, we can provide imagery and HD video by request for any of our loose diamonds within 12-24 hours.
So, how do we achieve such crisp, detailed diamond imagery? In the following post I will give an overview of our setup and how we get around the common obstacles of diamond photography.
Diamond Photography Lighting and Setup
As we all know, one of the things that makes diamonds so gorgeous is that unique sparkle. However, that same sparkle causes a diamond to reflect lots of light back into the camera lens. Most diamond images that I see suffer from a serious case of red-eye, caused by flash and too many hot-spots. Using flash in diamond photography floods the stone with artificial light, resulting in an unattractive glare that hides all of the diamond’s nuances.
To capture the perfect image, you have to walk a fine line between diminishing the beauty of the diamond and over-lighting the stone so that it causes a glare. We use partially diffused light for our diamond images. This soft and even lighting style minimizes glare while promoting the diamond’s natural gleam. Here’s a photo of our setup:
All of our diamond photos are taken at 10x magnification, but our high-powered microscope equipment can actually take images at up to 200x. Pictures and video at higher zoom levels are available for any of our diamonds upon request. We use 10x magnification because most (if not all) diamond inclusions are visible at this level. A tip for amateur photographers out there – a macro lens can definitely achieve this level of magnification.
In addition to a camera and a microscope, our setup ensures the third most important element of diamond photography; keeping the stone as still as possible. At home, this can be achieved with a tripod. In our studios, we use a mold that can be operated with a joystick. This way, we can show a 360° view of the diamond without changing its position.
Angles and Details
We have two approaches to diamond imagery – a high-zoom, head-on photo of the diamond, and a short video of the diamond doing a 360° turn. The head-on view gives you an in-depth look at the stone’s color, clarity, and inclusions. The HD video of the diamond will also show you these things – but, more importantly – you get to see that sparkle. With the video clips, you can see the way the diamond gleams in motion from every angle. For example:
The most difficult diamond shape to photograph is marquise cut. Marquise diamonds have many tiny angles, and it’s tough to show them all accurately and attractively on film. The smaller a marquise diamond gets, the harder it is to get a great image of it.
On the other hand, princess cut diamonds are the easiest to photograph. Their symmetrical square shape makes it easy to capture a princess cut’s sparkle, no matter the size.
Have you been wondering about our retouching process? It’s true that many jewelry retailers have to stitch together their images in post-production due to lighting and setup difficulties. Believe it or not, at Ritani we do not retouch our diamond photos! We have our setup worked out so well that all it takes is a quick swipe with a polishing cloth to prep for our diamond photography.
Now you’ve had a behind-the-scenes look at how a luxury diamond retailer achieves the best images technology can provide. Trying any of these tips and tricks will elevate the quality of your jewelry and diamond imagery.
Do you have any jewelry photography hits or hilarious misses to show us? We don’t tend to display our photography fails and outtakes, but feel free to view our diamond and engagement ring images for fabulous photo inspiration!