Building Your Creative Shoot
Is there a story that you want to tell with this set of images? It may relate to your company itself, or it may be specific to the collection that you’re launching. You can also think of the story as the “scene” of the image, or the theme. It could be a beach picnic, or a working woman’s desk, or a secret garden.
Although it can be a helpful jumping off point, your images certainly don’t need to have a complete story. Sometimes just a vibe or a particular aesthetic is enough to communicate.
What are the words that you associate with your brand, your designs, or this specific collection? You likely already have some in mind, but here are some ideas:
Do you like full, voluminous images, or do you prefer a simpler composition where the jewelry & lighting do the heavy lifting?
There’s no right or wrong answer. I tend to look at fuller compositions as more of a story-telling image, where you’re trying to express a mood more than document every detail of the jewelry. On the other hand, simpler compositions tend to have fewer props & other objects in the image, so the jewelry really is the sole focus.
Needless to say, we can do a combination of these styles that will be cohesive & suitable for different purposes.
In this case, tone is referring to whether you prefer light, medium, or dark images. This impacts things like which backdrops we choose & how we use our studio lighting.
For large sets of images, it’s good to have a plan for how color will be used. Color shows up in a few ways: the backdrop material, the props, and occasionally the light itself.
A good rule of thumb is to select 2-3 background colors (if you’re unsure, go with a neutral like white, grey, taupe, or black) & 3-5 accent colors that can be used in props and other materials that show up in the images. This is also an opportunity to mix in your brand colors, if desired.
And don’t forget, monochromatic images make a big impression too! You don’t need to use a lot of color in your images to make them impactful.
I consider the quality of light to be on a spectrum from very soft, diffused light, to very harsh, defined light (and shadows).
Soft & diffused light is a neutral, flattering lighting style for jewelry & products. The shadows are natural & subtle. The viewer’s attention is focused on the objects in the image.
Harsh & defined light is dramatic. It casts long & dark shadows, and creates hot highlights on the objects in the image. This lighting style is associated with a more modern, bold, or edgy look.
SOFT & DIFFUSED
HARSH & DEFINED
There are three main viewing angles used in editorial photography:
- Overhead (used in flat lays, also called “bird’s eye view”)
- Face On (also called “head on” or “eye level”)
- Three Quarter (in between the overhead & face on view. Camera may be looking down at the jewelry at about a 45 degree angle.)
Be sure to check out my blog post about materials that work great as props & backdrops in jewelry photo shoots.