How to Improve Pearl Photography

How to Improve Pearl Photography

Pearl photography is a challenging art and capturing beauty of pearls is one of its most difficult aspects. Product photography is important. In fact, it’s so important that it can be the difference between making a sale and losing a potential customer. Your visitors will always be drawn to an image before they read the text on the page, so you need to make sure that your images look compelling.

Pearls are unique amongst  gemstones because they do not arise from the depths of the Earth, but from the oceans and seas. They are neither cut nor polished to maximize their lustrous beauty like other gemstones. Pearls have been treasured since ancient times and pearl jewellery is always in style.

The pearl is the oldest known gem, and for many centuries it was considered to be the most valuable.  Over time, the pearl has become the symbol of purity and innocence and it is often sewn into bridal gowns, or worn as jewellery by the bride.

At Jewellery Imaging we specialize in capturing the unique lustre and iridescence in each and every pearl and create images that help you sell your pearl products.

Photographing Pearls is a Challenge

  • The round surfaces of a pearl can throw off a reflection from any angle. Too much light and a pearl’s natural lustre will fade, diffusing its overtones of colour.
  • Too much contrast can reduce a pearl’s natural beauty and will turn a wonderful organic gem into a harsh, metallic object.
  • Too little contrast can make pearls look like a plastic and loose detail of the natural nacre.

Tips for Better Pearl Photography

  • The easiest way to photography pearls is by using one studio strobe with a reflector and grid.
  • The light needs to be positioned about 1.5-2 meters  above the pearls, slightly at an angle.
  • White cards and foam boards are used around the pearls to bounce more light in to pearls and to soften the shadows under the pearls.
  • Be sure to use a grey card and set a custom white balance. If your camera supports a raw format use that because the colour correction in post-processing will be better.
  • Don’t forget to include in that test whatever you place the pearls on. Light bounces around and that is even more so in a studio still-life situation. Both can introduce their own ‘colouration’ to the subject. Then you will be able to eliminate that colouration by careful use of the White Balance in camera. You need to shoot either 1. in a still-life studio with black walls, ceiling & floor with no ambient light.


  • Finally, I recommend that you get your pearls photographed by a professional photographer to save yourself time and frustration in not being able to achieve a satisfactory results showing your products at their best and giving you an edge to compete with other pearl traders and jewellers. What your eye sees and what the camera sees can be very different.


The power of an image is difficult to dismiss, and if you’re not including great images of your products then you could be losing out on some valuable sales.

The reality isthe better your product looks, the more you will sell. Have you tried to photograph your pearls? How did you get on?

At Jewellery Imaging  we are more than happy to help. Get in touch on  and visit us at