Any jewelry photo you see either on the web or print entered a retouch phase; full stop. It is simply impossible to have a straight out of the camera photo and use it as is. Therefore, all of the photos are subject to post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
One crucial point in post-processing is how much one should retouch the photo. Too little will render the images dull, or maybe no in the right colors, too much, and the item might look artificial or plastic look alike. There are graphic designers specialized in retouching jewelry, and they understand all aspects involved in metal, diamonds, and gemstones colors.
For the best results, when retouching a photo, use the original in raw format. I will not discuss raw files in detail, but we shoot in raw, and we never use jpeg to retouch our photos. That is to say, raw images allow us better manipulation of various channels for fine retouch and effects.
The image to the left is a raw image SOOC (straight out of the camera). It is not in raw format but in JPG (the raw file is around 150Mb). It has no retouch whatsoever. For some people, it might look nice, and they even might use it on their website.
The image to the right is the retouched image. As you can see, there is a big difference, and it looks nicer and cleaner. We retouched it according to our client’s specifications, and we could do it in various other ways (more black reflections, more metal shine, etc.).
Retouched Images Should Look Natural
It is important to note that nobody can retouch a lousy photo to make it beautiful and natural. We are not in the plastic surgery business here, and especially when it comes to jewelry, the look should feel as natural as possible. The imperfections of a poorly shot image can only become more apparent in the retouch phase. The designer will try to retouch as much as possible to hide the defects of the photo. Therefore, a combination of a good shot and retouch can yield significant results. However, an experienced designer can make a not-so-lousy image look acceptable.
What could have been wrong with this photoshoot? I cannot know what went wrong here, but it could be either the photo or the retouch, or both. Remember that a good picture is a combination of good photography and retouch.
- The image is not all in focus: The designer will try to apply focus filters to enhance the look.
- Probably underexposed image: The designer will increase the exposure, and here it looks too overexposed.
- Lousy lighting: The designer will try to add some reflections to make the metal look more natural.
- Diamonds look bad: The designer added a tint of blue to the diamonds. The photo did not capture the sharpness of the reflections. There is dirt on the diamonds.
The left photo is an excellent example of an image gone wrong and an experienced designer doing his best to enhance it. The final picture is not up to our standards but could only be acceptable for web usage.
- Exposure compensation
- Color enhancement
- Sharpness applied
- Fine retouch on the stones and metal to remove any imperfections
The photo and retouch turned terrible.
It is hard to believe that the picture on the right displays on a website of a very well known jeweler. The photo is terrible, and the retouch is even worse. It looks like a post-apocalyptic ring unearthed from a dumpster. You will never see anything like this in our gallery of retouched items.
We hope you enjoyed this reading, and stay tuned for more to come. Feel free to comment on this post, and we will reply to any questions asked.