Any jewelry photo you see either on the web or print is retouched; full stop. It is simply not possible to have a straight out of the camera photo and use it as is. Therefore, all of the photos are sent to post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
One crucial point in post processing is how much should one retouch the photo. Too little will render the images dull or maybe no tin the right colors, too much and the item might look artificial or plastic look alike. There are graphics designs are are specialized in retouching jewelry, and they understand all aspects involved in regards to metal, diamonds, and gemstones colors.
To have the best results when retouching a photo, its original format should be raw. I will not discuss raw files here and will just pinpoint that we shoot in raw, and we never use jpeg to retouch our photos. Simply put, raw photos allows us better manipulation of various channels for a fine retouch and effects.
The image to the left is a raw image SOOC (straight out of the camera). For the purpose of this presentation, it is not in its 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. It was retouched according to our client’s specifications and it can be done in various other ways (more black reflections, more metal shine etc).
It is important to note that a bad photo cannot be retouched to become beautiful. 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. What the designer will try to do is 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, a not so bad photo can be improved to look ok by an experienced designer.
What could have been wrong in this photoshoot? I cannot know what exactly went wrong here but could be either the photo or the retouch or both that went terribly wrong. Remember that a good picture is the combination of good photography and retouch.
- The image is not all in focus: Designer will try to apply focus filters to enhance the look.
- Probably underexposed image: Designer will increase the exposure and here it looks too over exposed.
- Bad lighting: Designer will try to add some reflections to make the metal look more natural.
- Diamonds look bad: Designer added tint of blue to the diamonds. The photo did not capture the sharpness of the reflections. There is dirt on the diamonds.
The photo on the left is a good example of a photo gone bad and an experienced designer doing his best to enhance it. The final picture is not up to our standards but could be acceptable by some for web usage only.
- Exposure compensation
- Color enhancement
- Sharpness applied
- Fine retouch on the stones and metal to remove any imperfections
Photo and retouch turned bad
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.