8 Simple ways to edit jewelry product photos using Photoshop


Product photography usually requires retouching. Why? Because when you zoom into product images, you see dust, spots, and other minor blemishes that are visible in the photo but not visible when looking at the product. And with jewelry and other metallic products, you have to deal with reflections as well.

Here are some Photoshop tools that I frequently use when retouching product images. This post isn’t intended to be a tutorial but if the below sounds like something you need, google the tools I mention below and watch a few youtube videos to learn how to use it.

Note that some of the below edits are based on your preferences – you may like or not like some of the edits I’ve made below. That’s why hiring product photographers is difficult. Everyone has their own editing style and preferences.

Most of the tools mentioned below are also available in Photoshop Elements.

Types of editing tools used in product photography

Broadly, I think of Photoshop retouching tools as one of two types.

  1. Standard tools: These are tools that impact the entire image e.g: brightness, contrast etc.
  2. Brush based tools: Brush based tools let you make edits to specific areas of the image while leaving the rest of the image intact. Think of brush based tools like a paintbrush tool. In a basic paintbrush tool, you select a color and then when you paint on the image, the color appears as you paint. Similarly, brush based editing tools only edit the image where you paint. Very simple to use and very powerful in terms of how much control they give you. I personally use brush based tools more than standard tools.

How to use brush based retouching tools: For brush based tools, after selecting the specific tool, you select a brush size and hardness level from the top menu as shown below.

Size is the size of the brush and hardness is the edges – 0% hardness (blue arrow below) means the edges of your painting will fade out – this is good because your changes will look natural. But in some tools you may want the edges to be not-blurry so you’ll want 100% hardness (green arrow). I usually work with 40-50% hardness.

You’ll figure it out as you start using these tools.

1. Spot healing brush to remove dust and scratches

Spot healing brush for product photography dust and scratches

Click and hold on the menu icon for the sub-icons to show. Then select the one you need.

This is one of the most common brush based retouching tools using in product photography. In the below photo, notice the green arrow pointing at two small indents in the pearl. Since pearls are natural, these aren’t going to be in each piece of the same style. So my client asked that I take them out. The spot healing brush lets you fix these types of issues.

How to use: Select the tool, select the brush size (from top left of top menu) and click and drag on the areas you want fixed. Photoshop analyzes the pixels around that area and replaces the clicked area with those pixels around it.

editing jewelry photos in photoshop

2. Duplicate earrings for consistency

jewelry photography retouching

When earrings don’t have natural materials like pearls or gemstones, there is rarely any benefit in photographing both earrings. And even when you do, one earring usually photographs better than the other. So I start by photographing both earrings but in the final image, I end up erasing one and duplicating the other to make the pair.

Note that to do edits like this, it’s good to have the image on a white background or have the background removed. There are several freelancers that you can hire to remove backgrounds.

How to use: There are many ways to duplicate in Photoshop but one way is to use the rectangular marquee selector tool to select the earring and edit>copy, then edit>paste. This pastes the earring into a different layer. Then move it to the placement you want.

Duplicate earrings in photoshop

3. Smudge for a gradient shine

Photoshop for jewelry photography

The smudge tool (brush based) is used to smudge colors around a specific part of the image. For example, in the left pair of earrings shown below, the arrows show the white light reflecting on the pearls. Notice how I was able to change them on the right version. The smudge tool literally ‘smudges’ colors and give the pearls a nice gradient shine.

The original image looks fine too but some clients need extra editing for an image they want to use in a print ad or on their homepage or somewhere prominent. In those cases, edits like this are useful.

How to use: Select the smudge tool, select a brush size and click and drag on the area you want to smudge.

Gradient shine in pearls with Photoshop

4. Clone stamp to fix specific parts of the photo

Replacing diamonds with clone stamp tool

This is a tool that lets you copy one part of the image and place it in a different part of the image.

Here’s how I use it – say a piece of jewelry has multiple identical stones on it. One stone doesn’t get enough light so it doesn’t shine as much. I use the clone stamp tool to copy one of the stones that have some sparkle and place it over the stone that doesn’t sparkle. See sample below.

How to use it: Select the clone stamp tool, choose your brush size, click Alt and click on the are you want to copy. Release Alt and click on the area you want to fix.

5. Brightness / Contrast to make colors pop

Product photography post processing using Photoshop

Most of us have used brightness and contrast adjustments because most free photo editing tools allow you to do this. Brightness, as the name indicates, brightens the entire image. Contrast makes colors deeper/richer and makes the lighter areas of the image contrast more with the darker areas. This makes colors pop more.

In my experience, adding contrast makes product images look better. Brightness typically tends to blow out the image too much and you lose details. But, of course, it depends on your image, the colors in it, and your lighting so play with the sliders and see what looks best to you.

In the samples below, notice that the greens in the third image (with contrast only) are a lot deeper and richer looking than the original, the blacks too are darker and deeper but the gold is only slightly brighter compared to the original. It’s a more balanced change.

How to use it: In the top menu, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Move sliders around to see how it impacts your image.

Photoshop for Product Photography

6. Dodge to lighten specific parts of the image

Bright or darken specific parts of product image

Dodge is a brush based tool. It is similar to the Brightness adjustment but it lets you control which areas of the image get brighter. I’ll explain this more in the next tool.

7. Burn to darken specific parts of the image

This is the opposite of Dodge. It lets you make specific areas of the image darker. An easy way to remember which one is lighter and which darker is with an analogy – when you burn something, it turns black i.e. burn is used to make things darker.

In the below image, I started by duplicating the earrings so they are the same earring. I made the below edit only on the right earring so you can see the difference.

In the right earring below, notice that I burned the edge of the circular disc on the earring and the area around the 3 small circles in the middle. I wanted to show more definition of the twisted edge design and those little circles in the middle. The rest of the image is the same brightness – the only change is that the twisted edge and the edges of the 3 circles is darker to give it more depth and definition.

These types of brush based editing tools are very useful in product photography because they helps edit specific areas of a photo while keeping rest of the image the same.

How to use it: Select the Burn tool, a brush size and start painting on the area you want to darken (or lighten if using the Dodge tool)

How to edit jewelry product photos

8. Hue/Saturation to change colors of an image (or parts of it)

I use the Hue/Saturation tool to change metal colors, or to change colors of the product itself. For example, if you have the same style of jewelry with 10 different stones. Some stones can be edited for color in Photoshop. e.g. you can change blue to green or change orange to yellow.

In the below pendants, the blue is the original color. I used the hue/saturation tool to change the blue to green and pink.

How to use it: On the top menu, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Select blues (because I only want to change the color of the blue stone) from the drop down and play with moving the different sliders. The hue slider changes colors, the saturation slider makes the colors richer and the lightness slider makes it lighter or darker.

Change product colors in Photoshop

Conclusion

There is a lot you can do in Photoshop but the above are the tools I use the most. Many of these are simple to use so look them up on YouTube and learn to use them.

If some of the tools shown above in the sub-menu’s sound intriguing, try them about. Any brush based tool works the same way – select the tool, a brush size and start painting where you want to edit. For each tool, there are some settings on the top menu – the default settings usually work fine so start with that. Once you get comfortable with the tools, then you can start playing with the settings.

Thanks for reading. Hope this post helped you understand some of the possibilities with Photoshop and gave you some insight into which tools to start playing around with.

Comment and tell me which tool you want to learn more about and I’ll create a video and go more in depth in a future post. To learn more about jewelry photography, view this page.





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