Taking Photos of Used Engagement Rings and Diamonds

Are you frustrated with the picture quality of your new and used jewelry? We were!!!

Digital cameras and iPhones are meant to make life easier, but taking pictures of new and pre-owned engagement rings and loose diamonds is a bit of a blind spot for today’s cameras. Don’t feel too bad, though, as even professional photographers struggle with this.

We recently spoke with a range of photographers and their overriding opinion was taking a sharp, clear image of jewelry is one of the hardest skills for a professional photographer to learn.

We have recently experimented with taking pictures of used engagement rings and loose diamonds, and we found that it is possible to take amazing pictures with just a standard digital camera or even your phone’s camera.

The two photos below are typical examples of what you can take with either a digital camera or smart phone camera.

How to Take Photos of Used Engagement Rings
Taken With a Standard Digital Camera
How to Take Photos of Used Engagement Rings
Taken With a Smart Phone Camera

By following some simple rules (as discussed below) you can take better pictures of your used engagement rings and increase the likelihood of selling your unwanted jewelry.

On this page you will learn the following:

Why is it so important to take good quality pictures of your used engagement rings?

Over the last couple of years, the top reason for jewelry not selling on Have You Seen the Ring is poor picture quality. High quality pictures are essential to selling your item; it is that simple.

For a buyer, purchasing an item of jewelry unseen requires a leap of faith. However a buyer’s fear can be managed by providing 3 or 4 good quality pictures, i.e. clear, close up and bright.

As a seller you want to give potential buyers a reason to purchase your jewelry. Providing dark, blurry or small pictures doesn’t allow a buyer to appreciate the beauty of your item. Rather than take a risk on an item that isn’t clearly shown, buyers will spend their time making offers on items with better photographs.

What is needed to take good quality pictures?

Don’t worry, you don't need an expensive professional camera. A standard digital camera or smartphone can take great pictures too.

In our experimenting, we found that the best photos needed the following (mainly) household things:

  1. Sparkly clean jewelry – Give your diamond ring a nice clean before taking any photos
  2. Digital Camera or Smartphone – Digital camera is best, but your phone’s camera can take good pictures too
  3. Tripod Stand – Digital camera users only. We bought ours from Walmart for less than $8
  4. A room with plenty of natural light and sunshine. This is key to taking good photos
  5. White pillow case – preferably clean!
  6. Dark matte surface – For example, you could use a matte wood table, or a piece of brown construction paper
  7. Pen – We used a clear Bic pen as it doesn’t distract from the jewelry
  8. White Paper Napkin – also preferably clean!
  9. Knowledge on how to crop an image on your computer. Ask us if you don’t know how

How to take good pictures with a digital camera

Part One – Prepare the Room:

  1. Natural Light - Pick a room in your house or office that has windows and plenty of natural light. A corner room is ideal for this
  2. Sunshine - The optimum time to take pictures is on a sunny day in a room filled with natural light. If it’s a gloomy day the pictures will be dark and grey, just like it is outside. On the flipside, don’t take the pictures in direct sunlight as the pictures will turn out blurry because your camera will not be able to focus
  3. Prepare Your Surface - Lay out your white pillow case on a flat surface, close to but not in direct sunlight. Once you have taken all the photos that you need, repeat the process again but this time using the darker surface

Part Two - Prepare your jewelry:

  1. Clean your Used Diamond Ring - Buyers want to see that diamond ring sparkle!
  2. Use the accessories - The pen and the napkin can be used as an apparatus which will help you highlight the beauty of your diamond ring

Part Three - Prepare your camera:

  1. Screw Tripod into camera – Shaky hands lead to a blurry picture. The tripod keeps the camera steady and helps to create the best pictures
  2. Select the Macro function – The macro function option exists to for this purpose. It takes the best pictures of small items that are close to the camera lens. On some cameras, the macro function looks like a small flower
  3. Select timer function – Select the option that delays the photo being taken with either a 2 second or 10 second delay. This will prevent the camera from shaking, eliminating the risk of taking a blurry photo
  4. Place the camera into position - Point the camera so that it is focused on the diamond ring
  5. Zoom In and then zoom back out – Look at the camera screen and zoom in until the image goes blurry. You don’t actually need to zoom in that much. Slowly zoom back out until the image is no longer blurry. This is your optimum zoom point. Don’t worry if it feels like you are too far away from the diamond ring. The picture will be of a high quality and you can crop it to the optimal size later

Part Four - Try Different Things:

  1. Take plenty of photos
  2. Try different angles
  3. Take photos with flash and without flash – Typically the best pictures occur without flash
  4. Alternate Accessory - Switch between using the pen, the napkin and finally just the ring
  5. Repeat the process again - Try using the darker surface

Part Five - Creating the best images:

  1. Upload photos onto your computer
  2. Select the best pictures - Pick the best 10 to 20 pictures to edit
  3. Select your photo editor on your computer
  4. Select crop – Crop the pictures so that the ring dominates 80% to 90% of the photo (see our examples)
  5. Choose your best four pictures
  6. Add them to your Have You Seen the Ring listing

The example photos that you see below did not involve any change to brightness, contrast, or auto correct. The only alteration we made was to crop the images.

Examples of pictures taken with a digital camera:

image description
Taken with a tripod on a dark surface with pen
image description
Taken with a tripod on a white surface with napkin
image description
Taken with a tripod on a white surface with pen
image description
Taken with a tripod on a dark surface

How to take good pictures with a smartphone camera

The quality of a smartphone photo isn’t quite as good as a digital camera, but If you follow the below suggestions, you can still easily take a quality photo to help sell your used engagement ring fast.

Part One – Prepare the Room:

  1. Natural Light - Pick a room in your house or office that has windows and plenty of natural light. A corner room is ideal for this
  2. Sunshine - The optimum time to take pictures is on a sunny day in a room filled with natural light. If it’s a gloomy day the pictures will be dark and grey, just like it is outside. On the flipside, don’t take the pictures in direct sunlight as the pictures will turn out blurry because your camera will not be able to focus
  3. Prepare Your Surface - Lay out your white pillow case on a flat surface, near to, but not in direct sunlight. Once you have taken all the photos that you need, repeat the process again but this time using the darker surface

Part Two - Prepare your jewelry:

  1. Clean your Used Diamond Ring - Buyers want to see that diamond ring sparkle!
  2. Use the accessories - The pen and the napkin can be used as an apparatus which will help you highlight the beauty of your diamond ring

Part Three - Prepare your camera:

  1. Take plenty of pictures - Without a tripod and because your hands naturally shake, roughly 50% of the pictures will be blurry, but it also means that 50% won’t be. It is difficult to tell which pictures are blurry on your smart phone screen, so you will need to take more pictures to ensure you end up with some quality photos
  2. Place the camera into position - Point the camera so that it is focused on the diamond ring
  3. Zoom In - You will need to zoom in more than with a digital camera.Take a few pictures and test which amount of zoom leads to the best looking pictures on your smart phone screen

Part Four - Try Different Things:

  1. Take plenty of photos
  2. Try different angles
  3. Take photos with flash and without flash – Typically the best pictures occur without flash
  4. Alternate Accessory - Switch between using the pen, the napkin and finally just the ring
  5. Repeat the process again - Try using the darker surface

Part Five - Creating the best images:

  1. Upload photos onto your computer- Tempting as it maybe, don’t add the photos directly from your smartphone to Have You Seen the Ring. Upload them to your computer first to ensure they are clear and then make any necessary edits
  2. Select the best pictures - Pick the best 10 to 20 pictures to edit
  3. Select your photo editor on your computer
  4. Select crop – Crop the pictures so that the ring dominates 80% to 90% of the photo (see our examples)
  5. Choose your best four pictures
  6. Add them to your Have You Seen the Ring listing

The example photos that you see below did not involve any change to brightness, contrast, or auto correct. The only alteration we made was to crop the images.

In no time at all, you will have offers from buyers looking to purchase your used diamond rings!

Examples of pictures taken with a smartphone camera:

image description
Taken with Iphone 4 on a dark surface with napkin
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Taken with Iphone 4 on a white surface with napkin
image description
Taken with Iphone 4 on a dark surface with pen
image description
Taken with Iphone 4 on a white surface with pen
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