How to Take the Perfect Engagement Ring Photo on Your Smartphone
Newer phones have better cameras, its worth planning to use a friends’ phone for this task if your phone camera isn’t great.
Before Any Photos...Clean that Ring
If you can get your ring professionally cleaned and polished at a jewelry store, if it’s free… it’s a wise thing to do, it's also fast and very effective. In addition to really good cleaning, jewelry stores have the ability to easily polish some of the scratches on the shank (the sides of the ring). If you cannot or do not want to go into a jewelry store, you can clean your engagement ring at home.
You can make the diamonds in your engagement ring look noticeably better by doing the following method at home. Loosen the gunk in the ring, using some mild soap and really warm water… let your ring soak for a day or so (you may want to change the water once in a while). The diamonds really lose their brilliance when dirt, lotion or gunk film builds up under the diamonds. Once the gunk is loosened, you want to use an old toothbrush to clean every possible angle of the top and just as importantly, the underside of the ring and diamonds. Dry it it off and you are now ready to shoot.
How to Take a Picture of an Engagement Ring: 5 Tips
1. Use Natural Lighting - It's everything
If you are trying to sell your engagement ring, buyers really want to know what this ring looks like. It’s not wise to try to use different colors (kelvin or temperatures) of light to try to make the engagement ring look better, because that’s not how it will look when the buyer receives it. To be even more specific, you’ll want indirect light, which means that you’ll want a shady area if you are shooting during the day. It may also be advantageous to shoot in the morning (cooler) or at dusk (warmer). In the photo below, look at the distinction of the facets in the center diamond that was photographed in the shade.
Brighter light isn't always better when photographing your engagement ring.
2. Choose the Right Background
We know it’s tempting to find a background that is high in contrast to make your engagement ring photo “pop” to everyone that sees it. We respect that, but here’s something that you should know that’s important regarding the automatic camera on a smart phone. The phone camera will typically try to adjust an object on a darker background to the background. This means that the phone will try to balance with its levels the darker color (by lightening it) and in turn make the ring too light or bright. This effect can “blow out” those valuable, intricate details that can be important to anyone wanting to purchase your engagement ring. You’ll see the effect when you click on your ring versus your background to focus. See the examples below.
Consider photographing your engagement ring on a lighter background instead of a darker background.
3. Find the Perfect Camera Focus
The top of the ring, the center stone area should be the focal area of the photo, and focus is important. Spend the extra time experimenting how you can best capture those details while keeping them in focus. Your typical iPhone camera will not be able to focus while holding closer than 4-5 inches from the ring. It’s useful to be able to do an optical zoom on a newer iPhone or newer Galaxy so that you are able to focus while zooming in on the ring.
Newer iPhone Pros (with the 3 lens on the back) have better optical zooming features than the non-pro iPhone (which have no optical zoom) as follows; iPhone Pro 13 has 3x, iPhone Pro 12 has 2.5x, iPhone Pro 11 has 2x and all older iPhones only do digital zoom (which will compromise the quality photo when zooming in). If you need to borrow an iPhone, borrow a Pro and try to experiment a little between the standard photo and the portrait mode. If you are using a Samsung, the Galaxy S20 series and up all have optical zoom from 3x with the S20 FE to the S23 Ultra which has a 10x optical zoom. We actually had really good success with a Galaxy S23+ that we were able to toy with recently.
4. Macro Clip-on Lens or Not?
There are plenty of options for universal clip-on macro lens that will clamp right on to your phone camera without causing any damage. They really aren’t essential for photographing your engagement ring, but they will show the details of your diamond. To some buyers, those details can be valuable and to others it may not be important. We see this type of photo as an opportunity for a buyer to “look under the hood” of the ring that they are interested in purchasing. If you choose to use a macro lens, we do not suggest using only this lens to photograph the ring, it will distort the ring and give it an unrealistic representation. It works great as a secondary photo that offers a "zoomed in" perspective.
Using a clip on macro lens is great for closer look but it isn't a requirement.
5. Test the Best Angles to Photograph Your Engagement Ring
Just like people, some rings have viewing angles that more are flattering than other angles. One angle that we always suggest is straight on at the top of the ring, that is the angle that the wearer will always see. Take a few different angles when shooting. It's easier to recognize the better perspectives and pick the best when you are able to review them all at one time.
A few final tips to help give you the best result.
Believe it or not, you really can sell your engagement ring with photos taken from a phone camera. Take your time and experiment with your photoshoot, try in the early morning light and at dusk. The early morning light will often give you a cooler indirect light versus the indirect light at dusk, which is often times warmer. If your ring has inclusions or imperfections, do not photoshop them out. We do confirm that the ring is properly represented once a buyer makes a purchase. If you have a question regarding the best way to represent your engagement ring visit the contact us and reach out to us.