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"Freeze Frame" for Jewelry Photography
Hanging earrings or pendants motion free

gold earring photonecklace photogem hoop photo
If you have been struggling to take pictures of earrings & sell jewelry online, guaranteed you will be happy about this break through by the TabletopStudio folks. Many times it is not possible to hire a professional photographer due to cost or timing related issues, and you are faced with having to take your own photos. It is possible for you to get great shots of your items if you have the proper equipment such as lighting and camera and a few other extras to help get the job done well.

The photos shown here are no doubt what all jewelers selling online are striving to achieve. The technique shown here can be used with an "open photographic set" which does not require the use of a light tent, such as the EZcube, if you have a softbox light. If you do not have a soft box we reccomend using this tool inside of an EZcube light tent, to soften the light. We will show you how it can be used both ways, and will greatly reduce the large amount of time spent struggling to compose your jewelry before beginning to shoot.

Use the TabletopStudio Freeze Frame to "freeze" jewelry in mid air...

Even professional photographers are challenged by how to hang earrings or pendants in a way that will work for taking a picture. TabletopStudio developed a great technique to hang earrings and other small items using two fine filament lines for support. The first line supports the subject nicely. But the second line is the key to anchoring it in place so it does not swing for hours while you wait patiently by for it to stop moving. Choose the placement of these strings carefully so you have less photoshop work later.

A great secret to know when shooting earrings that match ... pros often shoot one and use software, like Photoshop, to create a duplicate.

Run the first line of filament from side to side & clip in place. Hang the earring from it. Then run the second line through the lower portion of the earring and pull slightly downward to freeze the earring in place. Once the second line is secured you can further adjust the earring, tension will hold it in place.

Once it is secure you can move the freeze frame, instead of the earring, to find a pleasing angle of view of the earring frozen in place. Now position the freeze frame 10" x 12" white background behind your earring and take a look through the camera.

setup for jewelryJewelry Freeze Frame
freezeframeJewelry Freeze Frame
invisible threadUntouched image from camera

dichroic glassNecklace in Freeze Frame
dichroic jewelryNecklace hung on background
necklaceAfter touch-up in Photoshop
elocquinnAfter touch-up in Photoshop
gold hoop earringsAfter touch-up in Photoshop

Keep in mind that to avoid harsh shadows and reduce glare, jewelry photography, like all product photography, normally requires soft lighting, For soft lighting the Freeze Frame can be used inside an EZcube or with the Kuhl Lite soft boxes.The primary light source for the examples shown on this page was one single 16" x 16" Kuhl Lite 120 soft box . This light holds four 30 Wattcamera angle compact flourescent bulbs, putting out a substantial amount of light, which allows you to shoot with your camera set to a faster shutter speed.

The image to the right shows a ring suspended in the freeze frame. In this setup the camera is shooting downward so the white freeze frame background is laying on the table surface and would appear to be behind the diamond ring in the photo. Because this is an open set {not an enclosed light tent} sometimes your shiny jewelry will reflect darkness from items in the room. Use the white fill card as shown in this setup to "fill" the darker areas with reflected light. The fill card should always face the light source it is reflecting, to be effective. Move the card around to find the right spot if your jewelry needs a little extra light in one spot.

Be sure that all of your lights match in color or you will not be happy with the results. NEVER mix different light source bulb colors. I use all 5000K daylight balanced bulbs for all of my example images, and never need to make color corrections. Also, leave your auto white balance setting ALONE. Most cameras do a great job with this set to Auto. If you ignore this advice and change your white balance setting, expect a greenish color cast over the entire image. White balance settings will not give you a white background.

The three most effective ways to whiten your background:

  • Camera exposure - increase the exposure time
  • Photoshop or Elements - adjust "levels"
  • Photoshop or Elements - remove the image background

    Photographing highly reflective gold and silver jewelry...

    Even professional photographers are challenged by how to photograph highly refelctive jewelry. There are always decisions and trade offs that need to be made in order to get the job done. The trick is not to eliminate the reflections but to "control" them so you get to decide which ones enhance the reflective appearance of your piece and which ones detract from it. You'll need to make some choices so be sure to take a hard look at jewelry images you admire first. Tiffany jewelrys website is a good source of inspiration for reflective silver jewelry images. Although they do spend more time in Photoshop then we would suggest.


    If you eliminated ALL reflections in your jewelry, it would appear dull, flat and lifeless.

    A) The silver hoop earring hung in the freeze frame on a table, NO light tent. The earrings reflected everything in the room; looking "noisy". See setup A) below.

    B) the same earring hung on the FreezeFrame now placed inside the EZcube, leaving the front of the tent open. See setup B) below.

    C) eliminate even more reflections by placing the EZcube front cover in place. It will be a personal choice which way to go & which style appeals most to you while shooting your product. This result is too dull for my liking. See setup C) below.

    hhA) NO EZcube Light Tent
    tttB) EZcube no front cover
    gC) EZcube with front cover

    reflectiveA) FreezeFrame NO EZcube
    reflective2B) EZcube - NO front cover
    reflective3C) EZcube - Front Cover
    elocquinnA) FreezeFrame NO EZcube
    gold hoop earringsA) FreezeFrame NO EZcube

    freeze frame

    Jewelry Photography Freeze Frame

    The Freeze Frame setup is shown above with a 16" x 16" Kuhl Lite 120 softbox with table top size stand, 10" x 12" white background and 8" x 10" white fill card, to reflect additional light onto the subject where needed. This setup provides many ways of hanging the same piece of jewelry so you can find what works best for your item. Necklaces can be hung from the background or in the Freeze Frame.

    Kuhl Lite 120 soft box

  • 20" flood light & stand mount

  • Ideal for soft lighting
  • Four 30W daylight CFL bulbs
  • Adjustable 12" to 15" stand
  • Removable diffusion panel
  • Freeze Frame

  • 8" x 10" black frame
  • 8" x 10" white frame
  • 10" x 12" white background
  • 8" x 10" white fill card
  • jewelry freeze frame

    All images & written content above is the sole property and Copyright © 2010 of TableTop Studio LLC. All rights reserved.