This is my EZ Cube light tent along with one of the two lights that came with the kit I purchased. I put it inside of the tent so I could show what the light looks like.
When I first started taking photographs in the tent, I positioned the lights on either side of it but found that it didn’t illuminate my jewelry the way I wanted it to. The photos kept coming out too dark. I now take the lights off of their little stands and sit them right on top of the tent. Since I always use the timer for taking a shot, I have time to raise the lights a little and hold them into a position where I want them.
You can see the top of my tripod in front of the tent. A tripod is invaluable for taking photos of your jewelry as you will probably use very slow shutters speeds. You shouldn’t hand hold your camera if the shutter speed is slower than the length of the lens. In other words, if you are using a 50mm lens then you should use a tripod for speeds of 1/50th of a second or slower.
The tent diffuses the light so you don’t end up with glaring hot spots on your jewelry. I have been using a gradient paper background but have found that this type of paper scratches very easily. I noticed in some professional jewelry photographs that the background is gradient and reflective so I wonder if that is some sort of glass or plexi-glass background. In my next round of experiments, I want to try using fabric as a background.
So, a lot of my jewelry photography has been trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t. The website Etsy has been an invaluable resource for me to look at jewelry photographs and see what kinds of shots I like and what doesn’t work. I have learned that there are a lot of jewelry photographs out there that are just too dark, including a lot that are presently on my website. Before I purchased my light tent, I took outside shots and also used a rubbermaid container for indoor shots.
For taking professional looking photographs of your jewelry or artwork, I highly recommend finding a way to diffuse your lights and using a tripod. A camera with a macro lens and a timer is also very valuable.
Have fun experimenting!