Fine Jewelry Workflow: What’s in My Bag?

By Gail Job
Fine Jewelry Photographer, NYC

My fine jewelry workflow is one that I am constantly honing and working to perfect to ensure quality results. What’s more is that the industry is always changing and newer gear and technology is out year by year. What’s great about this are services like BorrowLenses in which you get to test out the latest equipment without committing to a price tag. 

Today I want to talk to you about what I keep in my kit to ensure I have a smooth and consistent shoot with a client.

Gail Job for BorrowLenses
Gail Job for BorrowLenses
One thing about my workflow, I always strive to keep it minimal because sometimes, less is more. Whether you are growing your business, or a new photographer looking to build your book, you don’t need to have the latest and greatest but more importantly just learn to perfect what you have. My first Canon camera was a rebel t3i with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. I would often rent a Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS or Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II with a smaller price tag than the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II. Shortly after, my first full frame body was a Canon 6D and I upgraded to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 which was comfortable for my budget at the time. I upgraded from there to a Canon 5D Mark III  with a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM Art EF Mount as I began to take on more commercial photography. This lasted me until 2021 when I made the switch to mirrorless. I began shooting with a Canon R5 and Canon R6. The R6 is a great starter mirrorless camera If you aren’t worried about video quality and super high resolution. This camera is a little less in cost than the R5 and creates beautiful results but the R5 tends to now be my go to for the functionality of shooting 8K raw footage for video and to have that 45 MP high resolution in case I ever have a big print job. 

For fine jewelry on model, I am always looking to highlight details and beautiful skin tones which is why the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM  is my go to lens for stunning close ups for both face & jewelry.This lens creates soft & dreamy bokeh and does well in low light situations.As I shoot primarily LED lighting and less strobe, having a lens that can shoot really sharp images and do well in different lighting scenarios really helps me.

My second favorite lens to use on a fine jewelry set is my Canon RF 100mm macro lens. I like to pull this lens out almost every time because often clients might ask me to shoot a lot tighter and up close to the jewelry to catch details that the 85mm lens might not pick up. This lens has so many amazing features I discuss in my last blog post on macro photography so it’s safe to say it has become a favorite of mine especially as I grow my beauty book and begin to book more beauty jobs. Lastly, if I have room in my bag and not packing light, I like to rent the Canon RF 24-70mm lens. While I shoot primarily with prime lenses, this lens is so versatile for different types of photography such as editorial, product photography, any campaign shoots that involve more than one subject. If I don’t want to keep switching back and forth, this will let me shoot a lot wider in small spaces and just a lovely all around lens. For lighting, I like to travel with my pelican suitcase and inside it I carry two Nanlite FS-300 AC LED moonlights. I will always carry one light stand with me on an airplane but if I don’t have the option to use any c-stands or light stands from a studio, I will definitely rent a couple of Matthew C-Stands and a C-Stand rolling bag. I will always back up my work with a Lacie Rugged hard drive after a shoot. What are your favorite type of equipment to bring with you on a shoot?

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NYC based fashion photographer who specializes in editorial and fine jewelry with a love for 35mm film and polaroids.

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About BL

BorrowLenses is an online camera gear rental service that started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. We offer a wide selection of camera gear ranging from camera bodies, lenses, lighting and accessories. We make it easy to rent gear by shipping your order straight to you.