Pros and Cons of Using Live Models When Photographing Jewelry

by Rena Klingenberg.

Pros and Cons of Using Live Models when Photographing Jewelry, by Rena Klingenberg, Jewelry Making Journal

What do you think about using live models when photographing your jewelry pieces that you plan to sell?

Here I’ll present some points both for and against using live models – and I hope you’ll leave a comment to share your thoughts on this issue.

Benefits of Having Live Models
Wearing Your Jewelry in Photos

First, a live model definitely helps show how the jewelry looks when it’s worn – the length, size, and fit of each piece.

And if you’re showing a jewelry set, customers get a clear idea of how the pieces look and work together.

It would be harder to achieve that as effectively without a live model wearing the jewelry.

It’s nice to have photos of the jewelry both alone and on a live model.

And seeing the jewelry, styled on a model, may inspire people to want to purchase the jewelry to copy that look for themselves.

Why You May NOT Want Live Models
Wearing Your Jewelry in Photos

If people don’t like how the model looks, that may kill their interest in the jewelry.

Similarly, people who don’t resemble the model might feel that the jewelry isn’t their style.

Also, some people are turned off by seeing zoomed-in shots of jewelry that show closeups of skin, hairs, blemishes, and other natural body features.

And with Covid-19, do customers buy jewelry shown on a live human model?

And what if the live model isn’t wearing a face mask?

In addition, I know several people who have a strong “that’s gross!” response to the idea of wearing jewelry that may have been worn (however briefly) by someone else.

(I also know many other folks who don’t feel that way.)

What Do the Jewelers Who Have
Paid for Market Research Do?

I viewed the websites, print catalogs, and ads of several of the major jewelry retailers in the U.S. – from the major fine jewelry stores to smaller artisan jewelry boutiques.

In this unofficial research, the majority of the jewelry photos I saw do NOT have live models wearing the jewelry.

However, they do have occasional photos of a model wearing one of their pieces in one of these ways:

  • If the photos are closeup, the models’ skin tends to look flawless (possibly due to photo editing).
  • Often, though, the photos aren’t closeups, but full-body shots showing the model having a fun or romantic time while wearing the jewelry.
  • Or sometimes the major jewelers use a photo of an attractive person who’s NOT actually wearing their jewelry, but positioned right next to photos or a display of the jewelry – implying that this lovely person wears this jewelry line.

So what did I conclude, based on my unofficial research of the “big guys”?

That if the majority of the big jewelers’ photos exclude live models, it’s a good bet that their expensive marketing research points to more sales when they use fewer models actually wearing the jewelry.

One Other Issue
About Using Live Models

One other point to keep in mind if you’re planning to sell the jewelry that’s been worn by a live model:

To prevent the risk of spreading skin infection and disease via earwires and other pierced jewelry, you should put new findings on pierced jewelry after the model removes it from his / her piercings.

And I would also recommend giving ALL pieces of jewelry a thorough cleaning after the model removes them.

For more about wearing jewelry that’s been tried on by other people, see our discussion, Trying On Earrings: What Should the Rule Be?.

Please Share What You Think

What do you think about using live models when photographing your jewelry pieces that you plan to sell?

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