Jewellers should use Common sense, if some photographer one is willing to do your job for cheap, be on the guard. It could mean, cheap photography.
An undeniable fact remains that photography rates are on the decline and have become more affordable. This is due to the availability of cheap digital SLRS like Nikons, Canons etc. This has flooded the photography market with hordes of photographers. Some of them claim to be the best, just because they may have won an award for the best sunset photo of the year etc.
The problem is – lack of understanding and little information about the photography business by the client. The client’s primary concern is to get his job done at the cheapest rates possible. He often will pitch two or more photographers against one another for getting the cheapest rates. In such a scenario, non speciality photographers will oblige and will try to convince the client that they can produce excellent results.
The image quality of DSLRS (where detailing is of essence), is poor and lacks definition, especially when it comes to diamonds.
Unfortunately this has made it very difficult for discerning clients to distinguish the real professional from the inexperienced ones. It is precisely for this reason that the jeweler should understand the business of jewellery photography in greater detail.
Instead of focusing on price, the jeweller should focus on the portfolio of the photographer. I have done top quality work for jewellers in India and abroad - you can see the quality of my work in this website.
Quality images result using a combination of PRO equipment and professional lighting techniques:
I use, high resolution digitar Apo Macro lenses made by Schneider and Rodenstock that have the resolving power of 5 iu. And these have to be ordered. These optics are not available readily off the shelf. The camera I always use is Arca Swiss Monolith 2 Technical camera with movements and Pro Digital back that can record fine detail produced by the lens without any fuzziness and noise.
A single professional digitar Rodenstock lens can cost more than an entire DSLR camera with lenses and you need at least 4 different lenses to cover all the desired results. A pro digital back alone can cost 5 times the cost of full 35mm DSLR kit and the technical camera can cost as much. The cost implications for such serious set up are huge.
There are no fixed rates for jewellery photography and the reason for variation can be explained as follows: Every job is different and every client has different needs. Some times one type of jewellery has more challenges and will require more time in lighting and setup, some may require more "system work" or some require more "photography time" and "system work".
Corporate clients require more of the photographers time for meetings with business heads, their agency art directors, the marketing department and countless people to interface with.
Large sized images for offset printing or billboards tend to cost much more as compared to small sized images for website usage.