Interview with Alain Simic, Jewelry Photographer

In Episode #29 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Alain Simic, a jewelry, fashion, and fine art photographer based in New York City. We discussed the role that high-quality commercial photography can play in a fine jewelry brand’s comprehensive marketing strategy. 

Prior to starting his career as a commercial photographer, Alain spent years as a freelance photojournalist with a focus on human rights concerns before he worked as a producer for photographers like Steve McCurry. After some time, he started working for a studio that had many jewelry clients, and when he left to start his own business about two years ago, several of those clients decided continue working with him. He saw a need for high-quality jewelry photography and decided to step fully into that niche.

In this episode, we discuss topics like:

  • What is unique about photographing jewelry, and why should a jewelry brand work with a photographer who specializes in it?
  • What are the different types of jewelry photography, and why does each one matter?
  • What are the characteristics of good jewelry photography?
  • What role does photography play in a jewelry brand’s marketing strategy? Why is it so important?
  • When they’re searching for a photographer, what should jewelry brands look for?

Below are some highlights from the interview with their corresponding time stamps, so you can skip to the relevant position in the interview if you’re interested in hearing more about any specific topic:

2:35 – Why Jewelry Photography Is Specialized

“With jewelry, you have to be much more careful obviously because you are dealing with gemstones and reflective metallic surfaces. So there’s a lot of technical, nitty-gritty kind of stuff you have to take into consideration that most photographers wouldn’t necessarily have to think about on something like a fashion shoot.”

6:25 – Brands That Do Jewelry Photography Well

“In Fall/Winter of last year, 2018, Bulgari did a fabulous shoot of jewels…with poker chips. Ultimately the jewelry is still the star, and they communicated what the theme was and what the vibe was for that particular season. But you never lost track or sight of the jewelry, and that’s what’s really important to remember.”

11:05 – Why Photos Matter for Jewelry Ecommerce

“The world we live in today is completely saturated with imagery, and so much of our lives and our shopping habits are formed by photography. That is the main way we engage with commerce. So much of our lives are digital. We don’t always engage with the product firsthand. It’s tremendously important to have high-quality images that can be as much about the product as your brand. That is going to be the main way the audience engages with your brand.”

13:26 – Luxury Is Luxury

“I’ve seen a lot of really young designers who are very talented who will often say things to me like, ‘Well, I don’t think of myself as a luxury brand.’ I always respond that regardless of the price range that you’re in, you are selling a luxury good. You’re selling fine jewelry, you’re selling gold, you’re selling precious gemstones. So you have to think of yourself as a luxury brand whether you like it or not because you are competing against other luxury brands.”

14:31 – Be True To Your Brand

“You can still be that cool indie designer but communicate quality and luxury. You do that with a great campaign that suits your vibe, but you’re not sacrificing quality. You can be whatever you want to be. You can communicate about your brand whatever you want to communicate and still be true to yourself.”

19:07 – How to Choose a Jewelry Photographer

“Look for a diverse portfolio. If you’re looking for a jewelry photographer, and you go to their website, and you see only one kind of photograph, that to me would be a red flag. I would look for a photographer who has a diverse product photo portfolio. I would want to see many varying types of jewelry in his or her portfolio. I would want a photographer who has done a lot of creative work both within the realm of jewelry and beyond.”

23:24 – Don’t Be David Yurman

“I love David Yurman. I think it’s a fabulous company, and I think they do beautiful photography. But I see a lot of people copy them. I see that black and white photo with a very natural-looking model with very little makeup and tussled hair. That’s a convention I see repeated. And I always think, ‘Let David Yurman do that. You do something else.’ I understand why somebody would want to repeat that kind of photo shoot because it’s a beautiful photo shoot, but it’s already been done. It’s theirs, and it’s very much part of their branding.”

To learn more about Alain and to contact him, visit his website or check out his Instagram feed.

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