Take a step into our whimsical, gemstone universe and learn all the BTS photo secrets that bring this dessert-filled, diamond-encrusted, champagne-dusted world to life.
Keep reading for a Q & A with our Creative Director, Sophie, and Photographer, Karla on the making of our latest fanciful photoshoot.
Can’t get enough BTS? Read our blog about our first photoshoot + brand glow-up.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT GEM BREAKFAST
Tell us about the Alchemy Collection photoshoot!
Since GB is all about loud colors, we wanted to do the exact opposite for our white diamonds line. For the Alchemy Collection shoot, we wanted to embrace a lack of color and play with light, reflections, and texture. Using ice, glass, water, and stark lighting felt like the perfect way to capture the Alchemy energy. We kept it simple so the white diamonds could be the star and truly shine.
Dipping a hand in ice cold water was also a fun action to capture for gifs and video content.
What was your vision for the Pride Collection photoshoot?
We wanted to use all the colors of the rainbow but keep the tone and temperature of GB. Pride needed to feel empowering but also like a party, a statement, and most importantly super fun - a big celebration! We kept the styling simple since the rings are so colorful and strong on their own and when they're worn together, they're the pride flag itself!
And of course, no pride celebration is complete without a rainbow disco ball and pair of offensively high hot-pink stilettos.
Let's talk props!
Once we devised our shot list, we thought about how to pair these concepts with movement. With short videos and animated gifs, we bring the actions in the photos to life and allow the viewer to see the rings move, play, and dance in the lights and colors.
We wanted to push the use of props - not just feature complimentary props with GB colors but create real scenarios. One was a girl reaching down to fix her sock while standing next to a pile of GB books with our signature saying on them.
We used branded polaroids to creatively showcase all different kinds of couples. Gem Breakfast is all about empowerment, inclusivity, and rebelling against the clichés of diamonds and what love looks like. We love how different each of our clients are and we celebrate love in all forms. Nobody's story looks the same and we wanted to highlight that.
When shooting champagne diamonds, of course you need to bring in the champagne! We created our own Gem Breakfast patterned champagne bottle and kept the set up minimal for a very stylized and elevated vibe. Think an all-pink color scheme with little pops of red, a flawless pink cake, a martini glass, and a timeless little pink dress with a classic peter pan collar - the perfect champagne moment. We love creating these magical little worlds for our diamonds to shine in.
How was this shoot different from the last?
Our first photoshoot was about finally expressing who GB is photographically and to create the fantastical Gem Breakfast world. The challenge this time around was to continue the color story, stay true to the visual world we created, but not do the same thing again.
Plus, this time, we were shooting for specific collections - we wanted to keep the GB aesthetic, but create a distinct look and feel to differentiate these photos from general brand imagery. They needed to capture the uniqueness and energy of each collection.
What’s your favorite new photo and why?
Our Girl on The Couch series is my favorite set-up from the last shoot. It’s a concept I've wanted to shoot for a long time and when we saw this pink couch, we knew we had our chance! Usually we’re pretty strict with our color pairings (pink with pink, blurple with blurple, peach with peach), but I I love how we mix and match in this series.
I feel like these photos express our message: you don’t need a special occasion to get dressed up or any particular reason to buy diamonds. Have a party in your room, admire yourself in the mirror, pose for no one. Buy the diamonds for yourself. These photos capture that mood with a playful and an almost peculiar vibe. It invites curiosity which we love.
Photographer & founder of Katillion agency
What’s it like working with Gem Breakfast?
When I met Cat and she said she wanted to use color, I was very excited. Most jewelry brands shy away from color and keep a very serious vibe in their images. With Gem Breakfast, we present a very high-end, luxury product in a playful, whimsical, approachable way. It celebrates the unconventional bride or the person who just wants to treat themselves – I love that.
Sophie, Catherine, and I have regular zoom calls – we’re a little trio. I love being a part of the entire process with them from start to finish.
You tried some new things and new types of photography this time around - tell me about it.
Cat and Sophie had a very specific vision the first time around with lots of examples. I took all their ideas and narrowed it down to about 10 different concepts that would tell a smaller story. That first shoot was about honing the ideas down and letting them know what was possible to shoot in one day.
This second shoot, we narrowed down the concepts even further. This one was a little more experimental - we used less color, and focused more on the jewels. We still used hands, props, but spent more time on lighting and illuminating the gemstones within the concepts.
We learned from the first shoot that if something doesn’t work in the first 5-10 minutes, we move on. The more time we spend on something that’s not working, the less time we can allocate to something that might work.
What was your biggest challenge in this latest shoot?
The biggest challenge in shooting jewelry is the focal point. Because fine jewelry pieces are so small, the moment you show more than just fingers, chest, or face, you can lose the jewelry. In a fashion shoot, I can pull back 50 feet and you can see the total environment plus the clothes and details and accessories. With jewelry, we can’t move back much. Our canvas is reduced to a small portion of a person’s body.
And with Gem Breakfast, we want to show the environment, but still keep rings as the focal point. For this last shoot, we did pull back and shot some more editorial, fashion-esque moments, but those rings get lost in the mix almost immediately. So, to achieve that mix of fashion + ring details, we pair close-up photos with pulled-back photos to tell a story. It becomes more of a magazine editorial – a lookbook for jewelry.
Tell me about the Alchemy shoot
Sophie and Cat were envisioning a high-key, all-white, ice-in-water moment. The challenge: when you put hands in water, you lose the sharpness in the jewelry. But luckily Cat gave me room to execute the vision and not hyper-focus on the diamonds, which allows me to be more creative.
We spent lots of time finagling with the ice – what kind of ice do we have, is the ice sitting right, where do we get the ice from? There was a bar around the corner that let us fill a champagne bucket with ice and that’s what we used - just funny moments you wouldn’t think about!
Let’s talk about what's it like on the set - tell me your side of making these photos happen.
In our shoots, I light the setting, frame it, and then a prop stylist goes in and cleans up the details/creates the most aesthetic arrangement.
When it comes to a studio, if we’re just shooting a product, we need very little from a location – basically just tables and some room to spread out. When we have models in the mix however, we’re using much more space. Cat and Sophie were flying in and couldn’t bring a million things so we found locations that had color, props, and accessories that made our life easier.
Luckily there are lots of studios in LA with cool, colorful, funky little spaces to shoot in. Sometimes the location inspires us – this one studio had a blue couch and a cool blue shag carpet that inspired us to do a whole blue story.
What’s your favorite photo this time around?
In one photo, we had a bunch of spray painted empty coffee cups. My job was to make it look like there was coffee in these cups afterwards in Photoshop. So, I superimposed different levels and colors of coffee to match our shadows and lighting in our coffee cups.
It’s a very cool and unique shot, and the editing side was fun for me.