How to take photo of plastic or glass

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by shanna_williams, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. I'm doing product photography. Is there a way to help stop the reflection in glass or plastic. The light is being reflect or my shadow into the object. Is there a way to prevent this?
     
  2. A polarizing filter will help with reflections, although it will cost you two f-stops or so.
    Try to position the lights to minimize reflections as much as possible. Remember light reflects at the same angle it strikes the object, so if the light is 30 degrees above the product, the reflection will be 30 degrees below the subject. Same for left and right. Curves in the product can make this difficult to control. If you minimize the reflection from one surface by rotating the product, another surface may cause unwanted reflections.
    As for shadows, you need to modify your light placement (or product placement) so that nothing comes between the light and the product.
    Although they're not specifically for product photography, http://strobist.blogspot.com/ has a lot of good information about using off-camera flash.
     
  3. Another trick I've heard of but never used myself, to control reflection off of glass, is to spray it with hairspray. This gives the glass a very slight matte finish that reduces reflections.
    The downside is that it might also reduce highlights that you WANT in your picture, to give the product a little zing.
     
  4. Use a large softbox or other diffuser on your light source(s), in addition to Paul's suggestions. Do not use a camera-mounted flash. Indirect lighting reflected off a large, matte surface can help. Any approach that avoids glare and point-light sources will help. "A soft box is a type of photographic lighting device, one of a number of photographic soft light devices. All the various soft light types create even and diffused light by directing light through some diffusing material, or by "bouncing" light off a second surface to diffuse the light."
     
  5. I suggest you get and read "Light -- Science & Magic" by Hunter, Fils & Fuqua. It explains everything you need to know about lighting shiny objects.
     
  6. +1 to the suggestion by Charles. Light Science and Magic is the book for understanding how to overcome this and many other photographic challenges.
     
  7. Another quick tip: use black cloth, cardboard or canvas.
     
  8. Angles of reflections equals angles of in Incidence. This can get complicated with complexly curved objects. But in
    general:

    1) Minimize reflections of the light source along the sides by lighting from the top and directly above and not from the
    sides.

    2) use both white and black reflector cards along the sides and in front of the object. Use these as close as you can to the
    object. These will:
    A) help give shape to the object.
    B) block other objects from reflecting on the object.
     
  9. When I shoot stemware during a wedding, I light it from behind.
     
  10. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Mr. Farmer has a good idea for simple glassware. A white backdrop falling from the vertical to the horizontal with a gentle curve. The glass is place on that and a spot light shining on the back drop will light the glass with the reflected light passing through the glass for a very nice look.
     
  11. Here is something that I found in my very old Kodak studio lighting for product photography. Glassware. Conventionally, glassware is photographed simply by placing it in front of an illuminated background. Frontal illumination is not generally used because of the problem of multiple - and consequently distracting - reflections. However, instead of the usual white paper background. Kodacel matte sheet about .0075 inch supported on a sheet of glass. Directing the lights from underneath and behind the set makes it easy to position the light. A flood lamp was used to cover a large area of the background. If desired a diffused spotlight can be used to create the smaller circle of illumination at the base of the set.
    Light on a stand behind the matte kodacel sheet and place a diffuser behind while the light strikes the back of the matte kodacel sheet and in front of the screen is your glassware and add another light under the translucent glass sheet to give your glassware a circle of illumination at the base of the set. The light under the glass sheet will be a light with a diffuser in front. Camera is facing the background. it will be easier if I can draw a picture, but I will try it this way so you can understand.
    Diffuser light-------Matte kodacel sheet in the background subject in front and camera in front facing the glassware and under the sheet of glass will be a light with a diffuser. I hope this will give you a start and you can make final adjustment or fine tune the light. jiro
     
  12. To eliminate all reflections in glass or plastic would render the surface flat and without the specular highlights the viewer expects from a reflective, refractive or translucent surface. The key is to understand how the surface reflects the light and manage the reflection to advantage. Look at any ad for wine and all the bottles have reflections along the vertical edges. This tells us the bottle is reflective glass. The photographer and the ad agency would never think of trying to eliminate the reflections.
    If the object being photographed only has flat surfaces, the light source can be moved just out of the plane it's reflecting into. If the surface is curved, the light source should be large and diffused such as a soft box. Move the soft box to the side of the object, possibly slightly to the back of the object to minimize the reflection, but not eliminate it. Then white reflector cards can be used to fill in any surfaces that might need additional light or secondary reflections that aren't as strong as the direct light source. As a product photographer with 30+ years of experience I've death with this many times shooting glass, beads, jewelry, polished metal, ceramics and consumer products. Here's a composite photo of a 2 different glass beads and a 3-marble shot. In this case the marble is essentially a curved mirror. I've used a soft box over the top of the marble to add a subtle top highlight to show the object is curved. I used a single LED flashlight to punch a hard light into the front of the marble to reveal the inner details and then retouched out the white spot of the flashlight reflection.
    To eliminate all reflections in glass or plastic would render the surface flat and without the specular highlights the viewer expects from a reflective, refractive or translucent surface. The key is to understand how the surface reflects the light and manage the reflection to advantage. Look at any ad for wine and all the bottles have reflections along the vertical edges. This tells us the bottle is reflective glass. The photographer and the ad agency would never think of trying to eliminate the reflections.
    If the object being photographed only has flat surfaces, the light source can be moved just out of the plane it's reflecting into. If the surface is curved, the light source should be large and diffused such as a soft box. Move the soft box to the side of the object, possibly slightly to the back of the object to minimize the reflection, but not eliminate it. Then white reflector cards can be used to fill in any surfaces that might need additional light or secondary reflections that aren't as strong as the direct light source. As a product photographer with 30+ years of experience I've dealt with this many times shooting glass, beads, jewelry, polished metal, ceramics and consumer products. I've uploaded a composite photo here of 2 different glass beads and a 3-marble shot. In this case the marble is essentially a curved mirror. I've used a soft box over the top of the marble to add a subtle top highlight to show the object is curved. I used a single LED flashlight to punch a hard light into the front of the marble to reveal the inner details and then retouched out the white spot of the flashlight reflection.

    00eH1e-566853884.jpg
     

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