Photographing Reflective Objects Macro StylePosted: July 22, 2010
Today I would like to show you some examples of how to photograph reflective objects and of course I will discuss the info based on macro photography.
Unwanted reflection can be distracting especially when your subject is in your face like a Macro photo. Of course it’s always fun when you’re artistically photographing reflection but that’s for a later article.
With many glass objects, like light bulbs, we can reflect light on the glass to create a black or white rim to show the viewer the depth of the object, but with this bulb I need to show the painted artwork. So we must defuse the light.
When we photograph macro most of the subject is in the shot, which can be difficult when working with reflective objects. As you can see from figure 1 the light bulb is very reflective; you can see me in the bulb. If you want to view the figures up close click on them and to get back to the blog use your back arrow key on your browser.
In Figure 2 I put a tent around the bulb but as you can see that the refection of the camera lens is in the shot. Not Good.
Figure 3 is and example of the tent I used.
In order to minimize the reflection of light hitting your macro shot, start with the example in Figure 4. Set two lights on each side of the subject and cross the light source beams. You will actually see the reflection diminish, but if you’re still having problems use a polarizing filter; that’s what I had to do for this shot.
I purchased my polarizer from B & H – my favorite place to shop.
I knew that a black background wouldn’t work with this bulb so the white tent was perfect. In Figure 6 you can see how I set up the object. In Photoshop I removed the wire and cleaned up the bulb figure 7.
Of course I love to see everything up close so I gave my clients some fun shots of the inside of the bulb and the actual painting on the bulb (my favorite shot).
My next example is my fingernail. If you have read my blog before you know that I love the creativity of my Manicurist Jennifer. This time she put sparkles on my nail and I loved them so much that I had to photograph it. As you can see from Figure 10 the flare is distracting and takes away from my sparkles so I photograph my nail with black velvet (velvet is excellent to use – it absorbs light so it won’t bounce on your subject) as my background. I diffused the light source hitting my nail with my translucent reflector.
Figure 11 is an example of my Translucent Reflector.
Now we can see my sparkles in figure 12, which puts a smile on my face 🙂
- Diffuse your light. You can use a tent, white silk, white tissue paper, translucent reflector…
- Use a polarizer filter on your lens
- Cross your lighting – see Figure 4
Yes, it takes time to work on reflective objects and when you Macro you really see the imperfections but it’s worth it in the end. You will have an awesome photograph to show your clients or just for your own self-gratification a picture that our eyes would not see if it wasn’t for your time and creativity.