It's all about the glass. . .

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kalikala, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Kalikala

    Kalikala TPF Noob!

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    I've been doing photography for a good portion of my life, but never really learned to photograph glass. My husband does reviews for computer parts, which I try and do the photos for. His current review is on a liquid cooling system, with a plexy glass case. Talk about hard to shoot. To add to the difficultey, we are broke, and I have little resourses. While I can be very resourceful, there are some things that you just can't do without.

    So I've done some research, learned a lot, and decided to tackle glass head on. Here are some of my better shots, and I'm hoping for some feedback. I'll also tack on some of the shots of the computer, seeing as it might fetch some good ideas for lighting and such.

    My camera ~ Sony A100
    My "equipment"
    ~Glass candy dish~
    ~ White pillow case
    ~ Craft foam sheets, different colors
    ~ Glass from a picture frame
    ~ Two cans of paint
    ~ Desk lamp with daylight bulb

    ~Computer~
    ~ Desk lamp with daylight bulb
    ~ Brown sheet & suede blanket (I would have liked to have black, but couldn't find anything)
    ~ Small game table

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  2. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cool. Welcome to the forum!

    Have you tried the 'stretch out the big white bed sheet and fire the flash through it' trick?

    The biggest problem I have with glass is the specular transitions. In other words with too short a transition you get hot spots and just tepid transitions you see the edge of your light source in the reflection. The easiest way I have found is a 4x8 softbox -or really the bedsheet.

    To adjust for highlights you move the flash closer or further away from the sheet (off camera of course).


    If you have a bit of disposable income you can make a frame of PVC and use some translucent nylon in place of the sheet. (Google tinkertubes)

    good luck
     
  3. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I had a similar project at work. The department was given an engraved all glass award that also happened to be curved. I was able to get the shots that I wanted with out reflection by getting a golf club packing box from U-Haul and a 15" rectangle of black plexi-glass.

    I cut a door in the bottom part of the box. In the bottom of the box I place one strobe at about 1/2 power shooting straight up through the glass with the award on top. I used two other strobes with 24"X32" softboxes a little above and around 60 degrees to each side. Behind it was a solid black cloth backdrop. It took a little adjusting to get the angles right but the final product was a completely clear and readable glass award on a black base that blended perfectly into the background with no glare or hot spots.
     
  4. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Hey not bad! I never tried tackled glass either. I did read a book from the 80's about shooting small objects, and there was a pretty long interesting section about shooting glass. It looks to me like you did a good job. I remember one of the major discussions in the book was about eliminating specular reflections. It seems for the most part, you got it, although there's some pretty harsh specular reflections on the case.

    The recommendation was to build a very large light tent which would cast a uniform white reflection. Then, to cast reflections to give some more detail to the surface, you could cut holes into the tent in strips. I've never done this kind of work, so I don't know how the mechanics really work, but it seemed like a good technique.

    Good job, and welcome to the forum! :)
     
  5. Kalikala

    Kalikala TPF Noob!

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    Thanks!

    Those are some really good ideas, I'm going to have to see if I can gather some supplies. :) I read about using a sheet to soften the light, and I did try a pillowcase in a few of my shots (not posted), but the light came out a different color, kind of yellow. Maybe my pillowcase had a tint to it? I will have to try the sheet though.

    One of my big problems has been lack of lights. I don't have any actual photo lamps, and have little access to other portable light sources.

    Thank you so much for the feedback and new ideas!
     
  6. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I gotta tell you, your results are really impressive, given you didn't have any formal lighting equipment.
     
  7. Neuner

    Neuner TPF Noob!

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    I liked the second shot. It looked like you shot it on a mirror with the bottom of the glass piece looking like a reflection. I then saw the red photo and saw it was all one piece. Very misleading. I think the computer case photos were good but the highlights are too strong and harsh. Not sure how you're setup but I'd back the lights off some and diffuse them.
     

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