Photographing Shiny Objects


posted on 7th of september, 2007


If you haven't read "Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting" by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fugua, then you are missing out.

This book is quite amazing. OK, there were alot of things I probably already knew. But, there were a few tips and tricks I didn't know!

© Jolin (Help)
One example is photographing shiny objects. The book talks about the difference between direct reflection and polarized direct reflection. For the most part, subjects that conduct electricity have a tendency to create direct reflection, when the light is placed within the family of angles (where the camera sees the light in a reflection). Items that don't conduct electricity very well create polarized direct reflection when the light is placed within the family of angles. So, if you are photographing shiny plastic, you may be able to use a circular polarizer to completely block out the reflection by turning the filter until it is perpendicular to the polarized direct reflection. It really works!!!
If you have a shiny piece of metal, then what you will have to do is get a sheet of polarized plastic and put it over your light source. This will create the polarization that you will need to completely block the direct reflection when using your circular polarizer.
© Gbeef (Help)


Now I can be more creative with your lighting than simply setting up a huge light tent to encapsulate my subject to create diffused lighting to get rid of those pesky reflections!

The book has many more examples. If you want to master light, I suggest you pick up this book. Its name lives up to its contents...there is a little bit of science AND magic in it!!!

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Photo credits: Andres Rodriguez, Jackson Gee, Dragan Trifunovic, Jolin.

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