What is the best technique for photographing reflective objects?

Question by quizzical-one: What is the best technique for photographing reflective objects?
I want to photograph some objects with a reflective surface; however, I do not want the camera or myself to show on the object.

Best answer:

Answer by darkpoet99
light fron behind the object, do not use ilumination or flash.

Give your answer to this question below!

This entry was posted in How To Photograph and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What is the best technique for photographing reflective objects?

  1. Zyada says:

    If possible, photograph from an angle. This won’t work for round objects but it will for flat objects.

    I’ve seen a photograph where the camera was facing straight into the center of the mirror of a ballet studio. They did it by draping the photographer with a canvas the same color as the wall he was against, then airbrushing out the details after the print.

    Can you tell how long ago this was?

  2. Darrius says:

    Very reflective objects are difficult to photograph for the reason you state, everything including the photographer and camera show up as reflections.

    Here’s a couple of things you can do:

    Your first try can be as someone else mentioned, to try changing the angle you’re shooting at, this sometimes eliminates the reflection. I’ve seen shots of countertop pots and pans in flyers that use this technique – you see the pots, the counter surface, and stuff around it but nothing else.

    If your reflective object has a lot of curves, you can also try squeezing yourself onto a part of the reflection that would make the camera and you unrecognizable. I saw a shot of a motorcycle where the photographer placed himself on the rim of one of the metallic pieces so that the reflection was thin and along an edge… no unwanted reflections could be made out.

    You can also try to put black fabric or something behind the camera, and shoot with a timer or cable release…the camera could blend into the background and you won’t be in the shot.

    If the reflective object is small enough, best is to construct a light tent. A light tent can be any material that you can set up that will completely surround your object. You can shoot through a hole in the tent, or once again use a black bakground to camlouflage the camera. For lighting, if you use transluscent material, you can light your subject through the material – this will diffuse the light and provide good illumination, or you can illuminate from above at the top of the tent.

    During my photog classes, I constructed an enclosure around my reflective surfaces, with a camera just inside one of the “walls”, and me triggering the camera from outside. The “walls” were just black drapes hung from light stands. The object was lit from above through some transluscent material.

    This is the digital age, so if some reflections make it through you can always put your photoshopping skills to task, cloning out the unwanted reflections.

    Better to do everything you can to eliminate them during the shoot – much less work required in the digital darkoom.

    Hope some of this has helped.

    Post Edit – A note on polarizing filters:

    Polarizing filters only minimize reflections, and they minimize things like surface water refelections, window reflections, things that shouldn’t be reflecting. Your actual reflection in metal and mirrors – that is something no polarizing filter can minimize.

  3. melvinschmugmeier says:

    indirect light with your camera on a tripod.

  4. latenate12345 says:

    get a good polarizing lense first it allows to see the reflection clearer

Leave a Reply