While photographing metallic or glassy products or even while shooting portraits outdoors one faces the challenges of managing reflections and glares. The photographer should have a good knowledge of lighting to manage reflections and glares to produce clean and professional looking images.
Glassy and metallic products can be quite challenging to photograph. Products such as watches, sunglasses and jewellery tend to be shiny and reflective while shooting. One can use the following techniques to eliminate reflections while photographing these kind of objects and also avoid glares while shooting portraits outdoors.
A few techniques to manage reflections and glares-
Backlighting means lighting the product from behind. One can obtain clear images specially of glass products. Strobe lights or continuous lights can be used for backlighting.
They help in reflecting light back onto the product and can be placed on either side of the product. One can use white or black foam boards while shooting in a studio. Using black foam boards result in sharper and more defined edges of the product. The photographer can also place a paper on top of the product so there is light reflected from all directions.
Cleaning the product-
It is very important to clean all the products before starting the shoot. One can use a cloth to do so making sure there are no marks and fingerprints and dust on the product.
They are highly reflective and one of the most challenging objects to shoot. One’s surroundings are often reflected on metal objects. For such situations one can use the following set up – use two strobe lights on either side of the product and use a white background running from behind the product to the camera. The white paper should be attached to where the camera lens ends. This set up will result in reflection free images of the product.
Sunglasses and watches-
The photographer could use the same or a similar set up to the one used for shooting metal objects. A set up one could use while photographing sunglasses and watches could include the use of one strobe light on one side of the product, foam boards and a white background. The foam boards can be placed in a V shape to funnel the light and result in evenly distributed and softer light.
Shooting portraits outdoors-
Diffuser or white board-
If one is shooting portraits outdoors and the sunlight is strong and harsh one can minimise the glares by using a white board or diffuser. A reflector would also be helpful to fill in the shadows.
Attaching a lens hood while shooting in broad daylight is recommended as it helps get rid of the sun spots in the image. One should keep it in mind and use it for outdoor portrait shoots.
One can also try and remove the reflections and glare in post processing using softwares like Lightroom and Photoshop. If the reflection is not on the main area of the image it should not be very difficult to edit them out. This might be time consuming but as long as it is effective it is worth it.
We feel that styling in product photography should be given importance. Looking into the details and making sure the images are of professional and high quality is key in this industry. One can create mood boards before they shoot to provide with them some ideas and inspiration.
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