How to light black metal objects?

Started Apr 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
24Peter
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Re: How to light black metal objects?
In reply to bravozulu, Apr 16, 2013

As with most product shots, but esp with black matte or shiny objects, those objects are defined by the presence/absence of highlights. Create/manage those highlights with your lights and/or reflectors. A softbox is helpful b/c it creates a large, well-defined reflection (which may be "direct" or "diffused" depending on the surface of the object [when you get Light Science Magic you'll learn the difference between direct and diffuse reflections). It is these reflections which help define the edges/surface of the black object. White foam core or white/silver reflectors are also helpful here.

I have a friend who shoots in-house for Tiffany's , including the trophies for the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl etc., and while most of those items are reflective gold and silver, the principle is the same: he says you light what is going to reflect in the surface of the object, rather than lighting the object itself. Perhaps that's obvious with gold or silver items but it will help focus your attention on anything you shoot that reflects - which actually is everything you shoot since if it didn't reflect light you wouldn't be able to see it.

BTW - if you think shooting a black flashgun or lens is tough, try shooting a black automobile:

Actually these photos are of a scale model, but you get the idea

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