Lighting question

Started Jan 2, 2013 | Questions thread
Duncan C Veteran Member • Posts: 7,664
I agree regarding diffusers

DecibelPhoto wrote:

No light tent - you will end up milking out the entire piece.

I don't think the idea of eliminating reflections on shinny semi-spherical objects is the way to go. They won't look shinny. It's a little like trying to eliminate all shadows - you just end up losing definition on the object.

Also, the only way to really do it would be to composite multiple frames with the reflections in different places, which would be time consuming.

I would instead think about trying to create a single, well placed reflection that is not distracting. Shape-defining reflections are used with most jewelery, cars, bottles, and shinny electronics. Try lighting with a single light shooting through a sheet of milked plexi, or some other diffusion that hides the point light source. This should give you a highlight that gradiates from bright to dark, instead of a defined rectangle. If you keep the light source close to the diffusion it will create a small reflection. For each piece you should only have to move the light source moderately to make sure that the highlight falls in a pleasing place on the objects.

Good luck.

Some excellent advice in this thread.

I agree with Decibel about the diffusers. I've had really good luck using diffusion panels with glossy items. I shot a bunch of jewelry for my wife's online jewelry business. I found a setup that worked quite well was to make an inverted V (or peaked roof) shape with white seamless over the pieces. I'd fire a light into each rectangular panel of the roof, at a distance where the light lit the center of the panel with a bright spot that faded away to black before it got to the edge.

Before I worked out that setup, I used a sheet of seamless and a large pop-up diffuser, both lit with a separate light. That setup looked like this:

(I added a third, snooted light turned down very low that I used to create bright highlights when I wanted them. Often that third light was turned off.)

The diffused lights create highlights that are bright in the middle but fade away at the edges. This really looks good on glossy surfaces. Here's a sample:

Note how the enameling on this piece has glowing highlights in it.

As Baz says, you might want to strive for just 1 highlight since that looks more natural. You could try cross-polarizing one light in a softbox to suppress it's highlight and not polarizing the one shot through a diffuser so it gives you highlights. I've read about cross-polarizing, but never had big enough polarizers to try it.

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