Lighting for reflective objects

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
john g Contributing Member • Posts: 505
Re: Lighting for reflective objects

Hi Valdiator;

Equipment that you might find useful are a boom arm and silver cards.

Your top light might not be so apparent if you either push it towards the back or put it high and 45 degrees behind. These positions will tend to light the background more than the product.

Then, you can use the front scrim at a much lower power so it doesn't come up blown out white.

A repeatable process for highly reflective subjects (high contrast) is to use excessively soft lights such as shoot-through umbrellas or big flats with bounced light.

Another option that a creative photographer might try is to shoot on "location" by window light. The product might look more natural and appealing sitting on a table by the window.

Good luck!


vladiator wrote:

Hi all

I'm doing some product photo shoots for my wife's decor business website. I don't have any prior product photos experience but I thought that it would be fun (and it is!). So I invested into 2 Godox SK400ii, and some light stands and backgrounds. I also have a Godox flash which I use as my third light. For modifiers, I have 2 softboxes, 2 scrims, one standard reflector, and some bounce cards and flags.

The idea is to show products on a table (mainly a white table top) with a background at the back (using either a white wall, or background paper of different colours). There are some props next to products, e.g. other decor items or flowers, and this is why we want to do it in a setting on a table, rather than on seamless background.

Through experimenting with different setups (separately lighting the products and background), I have had good success with matte and semi-glossy products. However I struggle to find a lighting setup which would give me a good photo of a glossy / reflective product (such as ceramic vases, drinking glass). E.g.:

- if I set up lights on the side or at 45 degrees, I get an ugly white reflection of the softbox or scrim on the side of the product.

- if I set up light above the product (with softbox or scrim), I get obvious reflections from the light on the top and another reflection of the table on the bottom of the product.

Tonight I seems to have had some limited positive result by putting one scrim close to the product at about 45 degrees and putting a monolight with the standard reflector right against the scrim - seems that the reflection was more subtle than when using a softbox or a scrim without the standard reflector behind it. However, since I didn't have a second reflector for my second light, I couldn't recreate this effect from the other side. I plan to buy a second reflector tomorrow to see if this works when I use two monolights with reflectors and scrims from both sides.

However, this might not work, and I'm looking for any trick or suggestions! How do people who actually know about product photography light reflective products? 😄

Thanks in advance!

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