help with lighting a highly reflective metal trophy cup

Started Mar 6, 2010 | Discussions
veeco5150 Contributing Member • Posts: 621
help with lighting a highly reflective metal trophy cup

Hello,

I am going to be doing a photo shoot on a reflective silver trophy cup and was looking for a little help/advice.

I'm not sure if I will be renting studio lights or trying for something else. I do not own studio lights so it would be nice to do it without; but I don't mind renting if necessary....
so I was wondering for a little advice from both lighting conditions.

If I got studio, I would prob have two lights set up in like fashion, pointed away from the subject and use a whiteboard to bounce the light onto the cup....I also figured I'd try either adding a light diffuser after the bounce; or even use a direct flash through a diffuser.
Would these be the best options with studio lighting?

Or I thought I could get a really bright continuous lightsource like a floodlight or something and do the same technique as above....

or would it be best to use natural light, or shade, or indoors with a normal lightsource and color balance afterward?

Or maybe a ringflash......though I have no idea what a ringflash is actually used for...but it seems to be common with closeups and product shots.

Thanks so much for the help!
Cheers,
M

hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,129
Re: help with lighting a highly reflective metal trophy cup

You can approach this subject a bunch of ways. Traditionally, you can use large sheets of foam core on either side to "tent" the trophy--the reflective surface "sees" only the white foam core and looks nice and smooth.

I took another approach one time on a last minute project. I set the trophy on a rock (braced with a lens clamp to keep it level) and took a long exposure on a tripod while walking around popping off one hand-held flash. It was eventually used as a newspaper section front and a poster.

Watch out for reflections--trash, studio clutter, yourself!

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zanderlane
zanderlane Forum Member • Posts: 51
here's a similar reflecto-nightmaro with a tuba...

...feel your pain - had to do a tuba recently in studio and wound up surrounding that big shiny mirror of a horn with three white seamlesses forming a complete triangle around it with a 12x12 silk resting above (sealing the ceiling; which was the only light source, as well) and shooting through the seam where two seamlesses met up to hide the lens...

...good luck!

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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: here's a similar reflecto-nightmaro with a tuba...

zanderlane wrote:

...feel your pain - had to do a tuba recently in studio and wound up surrounding that big shiny mirror of a horn with three white seamlesses forming a complete triangle around it with a 12x12 silk resting above (sealing the ceiling; which was the only light source, as well) and shooting through the seam where two seamlesses met up to hide the lens...

Hmmm... that tuba isn't bad, considering, but it needed a few "darks" reflected into to skulpt in some shape. As it is, it is rather flat and formless, in my opinion.
--
Regards,
Baz

I am 'Looking for Henry Lee ' (could be Lea, or even Leigh) and despite going 'Hey round the corner', and looking 'behind the bush', I have not yet found him. If he survives, Henry is in his mid-60s, British, and quite the intellectual.

What is it all about? Well, something relating to a conversation we had in the pub 35 years ago has come to spectacular fruition, and I'd like him to know how right he was.

If you know somebody who could be this man, please put him in touch with me. Thank you.

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Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Huh? "Skulpt?" Where did that come from?

I meant "sculpt", of course. Sorry about that!
--
Regards,
Baz

I am 'Looking for Henry Lee ' (could be Lea, or even Leigh) and despite going 'Hey round the corner', and looking 'behind the bush', I have not yet found him. If he survives, Henry is in his mid-60s, British, and quite the intellectual.

What is it all about? Well, something relating to a conversation we had in the pub 35 years ago has come to spectacular fruition, and I'd like him to know how right he was.

If you know somebody who could be this man, please put him in touch with me. Thank you.

 Barrie Davis's gear list:Barrie Davis's gear list
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2
hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,129
Re: here's a similar reflecto-nightmaro with a tuba...

Whoa! What a mondo pain to shoot! Nice job.

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24Peter
24Peter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,942
Re: here's a similar reflecto-nightmaro with a tuba...

zanderlane wrote:

...feel your pain - had to do a tuba recently in studio and wound up surrounding that big shiny mirror of a horn with three white seamlesses forming a complete triangle around it...

Nice job! - I'd be proud to call that shot my own. But I'm not clear on the reference to "white seamlesses" - do you mean foamcore (board) or rolls of white paper?
--
View my photo galleries here: http://imageevent.com/24peter

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apaflo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,854
Re: help with lighting a highly reflective metal trophy cup

veeco5150 wrote:

Hello,

I am going to be doing a photo shoot on a reflective silver trophy cup and was looking for a little help/advice.

I snipped the rest of your post, because it is all about lights, which ones to use, etc.; and that is not the problem!

Nobody explicitly stated it, but look at all the replies and examples so far, and what they discuss is not how to light a reflective object, but what to have in the reflections! The lights are just sort of something else you have to do...

If you surround the object with white, all the reflections will be white, you'll have a very high key but also very flat image. Surround it with darkness, and you'll have a very low key but flat image. The trick is how to combine the two in ways that provide depth to the object. Usually that means a mix of dark and bright reflections that cannot be recognized, but one example showed pretty good use of a recognizable environment!

Here are some tutorials that are extremely well done. (While I'm listing the ones that apply to the topic of this thread, the entire series is really good and well worth watching from beginning to end.)

This one is on photographing shiny objects:
http://www.youtube.com/user/prophotolife?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/16/KoY-cyxDMEk

This one puts a lot of different techniques together, to photograph a coffee maker (that is very much the equivalent of a silver trophy):
http://www.youtube.com/user/prophotolife?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/14/OxDG3WDT7Kw

This shows another set of techniques and a novel way of approaching how to photograph a wrist watch:
http://www.youtube.com/user/prophotolife?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/10/Heoy4DX4fYE

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