Doing product photography is fairly easy. But once you start shooting reflective products like glass, it quickly gets very challenging.
You need to be very wise in terms of your light selection and how to position lights properly. The common problems photographers face when shooting shiny objects are the reflection on the product itself and capturing the outside objects like the camera onto the product. Such product images don’t sell well and result in an unprofessional brand impression.
This article will be focusing on how to avoid reflections in photography. But first, let’s see what equipment we need to get started.
Equipment for reflective product photography
Lens requirement: Not only for reflective products but for any product photography it is generally recommended not to use Wide-angle lenses. It has the tendency to add distortion to your product images. The size and dimension may look different if shot using a Wide-angle lens. Go for either a Prime lens or a Telephoto lens. These are the preferred choice for product photography.
Continuous Lighting Kits: You will be able to visualize exactly how the photo will look using a continuous light setup. These are easy to use and the learning curve is fairly simple. There are a lot of great options for continuous lights on sites like Amazon. Don’t buy lights individually, full kits are available that will come with everything you need. Continuous lights are also cheaper than other lighting setups.
Backdrops: For shooting smaller objects, using a lightbox is an excellent choice. Lightboxes will give an even consistent light throughout the product. It also acts as a base for the product to rest on.
Diffusers & Reflectors: Reflectors are perfect for reflecting or bouncing lights in a different direction. Usually comes in 3 colors, that are white, golden, and black. Diffusers are used to diffuse the lights emitted to the products to have a soft glow. Both reflectors and diffusers can be found on Amazon and are very inexpensive.
Use sufficient backlighting
Backlighting is an excellent and effective way to photograph highly-reflective objects like glasses. Backlighting will illuminate the object from behind and eliminate any unnecessary glow and give a crystal-clear appearance.
Not just any backlighting will work with this process. You will need to have a decently sized white backdrop that is larger than the product itself. The light needs to be diffused or soften using a white umbrella or similar piece of fabric. White paper sweeps can also be used to diffuse the light source.
Side lighting for non-glass products
Products like sunglasses and watches have a lot of details that might get messed up if you use the backlight as the only light source. Here having the lights placed on both sides of the product will output the desired result. Use a lightbox for this setup, or hang a paper/cloth sweep and place the product on top of it. Make sure the backdrop doesn’t have any creases, otherwise the photos will come out to look unprofessional.
Keep in mind: Use reflectors to eliminate the shadows if visible. And make sure the lights are always diffused to get a seamless soft light flow.
Camera setup for reflective product shooting
Getting the sharpest possible image should be the ultimate goal for any kind of product photography. A blurred image won’t be desired if you want to generate sales.
Make sure that the f-stop number is set to at least f/11 or more to get the sharpest image. A higher f-stop number will produce a clear image. But it also tends to let in less light to the camera lens. To compensate for that shutter speed needs to be decreased to let in more light. If you need more light then increase the ISO, but keep in mind that higher ISO tends to add digital noise to the photo. Keeping it low will be ideal.
Don’t skip on tripods
For professional product photography work, having a tripod is a must, although you can totally skip it. But it adds to the professionalism and consistency throughout the shoot. You can adjust the position of the camera to match the height of the product to get the perfect angle and perspective.
Post-Processing reflective product images
If photos are properly taken then very little needs to be done in the editing phase. But getting a perfect shot is not possible. Adjustments can always be made to improve the photos and is always recommended to do so.
Start editing by fixing the exposure and balancing the colors. Then remove the dust, scuffs, and scratches. Remove any dents present in the photos. If you intend to use these product photos to sell on any Ecommerce platforms then it is recommended to get the background replaced by pure white color. It makes the products look more professional.
If you don’t know professional editing, then seek support from a professional photo editing company like ours. We at Fix the Retouch have helped thousands of clients generate sales by professionally editing their valuable photos. Our prices are also very reasonable, if you want get a quote from us.
It can be very tricky to work with reflective products if you haven’t worked with it before. It might take a lot of trials and errors to properly understand the process, but once you get the hang of it, everything will flow naturally. When you are shooting, play with the positioning of the lights and see what works well and what doesn’t. Also, try to make your working process easy by properly organizing everything and cataloging the products that you will be photo shooting.