Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Photographing Small Shiny Objects

The last three days Lady Artisan has been learning how to photograph small shiny objects. Lady Artisan Christmas ornaments require professional quality photographs. The plan is to replace all photographs previously taken with professional quality images.

The photograph of the Star Ornament was taken against a black background. The crystal reflects its black surroundings.

It was a rude awakening. Overly optimistic Lady Artisan did not realize that taking quality photographs of small shiny objects that have a crystal accent is not at all the same as photographing bronze, or even most pewter sculpture.

The ornament taken against a white background, white balance corrected. The background looked brown in previous photographs. Although Lady Artisan preferred a white background, this ornament could become lost against a white background.

The professional light box that gives astounding results for most Lady Artisan creations did not provide quality results for this project.

A return to a black background with the addition of greenery for background interest and setting. Depth of field is set to blur out the background detail while keeping the ornament in sharp focus. The crystal again picks up black from its background, yet by using two lights to flash the crystal compensates. Elimination of the black reflections can be worked on, or left as is - that is the next question.
Here are a few highlights on the learning curve. Facts that might help you with your small shiny object photography.
  • Crystals pick up background color. Surround the object with a lovely black backdrop and the crystal will shine black.

  • White backdrops require learning to set the color balance on one's camera. Otherwise the white can come out any number of colors. Humans see white - digital cameras see what they want to see.

  • White backgrounds can be blah when the object is flat, shiny, and rather light colored.

  • Diffused lighting does not light up a crystal. Shine light directly onto the crystal. Lady Artisan found that two lights shining from different directions worked best to light up the crystal. Hold one of your lights in one hand and move it around while viewing the object through your camera. When you have the light held to light up the crystal take the picture.

  • Research backgrounds that others use online. Look for the background that works for your art.

  • Learn to use manual settings on your digital camera. If you do not have manual control over the aperture, shutter speed, and focal depth then borrow or purchase a camera that gives you these controls.

Tomorrow, after three days of research, practice, trial and error, Lady Artisan should be able to take her photographs. That is if she can decide on the best background for her ornaments.

1 comment:

  1. You perfectionist, you! Very interesting, actually. I especially like the last one.