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3D Reflective Surfaces



    Photographing Reflective 3D Art

    _3dreflect_intro

    Key Points to remember

    • Watch video: "Basic Camera Settings, focus tips, and how to avoid camera shake."
    • Basic principles in this video can also be adapted for natural light. You can easily place your art next to a window to use as a soft natural light source or place the work outside in open shade. Avoid direct sun and use a tripod.

    Tips for Backgrounds

    • For a white background use a large sheet of paper instead of fabric to avoid wrinkles.
    • For a black background, hang a large piece of black fabric with a matte surface behind your art. The fabric will appear darker than black paper.
    • You can shoot your work in the corner of a room. If the piece is small enough, you can place it on a small table top next to a wall.
    • Show 100% of your work. Don't crop out anything. Leave a small amount of space surrounding your piece.
    • Match the camera format to your art. Shoot vertically for tall pieces or shoot horizontally for wide pieces.
    • Make sure the camera is not tilted and is completely level. The camera should be aligned with the center of your art. This will help to avoid distortion.
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    • For a detail shot, move closer and/or zoom-in with your camera. If you need a very close detail, try the camera's macro function (flower icon and refer to the owner's manual).


    _3dreflect_diffusion

    Introduction

    This tutorial explores lighting techniques for photographing three dimensional artwork with a reflective surface: glass, plastic, metal, glazed ceramic, resin, painted resin, cellophane, etc...

    For a shadow less set up, build your own diffusion tent. This is great for any highly reflective surface or pieces lots of specular highlights.



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    Build a Diffusion Tent:

    To build your diffusion tent:

    1. Get a cardboard box that is longer than it is tall. You can use the front flaps to extend the box.

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    2. Paint the inside white with any kind of matte white paint such as tempura or poster paint. Cut large holes on the right and left side as well as the top.

    diffusionbox0002

    3. Tape a sweep of paper to the back of the box to form a graceful background.

    diffusionbox0003


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    Add Diffusion Material

    Drape translucent diffusion material over the entire box to create a diffusion tent. This creates a shadow less environment. Can be lit from above.



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    White on White

    Photographing a white object on a white background is challenging. You can highlight the edges by using a thin black card to block a bit of the light bouncing off the edges. Place the card between the artwork and the light to darken the edges and help them to show more clearly.


    Bracketed Shots

    Bronze sculpture, correctly lit using a diffusion tent...

    Overexposed

    Overexposed

    Correct Exposure

    Correct Exposure

    Underexposed

    Underexposed


    Glass bottle, correctly lit using a diffusion tent...

    Overexposed

    Overexposed

    Correct Exposure

    Correct Exposure

    Underexposed

    Underexposed


    Glass bottle, poorly lit with direct lights...

    Overexposed

    Overexposed

    Correct Exposure

    Correct Exposure

    Underexposed

    Underexposed


    White bottle, correctly lit using a diffusion tent...

    Overexposed

    Overexposed

    Correct Exposure

    Correct Exposure

    Underexposed

    Underexposed