Reflections – Part 2

As you attempt to stay out of the reflections in your photographs, it is important to wear colors that will blend with your surroundings as I mentioned about shooting the Christmas ornaments in the window of Neiman Marcus.

For instance, I wore a red shirt one day and in image review I saw a brilliant red reflection in the product! Your face may be well hidden but be careful to also hide bright colors.

While this is a negative for color in reflection, this brings up something I often say with the phrase “Think outside the box”. If a bright-colored shirt appears in reflections, why not learn the effects of using black, white and gray cards?

Gold objects will brighten when reflecting light colors like white and pick-up richer tones when reflecting black. Your purpose will dictate which color fill card should be used, so outlining colors to products will put you back into a box more than helping you out of one.

As the reflective object is exchanged with another of a different color tone, the fill card color may also change. Keep your purpose in mind and use the proper color of fill card.

Engraved surfaces have better contrast reflecting one color over another, and while I have my opinion of which color it is, another viewer may see the engraving better with another. If I see the engraving plainly in both reflected colors, I will defer to the other viewer, however this gives reason to pursue other options for better visibility for all viewers.

For creative shooting, perhaps you want bright and unusual colors! Just because colors outside the grayscale are not used in product photography does not mean it is “taboo” or even unacceptable in your form of art, thus your purpose being my qualifying phrase.

Enjoy!

Portraits – Soft light

Softening light is a process in which light is made to evenly fill the viewing area. This can be done in many ways but often the simplest methods are the best. Soft-light is not only about adding light, it also involves making sure that the natural light in your shot is not too concentrated in one place.

Basics: When lighting a surface it is important to light the surface evenly to prevent overlapping coverage. Light is a key element to showing the rise and fall of a surface. So as you can imagine, if a person’s face has areas of their face better lit than others it can give them a very strange appearance.

Softening the light can be done basically two ways by either diffusing the light or reflecting it. Diffusing the light uses a direct light on the subject with a partly transparent piece of material between it and your subject. Lighting companies sell “soft boxes” which fit over the light making it easier to soften the light than holding a diffuser in-front of it for every shot.

Reflecting the light is indirectly lighting your subject by bouncing the light coming from your light source (sun, porch light, strobe, flash, etc) directly on your subject. Indirect or reflected light will not be as “harsh” as it would be from the light source but can still be too harsh if physically placed too close to your subject. So use distance (close or far) to your advantage here as well!

Listed below are some examples of diffusers and reflectors. Have fun and use your imagination! This is the stuff of artistic shooting!

Diffuser:

  • Umbrella (Great for artistic element in a shot too!)
  • Translucent fabric (not darkening fabric)
  • Plexiglas¬†(colored Plexiglas)

Reflector:

  • Water
  • Disk (sold at any videography and photography lighting store)
  • Fill card (Light or dark-colored – darker colors absorbing more light)