I was chatting to my son about light and some of the challenges you have when trying to take photos of glass. So, to illustrate the point, we grabbed a few glasses from upstairs – nothing fancy as there was a high chance things would get broken – and headed down into the basement! The glasses were placed on my light table which has a glossy white plastic surface. We tried a few different configurations, just to illustrate how we could change the appearance of the image by where we placed the light source.
This is the first shot. Taken with available light from the window to camera left. You can see a range of reflections on the glasses – I really must tidy up in the basement! Anyway, besides seeing all the clutter in the reflections you’ll notice the glasses seem to blend into the background. Instead of looking at the shape of the glasses you’re probably looking to see just what the clutter is in my basement!
Same setup as before, except this time I placed a speedlight under the light table. This gives quite a different effect. No longer are the reflections of the basement clutter so obvious and you get a much better idea of the shape of the glasses. One thing I’ve learnt is that when you play with glasses have a clean cloth handy so you can remove your greasy finger prints!
Next we decided instead of having the background predominantly white with the form of the glasses being black to swap things round. Now we tried a black background and had the glasses being white – or another colour! This time a gobo was placed behind the glasses and two white reflectors placed on the left and right of the glasses. The white light table was replaced with foamcore with some glass under the glasses to give some reflections. We also placed some gels in front of the flash to get some different colours.
We used the gel filters from the studio lights; yellow red and blue. The first shot used the yellow gel, but then using both yellow and blue gave us green as you see in this image.
Remember that I mentioned I had two white reflectors on each side of the glasses? Well, for the last shot we used two speedlights on low power fired through red and blue gels at these reflectors as well as a third speedlight behind the gobo as in the two previous shots.
So there you go, a bit of fun with a speedlight or two in the basement. Good fun and I think my son learnt a little as well as had some fun with the filters, reflectors and speedlights.