Exercise; Shiny surfaces

This exercise considers how objects with shiny surfaces can be photographed.

Firstly I chose to photograph a glass paperweight – I had tried photographing paperweights before in my first assignment (Contrasts) so I knew how difficult it could be.



This first photo shows the paperweight lit by available window-light from the left. The reflection of the window is very clear in the glass.

Following the instructions in the exercise I cut a piece of greaseproof paper to form a funnel which surrounded the paperweight at its wide end and reached the camera lens at its narrow end (this was fiendishly difficult as nothing sticks to greaseproof paper!).


A can be seen the reflection of the window has reduced significantly, as has the shadow of the paperweight.

I then experimented with the cone of greaseproof paper and artificial light which I could move into different positions.


The position of the light can be seen from the shadows produced. In each of the photos the light source itself can’t be seen but there is a bright reflection on the top of the paperweight which comes from the light and also a band of light reflection on the left of the subject. These remain in similar positions, despite the light source being moved higher and lower in each photo.

What have I learned from this exercise? I had problems when I took the photo of the paperweight before at the very beginning of the course. This exercise, particularly seeing the two photos lit by window-light has brought home the difficulty of lighting an object such an this. It has helped me to see how I can try to deal with such difficult subjects in the future.

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