As a product photographer for more than a decade now, I have enjoyed the challenges Reflective Products offer during the photo sessions. Here I have tried my best to allow creative photographers to better understand the various challenges and the ways to resolve those in order to get an effective photograph.
I have used examples of various products to make it easier to understand.
Stainless Steel Product is is the most difficult to photograph item. Stainless steel products require a great Balance between the soft light strobes and an open ended channel set up. This allows for a combination of soft light and direct hit daylight on the tile surfaces. The high resolution photos of these tiles need to showcase the grain of the steel. This calls for a gradient effect which can be achieved perfectly by the above combination. If you use a closed light box, the effect will be more of a Satin look than the stainless steel bright look.
Chrome Faucets– A photography challenge where reflections and glares actually help in getting the perfect look for the products. Never shoot such products in an enclosed space. Shooting them using strobe light boxes on 3 sides allowing the remaining reflections to be showcased, gives it the chrome look. Make sure the reflections are just along the length of the faucets. Makes the product photo impressive.
Compare them with the Satin Paper Dispensers. The difference is Obvious and impressive!!
Hammered Copper Mules– The hammered copper needs to be showcased as you see it holding in your hand. Shooting in a perfectly pristine environment is not a good solution. The hammered look can disappear if not enough light and reflections play the nice game. Make sure you photograph it in an optimum environment of Strobe tent lights and copper reflectors.
Stainless steel Salt and Pepper Shaker– Such shots need a balance between the Light Tent and the Strobe lights optimally placed at certain points. If shot in a light tent, the stainless steel loses the texture. It gives it a Satin Finish instead of the Stainless Steel feel.
You don’t want to see my face or the camera in your jewelry… correct? Yes this is where the challenge begins. Sterling silver, White Gold jewelry tends to be the most challenging. There is no color and hence no contrast to depend on. Here come in Lights, reflectors and the whole nine yards. Getting the correct angle with the least reflection or glare in it is a good starting point. Make sure there is diffused lights. Use the best camera setting – I prefer Manual. Have your White Balance ready and then Shoot!
TIP- Try using the Stamp/ Smudge tool gently over the surface of the jewelry and in the direction of the grain of the metal. See the picture dissolve into a shimmering slumber.