Shooting Glass and Metal is a Humbling Experience


Shooting glass and metal is challenging and was certainly a humbling experience. I need to remember that if ever I come off a shoot thinking I am a hot shot photographer (doesn’t happen that often, if at all), I’ll have to remember to go out and try to capture glass and metal.

I was asked by a client to create some images of his shower door products. Sounds easy enough at first but I knew better. I knew very well before going in that I’d have to manage all sorts of reflection and glare. I also knew that the image had to be good enough for printed brochures and web pages.

Before the day of the shoot I visited the show room to plan out how I was going to shoot this challenging subject. The product was very inconveniently situated next to a long window that was the source of lots of outside light. That is a huge source of reflections plus it meant, unless I was going to put a light outside, I wasn’t going to putting a light on the left side of the product.

I decided that I’d shoot at night so that I would have to worry managing the big light in the sky. The big glass window was still a problem at night though because it reflects everything in the room back on to my subject.  You can see from the shot below, where I have draped a big black cloth along the length of the window. This was a bit of an exercise as I was there by myself without an assistant. It was also a lot of trial and error because I discovered that I needed to cover the wall above the window because the wall was reflecting to the shower doors.

Long story short, it took me 3 hours to set everything up the way I wanted. It took me about 10 minutes to shoot once everything was set up. I set my camera up on a tripod and via remote. This freed me up to change this on the set as I wanted. You can even see part of me in the frame below. I took a series of shots with the door in various positions. I also removed my flash at which you can see sitting on top of a couple of 2 by 4’s. This gave me lots of variation.

Why so many shots? My retouching staff are going to have a much easier time getting rid of any unwanted glare or reflections if they can see behind the glass. They can pick and choose the best elements from all of my frames. Stay tuned to see how the final images turn out!


This shot with the door open showing the wall behind will help in removing the reflection in the shot below.




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