Reflective surfaces in product photography 1

Reflective surfaces in product photography

In any product photography it is important to give the viewer a clear sense of depth. The products need to appear in 3D – a box for example shot be photographed in a way that three sides are visible. This can be a challenging when I need to photograph something very flat like a card or any sort of printed matter. Using a reflective surface can help to add the third dimension; now the product is standing on something flat. This technique makes the product photo look less like a plain photocopy.

I was commissioned last week to photograph various printed products among which were the new commemorative stamps for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. As you can see on the photos in this blog post I have placed most of the products unto a reflective white surface in front of a perfect white background. It is quite challenging to get the symmetry just right: the camera has to point in a straight angle at the product while the end of the reflective surface needs to be a perfect straight horizon. I literally had to move or turn the items millimetre by millimetre.

Let me explain what a ‘pure white’ background means in terms of photography. Photography is digital nowadays and in the digital domain there is indeed perfect black and perfect white. Perfect white means that if this data was send to a printer loaded with white paper the printer would simply not print a single pixel. Similarly perfect black means the very darkest colour a printer can produce. Perfect white means to ‘blow out’ the whites in the camera, it’s a controlled form of overexposing. Behind the reflective surface I setup a large white softbox flash, which was calibrated in a way to just ‘kill’ all the whites in the background without impacting the exposure of the subject in front of it.

I more and more use this technique for business headshots. It ensures a modern, clean and clutter-free look and looks great on LinkedIn profiles and printed articles. Please have a look here.

In any product photography it is important to give the viewer a clear sense of depth. The products need to appear in 3D – a box for example shot be photographed in a way that three sides are visible. This can be a challenging when I need to photograph something very flat like a card or any sort of printed matter. Using a reflective surface can help to add the third dimension; now the product is standing on something flat. This technique makes the product photo look less like a plain photocopy.

I was commissioned last week to photograph various printed products among which were the new commemorative stamps for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. As you can see on the photos in this blog post I have placed most of the products unto a reflective white surface in front of a perfect white background. It is quite challenging to get the symmetry just right: the camera has to point in a straight angle at the product while the end of the reflective surface needs to be a perfect straight horizon. I literally had to move or turn the items millimetre by millimetre.

Let me explain what a ‘pure white’ background means in terms of photography. Photography is digital nowadays and in the digital domain there is indeed perfect black and perfect white. Perfect white means that if this data was send to a printer loaded with white paper the printer would simply not print a single pixel. Similarly perfect black means the very darkest colour a printer can produce. Perfect white means to ‘blow out’ the whites in the camera, it’s a controlled form of overexposing. Behind the reflective surface I setup a large white softbox flash, which was calibrated in a way to just ‘kill’ all the whites in the background without impacting the exposure of the subject in front of it.

I more and more use this technique for business headshots. It ensures a modern, clean and clutter-free look and looks great on LinkedIn profiles and printed articles. Please have a look here.

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