Exercise: Shiny surfaces

In this exercise I will be experimenting with the lighting of a shiny object; one which will reflect light directly or produce glare. shiny objects are regarded as one of the most difficult subjects to light as they may not only produce a specular reflection of the light, but may also show the camera and possibly the photographer too. It is common for people to purposely use mirrors to take selfies, but if for example we wanted to take a picture of a mirror, for a product catalogue, then clearly we wouldn't want the photographer and their equipment showing too.

The subject is a stainless steel tea pot lid which I had placed on the floor on top of a sheet of black card. You can see, in the image above, that my reflection along with most other things in the room are seen quite clearly in the lid. This isn't ideal.

 

This second image was taken of the same scene but with a cone of tracing paper wrapped around the lens and extending down to the floor. The lid is now shielded all around by the paper - only the lens (which can be seen as the black circle below the handle of the lid) can be seen. That said, in this image, which was a long exposure under natural light, it is also possible to see the shadow of the legs of the tripod. 

This image was the first one taken with the flash, positioned just above the camera. A noticeable problem is that the spot of the flash is clearly visible in the reflection, as it was held quite close to the paper cone. It is also noticeable that the tracing paper cone reflected in the steel lid makes the lid look less reflective then it actually is. This image does look 'shinier' than the previous one though.

This image was the first one taken with the flash, positioned just above the camera. A noticeable problem is that the spot of the flash is clearly visible in the reflection, as it was held quite close to the paper cone. It is also noticeable that the tracing paper cone reflected in the steel lid makes the lid look less reflective then it actually is. This image does look 'shinier' than the previous one though.

Part of the problem with trying to get a good representation of the the metal lid is that it wasn't actually all that shiny! I did try and polish it up but it was quite tarnished and the blemishes can be seen in the metal. I should perhaps have used something a little more reflective.

This time the flash was moved over to the top right of the image.

And just for a bit of fun ...this image has been heavily edited in Lightroom to give an idea of what I was trying to achieve with the set up!