2017 TREVOR CARPENTER PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 45: Clear Glass without Reflections

Please read through the description and watch a couple of the videos before thinking you can’t do this! I’m taking a bit of a turn from focusing solely on proper exposure this week, but hopefully you’ll find the challenge just as informative. Don’t think that proper exposure isn’t important (it is!) but there is a little technique to learn this week as well.

Wine Glass on White by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Wine Glass on White by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

The challenge this week is to photograph clear glass objects without reflections. You do not need a fancy studio setup! You can do this with a single desk lamp and a tripod. I’ve embedded links to tutorials and videos within the descriptions below that describe the very simple technique. Once you learn the trick to photographing glass without reflections, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for all of the interesting glass in your house to see what kind of images you can create!

Bodegón Gran Formato by Álvaro Campo

Bodegón Gran Formato by Álvaro Campo

The trick to photographing glass without reflections is to light the background rather than the glass itself. You do not need to have an off-camera flash, but you will need a desk lamp or other light source that you can aim at the background. This video explains how to do the setup using every day items you probably have lying around. (If you don’t have a long piece of white card stock as described in the video, you could use a white sheet or shower curtain – just be sure to press out any creases.)

Collection of Glasses by Billy Wilson

Collection of Glasses by Billy Wilson

In fact, if you use a white sheet or other semi-translucent background, you could place the light behind the fabric, turn out all other lights and then you don’t need to use the black poster board used in the previous video because the dark studio takes their place: How to make a great still life shot with only 1 light: studio photography tips and tricks. (Also click on the photo below and read the comments. There is a good description plus photo of the setup for the image.)

Made for Red by Ram Yoga

Made for Red by Ram Yoga

Want a colored background instead of white? One solution is to add a color gel over your light and shine it onto a white background. (I found that a double layer of colored cellophane used for gift wrapping worked perfectly.)

Wine by John D.

Wine by John D.

Alternatively, you could use a setup with a colored background and shine a light on it rather than through it. Again, once you know the tricks of the trade, it’s easy: Product Photography, still life photography HACK by Karl Taylor.

The Milky Way... by Shadi Samawi

The Milky Way… by Shadi Samawi

Perhaps the trickiest setup is a black background, but none of this is rocket science. 😉 The following tutorial includes a lot of tips and tricks as well as diagrams for lighting setups: Tips for Photographing Glassware on Both Black and White Backgrounds.

2017 WEEK 15: LOW KEY by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

2017 WEEK 15: LOW KEY by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Don’t forget to look at the histogram when taking photos with a white background. Remember our high-key challenge? Left to its own devices, your camera will tend to underexpose your image (esp. with a white background), so be sure to adjust exposure compensation to capture the correct exposure in-camera.

This week’s challenge:

  • Photograph clear glass object(s) without reflections.
  • Your subject can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Creativity is encouraged!
  • You can use a DIY lighting setup or professional gear or anything in between. The goal is to put together a lighting setup from what you have available to you.
  • Pay attention to the histogram so that you can adjust exposure compensation in-camera if necessary. Please post the histogram in the comments of your submission.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back.

I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed.

My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things.

I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at:

Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/

Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com

Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa

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