Exercise – Shiny surfaces

The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate how to control light bouncing off of shiny surfaces.

There are three different types of reflection; diffuse, direct and glare. The type that I will be working with in this exercise is direct. The exercise wording explained that I needed to find a flat, shiny (so that I can see my face in it) object which can be photographed from above.

I chose to photograph a pair of silver/chrome aviator sunglasses with black carpet for the background. I set up the shoot with my camera on a tripod directly above the subject and a light source (lamp) close to it. As the exercise wording explained and as I could see, the image looked very unsatisfactory. See the image below.


I looked at the above image thoroughly, before taking any other shots. I wanted to really study what was ‘wrong’ with this photograph.

The fact that my reflection can be seen in the subject isn’t all that pleasing. Also, the background seems very washed out, I have jet black carpet in the room which I took the image, the light and subject here, have made it look a brown colour. Overall, not a great photo.

I then noted what I thought could be done to improve the image. The exercise wording explained that if i used a large piece of tracing paper and shaped it like a cone, placing it around the subject following up to cover the lens, this would dramatically improve the image. I also experimented with placing the light source in different places to see if this would improve the shot. See my results below.

IMG_4113 IMG_4114 IMG_4115 These three images are far better than the first. All I have done here is move the light source to different places to try and reduce the reflection. I feel these are much better than the first but overall still not a pleasing photograph.

IMG_4120 Here, I have used a cone which I made from tissue paper as the exercise wording advised. Again, there is an improvement from the last set of images but this still isn’t the end result I was hoping for. I think I found this exercise so challenging as my subject was curved, chrome and silver, adding to the difficulty of trying to have no reflection at all.

For future tasks, I will experiment with the light position, camera position and wether or not I think a diffuser (of some sort) is necessary.


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