Lighting Glass: Overcoming the Obstacles

If you want to take photos of glass objects, then you will need to learn all about lighting glass correctly. Photography is a great hobby to have and is also something that you can make some money from. Anyone who is interested in photography will never stop learning. There will always be new skills to master and get to grips with.

By learning how to light glass properly, you improve your chances of taking high quality photos of these objects. Mastering these skills will make it possible to overcome many of the challenges. Of course, it is something that you will need to practice to master.

Step 1: Understanding the Problems

Taking photos of glass objects might seem pretty straight forward. However, there are some unique obstacles when photographing glass. You will need to realize that reflections can be a major problem and damage your photographs.

While you don't really need to light the glass object, it can help to minimize the problems caused by reflections. This isn't actually as complicated as you might imagine; a few simple tips can point you in the right direction.

Step 2: Reflections

If the glass object is not lit evenly, there will be reflections from the camera and other objects in the room. In order to minimize the reflections and make the glass look better, you should light it.

Start by getting rid of additional sources of light. Close the curtains and switch off the main lights in the room. By using only specialist lighting, you can control the reflections and make the glass object look ideal. A single light source won't normally work because this will create reflections and refracted.

To master reflections realize that you are never going to get rid of all of them. You need to try to replace the reflections that you don't like with the reflections you do like.

Step 3: Lighting from Underneath

It's also possible to light the glass object from the bottom. This can create some interesting and dramatic results. As all glass objects are unique, you need to do some experimentation to get the right lighting. Sometimes, if you over-light the bottom, it can create some strange effects because of refractions within the internal structure of the glass.

To light from the bottom, you can create your own stage. A glass table is an ideal surface for this, although you can also create your own by suspending a piece of glass or Perspex and positioning a light under it.

Now, cover the piece of glass or Perspex with a piece of paper the same color as your background. Put the glass object in position and draw around the base. Using a sharp craft knife, cut around the line that you have drawn. Aim the light upwards through the glass. With the glass object put over the hole, the light should create a unique effect.

Step 4: Experimenting

When lighting glass, realize that you will need to have plenty of patience. The problem is that every single glass object is different. Even seasoned professionals will sometimes struggle to minimize shadows and reflections in glass photographs.