There are lot of occasions we will be shooting through transparent glasses. Especially scenes from inside a car or airplane, aquariums, merchandise on display, exhibits in a museum, artifacts and lot more. If we are not careful, we may end up with disastrous pictures.
Inside a display case
The following few tips can help you to get the shoots right when you shoot through the glass,
- Use manual focus to get the subject behind the glass sharp. Some autofocus cameras may not get your subject sharp when it is behind the glass.
- Clean the surface of the glass if possible to get the subject clear. Dirt is a major enemy for shots through the glass.
Inside a flight
- Shoot from near the glass to make the dirt/scratches go out of focus. This also could take the reflections outside the frame
- Use Polarising filter to remove unwanted reflections of the surrounding on the glass. Rotate the glass element of the filter till you see the reflection going off.
Shot from a Giant wheel cubicle
- Do not use direct on camera flashes while shooting parallel to the glass surface. Stay little diagonal to use a bounce flash light from the ceiling or walls.
- Avoid back light as it unnecessarily reveals all the dirt/scratch on the glass
Shot from inside a car
- Check for proper exposure as there may be drastic difference in brightness in the scene. Play with exposure bracketing to settle for something you want.
- You could try HDR imaging technic for high contrast subjects
Shot from a moving car
- Use the best of white balance control to shoot subjects inside glass cases lit with different kinds of display lights.
- Include the frame or the edge of the glass using wide angle lenses to establish the glass if you want to show that you are shooting through it.
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Back lighting is something which gives us the feel of mood and glow in the photos. In particular, the back light with a feel of rim at the edge of the subject truly brings the third dimension of the subject. The translucent subjects reveal fantastic texture details in the backlight scenes. Landscapes looks refreshing with a good backlight
The following tips may help you to shoot nice backlight shots.
- Choose to shoot in early mornings and late evenings for an effective back light.
- Use mist, smoke, stream, dust and extra humidity for an effective visual of backlight.
- Position the Sun at an oblique angle and let the light pass through the scene towards the camera.
- Use good lens hood or light cutters to avoid unwanted glare or flare in the shots. An added glare or flare sometime gives an extra punch to the photo.
- Take exposure for the shadows and underexpose for about a stop or more for a better details of highlights.
- Use gentle fill in flash for people shots to get the details of the shadow areas.
- Be careful about Auto focus. Most of the entry level DSLR cameras may not be able to autofocus the scene that easily. If you are comfortable and the subject is fairly not moving fast, then you can try manual focus.
- A shift in the white balance towards amber will be good for day light shots.
- A landscape shot with the feel of shafts of light using back light will be looking fresh and energetic.
- Add an extra contrast in the picture style setting or while working in the digital darkroom.
- The punch of steam or smoke will be appetizing while using a gentle back light.
- Use a gentle rim or back light for all the portraits and people shots to enhance the texture of hair and skin textures.
- A bright back light where the exposure is settled for highlights, results in a beautiful silhouette.
- A back light shot of a food setup and transparent products are definitely appetizing.
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A photograph looks different when it is shot from an unusual point of view. An unusual point of view is a view that many photographers would not have tried. May be it is something very contemporary or unconventional. A conventional photograph is one that is normally shot from a comfortable zone. When we try to jump out of a common path the photo automatically becomes different. The unusual point of view creates an extra attention to the photo.
The following tips may help you to shoot something unusual.
- Come out of the tourist instinct and avoid seeing things from a gallery point of view or a tourist guide’s point of view.
- Go around the subject if possible or visualize the other sides of the subject.
- Step out of the common path…and refrain from shooting along with most other persons with a camera.
- Avoid eyelevel point of view as far as possible. Look at the subject little from a low level or climb up little elevations.
- Include some interesting foreground… a suitable or meaningful foreground will make the point of view truly unusual.
- Shoot through arches, doorways, holes, fences, jolly etc. to make it interesting.
- Look for interesting reflections in the foreground or background.
- Shoot people from others point of view – an over the shoulder shot will be exciting and unusual.
- Overlap the subject meaningfully on to a suitable background to make the subject unusual.
- Use extra wide-angle lenses for unusual perspective distortions and visual effects.
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Highly reflective products will reflect almost everything in the studio. Jewels, watches, industrial products, automobiles are some of the reflective products which need a very special treatment. The reflections are something that need not be removed completely but handled in such a way it looks natural and does not distract the sheen, shape, colour and contours. There is a great challenge in getting them right in our shots.
- As a ground rule, we can try using a soft, indirect lighting so that the reflections are looking natural and reveals the contours and texture perfectly.
- Use of a commercially available light tent can be a good choice for shooting large numbers of small products for catalogues and on line sales. For artistic shots, the light tent must be avoided because the light tent makes the whole product look flat without the feel of 3D.
- The lights should not be aimed directly at the subject, but bounced from a matt white reflecting surface or diffused through gateway translucent sheets or white acrylic boards. The reflected/diffused light from these gadgets will prevent hot spots or specular high lights on the subject.
- Black cards may be used on the sides of the product to define the shape with clear dark outlines.
- Use of black cards will add the feel of darkness in certain areas of the subject to make it look more three dimensional. We need to experiment with lighting, reflectors, black cards and the composition.
- A white background will make the job relatively easier to show the details of the reflective surface of the subject.
- A dark/textured background can give a dramatic feel of the product with a variable light on it.
- The product needs to be cleaned thoroughly without visible scratches & spots otherwise it will show off the dirt and scratches most perfectly. The finger prints are apparently seen (better use a soft cotton hand gloves while handling the product) when the surface is not clean.
- A continuous light is sometimes preferred to the studio flashes. This is because the light fall from highlights to shadows is gradual. We can even use the tungsten light (modelling lamp) of the studio flash.
- A tungsten white balance or 2500 Kelvin will be suitable. Let the camera be on a steady tripod and use mirror up and remote shooting options while trying long exposures.
- More than everything the arrangement of the product in front of the camera and an aesthetic composition is very important to get the shots attractive.
- In the process of getting rid of the reflections, the charm of shine and glitter of the highly reflective products should not be sacrificed. Remember these products stand and sell for its reflective nature!
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