Home » Blog » Handling Reflections and Shiny Objects

Handling Reflections and Shiny Objects

Bright shiny things can quickly catch the eye of a viewer, but they will also reflect everything in your studio. Filtered light can help, but reflected light will isolate the shiny item. In short, you will show the shine but not reflect the environment of the item.

 1) Use a Tripod

 Get the camera stable and free up your hands with a quality tripod. Create a zone around your tripod to protect your camera, studio, and self from tripping hazards. A simple tool to protect your tripod is to loop around it with a section of garden hose. You will step on it before you trip over it, but you won’t damage it.

 2) Use V-Flats to Surround the Item

 A simple tool to reflect light is a V-flat. You can build V-Flats with large sheets of white foam core, folded or hinged in the middle with white gaffer’s tape. Gaffer’s tape is durable, non-reflective, and easy to cut. Avoid using white duct tape; the sheen will create reflection on your object. Your V-flat will create a box of white reflected light around the shiny item and stand on its own. When you’re done with the photo, fold up the flat for the next photo.

 3) Focus on Indirect Light

 Instead of spotlighting the item, create a field of indirect light. This may mean that you have to add a “roof” of additional foam core to the top of your V-flats. At this time, make sure you also cover any reflections from the clamps used to hold the item in place with more white gaffer’s tape.

 4) Isolate the Item

 Shiny items will reflect everything around them. If you have a remote on your camera, you may need to move around the item to create a completely sealed box and remove any dark gaps around the object you’re photographing. Clamps can also be useful in clipping additional foam core around the item so the only things inside the box are the camera and the item. 

 Look for white grip clips at craft stores and discount shops. If you have regular grip clips. cover them in white gaffer’s tape to cut down on reflections.

 A reflective item that has a visible gloss but no reflected items showing up will take some time to line up. However, once you have invested in your V-flats, your camera remote, and your tripod, the next reflective item will be much simpler to photograph.