Everyone knows how tricky it can be to shoot a reflective object, especially if the object is spherical shaped or cylindrical, like a kettle. Recently we had a photo session for some new Walmart kitchenware, and I want to share some tip’s & trick’s I used to get it done.
First, the kettle:
It was a mirror-like chrome kettle, which reflects everything around it. I tried a shooting box but it wasn’t working for me (I don’t like it anyway , as I did not have enough flexibility with the lights, plus the camera was placed about 8 feet away (can’t use a wide angle, need to keep proportions ). Dulling spray was not helping much either, as it was hiding the real kettle surface, so I’ve decide not to use it at all.
I built a huge white box around the shooting table. Each side was a 6 foot wide white paper hung on a backdrop support. I also placed large softboxes on both sides. The small opening for the lens was cut into the front. You can see the reflection from the lens as two vertical lines in the front of the kettle. We didn’t remove them in Photoshop so we could show how even small things like a camera lens can be a problem when you shoot a highly reflective subject. I had to shoot it strait on because it was required by the client.
Lighting Schema :
Moving in the opposite direction, below you can see another kettle with a matte metal surface. It was an easy setup compared to the first one.
One of the products we shoot was a waffle maker. When I attempted to use the same long focus lens (Canon 180mm f3.5 L) for this shot, it looked… nice, but something just wasn’t right with it.
When I tried to compose the photo with a wider lens ( Canon 24-70 mm F2.8L), the result was more satisfying. I know, some may like the first shot better, but the client agreed with me on the wider angle, and this one was selected.
The main idea of this post is to show some of the specifics of a product shot and the way to provide better results for your client while meeting the required specifications. For example, the first kettle reflection issues might be easily fixed by shooting the kettle from above, eliminating reflections form the lens on the object. But because the shot angle was dictated by the client, this was not an option.