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Photigy School Of Photography Forums Premium Courses Support Tabletop Photography for Beginners Lecture three: Clear glass on white and black background

Lecture three: Clear glass on white and black background

This topic contains 29 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Bernd Markgraf 6 years, 7 months ago.

Photigy School Of Photography Forums Premium Courses Support Tabletop Photography for Beginners Lecture three: Clear glass on white and black background

This topic contains 29 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Bernd Markgraf 6 years, 7 months ago.

  • #38803
    Alex Koloskov

    Please submit your assignments here. deadline is Friday, 16th of November.

    The Lighting magician

  • #38851
    Laurence Bichon

    Hi Alex

    I do not know if the topic is reserved for the students of your online course, or if one

    can submit the work one did after having followed your lecture.

    So here is my work, I hope I have not misunderstood the scope of the topic :-) .


    I made 3 pictures with the lighting setup I add also at the end. One big issue has been to

    get a white background in postproduction.

    Thanks for your help!


  • #38852
    Laurence Bichon

    Here is the lighting setup for the glas, ice cubes and blue ballsFrontView-1.jpgSideView.jpgRearView-1.jpg

  • #38864
    David Collins

    Hi Alex

    Here are my attempts for the 3rd lecture of clear glass on black and white backgrounds,I hope they are what is required I must say I found the task quite challenging

    The images are not retouched except for straightening and adding clarity slider so scratches are visible and glass imperfections are visible



















    This homemade softbox was held above the glasses to provide the rim-light as i only have 2 strobes on stands











    Thanks Alex for yet another fantastic lesson




    Dave Collins  (MBZUK 95)

  • #38892
    Vitaly Kardashov

    Ну вот, похоже, успел!

    Основной трудностью для меня оказалось управлять бликами от внутренней поверхности сосудов, а не от внешней, как предполагал. Кроме того, думал, что на тёмном фоне снимать проще, чем на белом – в реальности вышло наоборот.

    Чёрный контур на белом фоне – поскольку setup  для обоих предметов был неизменный, я его снял один раз:





    Белый контур на чёрном фоне – поскольку блики на бутылке получались отвратительными, то после трёх часов мучений я прекратил попытки и переключился на стакан. Две чёрные конторские коробки на предметном столе устраняют паразитное освещение от боковых стрипов, выполняя роль бленды:




    Творческое применение приобретённых знаний. Тут блики внутри бутылки меня приятно удивили, дав возможность создать некое подобие шахматного поля путём выверенного размещения и наклона центрального стрипа. Стрип справа добавлен для создания контурной полоски на правой кромке бутылки, а коробки на столе и лист чёрного пенокартона на них выполняют роль бленды.




    Зеркальный вариант, в котором использован только центральный стрип:


    Снимки не прошли никакой обработки кроме уменьшения размеров и компенсационного повышения резкости.

    В процессе выполнения этого задания не осталось никаких неясностей – всё выяснилось по ходу дела.  Алекс, я благодарен Вам за очень наглядную демонстрацию всех необходимых действий – так толково получилось, что даже не почуствовал необходимости в переводе.

    Всего хорошего, Виталий.

  • #38917
    Cris Anzai

    This assignment nearly killed me… glass is very difficult :-(

    I bought cheap glass from Goodwill, probably was not a good choice, because the glass had lots of imperfections and scratches. Next time I’ll try the dollar store. 


    On Black




    Set up for on black



    on White? Couldn’t get it super white. I think power levels were not correct on my strobes. 






    On white setup




    Creative (same as on white set up)


  • #38925
    Bernd Markgraf

    Shooting glass is indeed pretty challenging – especially on the black background. Amazing what amount of scratches and imperfection can be seen in the pictures. First the shots on black.



    And the setup:



    I covered the sides and top with black cloth to keep out unwanted reflections. For the setup shot only the left softbox fired. The white strip on the top edge is a styrofoam reflector. As I lack a third softbox I fired a speedlight from below onto the reflector.






    For the setup I went for your tip with the printed gradients. Again for the actual shots the top was covered with black cloth/cardboard as well. To get the background sufficiently white I had to put a second flash behind the umbrella and diffusor. Without the second diffusion the light on the background was too uneven.



    As I was waiting for some creative enlightenment


    I had some tea. Obviously I’s not the brightest idea to shoot steaming hot tea as it fogs up the glass. lesson learned :-)


    On that note as you see in the setup shots I tried to shoot red wine in the glass. That turned out almost black against the white background. Either I used the wrong wine (it was tasty though ;-) ) or wine in general is not optimal when trying shots like this?

    What’s the preferred liquid to use, when trying to get nicely saturated colours in backlit liquids?

  • #38927

    I had a horrible, awful time with this assignment!  I thought about giving up and not turning anything in, but I guess this is the way to learn.


    I had to flag the black background, because I use continuous lights and there’s a lot of light spill with my long shutter speed (anywhere from 1-3 seconds).  This prevented me from being able to put a low light behind the glass for a light on the rim.  I tried holding a third light above the glass – a little in front, directly overhead, and behind, but it filled the bowl of the glass.  I know it’s not a good shot at all – but any insights would be appreciated!  I may have to break down and buy real lights and softboxes.


    With the white, I used one light behind a large diffuser panel – it still made one hot spot, so I diffused it further by adding an umbrella.  Even so, it was a fairly small spot of light and I found I needed to position it higher and aim down a bit to get enough light without the hot spot.  This, though, made the bottom of the glass too bright.  I also can’t seem to make my background white without blowing it out, and the gray tones aren’t at all even.  Any tips on smoothing out a background in photoshop?





  • #38928
    Peter van Veen

    Due to lack of time (my fault) I found this task a difficult one. I’ve had the most problems with the glass on black. Here are my best pics and setups. Nothing that I’m proud of unfortunately…


    Glass on white:


    The setup:



    Glass on black:



    The setup:



    The creative shot, the glass filled with water (oh my, shame on me…):


  • #38929
    Bernd Markgraf

    Wendy, I had the same difficulties with the white setup. I had a nasty hot spot too. I pulled the umbrella further out and increased the distance between the umbrella and the diffuser as well. This lets the light spread on a larger area but “steals” some power.

    For the black shot – would it help to have the lights more straight down instead of tilted inwards? I think the rim light on the upper part reflects to somewhere well below your camera position…

  • #38930

    Hi everyone :) Nice to see your works here. They are great!!!!!!!! :) Hope all of you are doing fantastic!!!!!!!! :)

    Sorry, Alex, i haven’t got much time for shooting that’s why only one glass and only black background. Everything else is still in process (meaning i’m going to shoot and post them later). 


  • #38931
    Kimberli DiIuro

    Hi Everyone,


    Here’s my assignment…




    I really tried hard to remove the lint from the glass and bg but there is always some! Do you have any tips for this? Or is this a post production task?


    tall glass

    I started by using one softbox behind subject with black paper in middle to simulate 2 strip boxes (since I only have 2) but it wasn’t lighting the very edges of the glass, the highlight was further in. I changed to using one softbox on each side, which helped, but in all my shots the line still isn’t all the way on the edge. Is this normal? I don’t see this in your shots, so I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.


    Also, is there a way to avoid those 2 lines down the front center?




    whiskey glass

    I spent a lot of time trying to get rid of big white reflections near the top. I blocked 3/4 of each softbox with black cloth (which was actually my background) which helped but I couldn’t eliminate it.



    IMG_4615.jpg IMG_4617.jpg


    martini glass 

    I know this is bad! Can you give tips for shooting etched glass?






    I had a tough time making the background/table line seamless.





    This wine glass is my favorite shot! I think it’s because the glass itself is so simple, it’s easier to get nice lines.



    Part 3: CREATIVE

    This looked much cooler in my head! I bought the martini glass today so unfortunately I was starting from scratch to create the rim lighting on this new shape. Originally I had water (“martini”) in the glass but the reflections were awful so I emptied it and just put in the olive. 


    What I wanted was nice rim lighting as in the black bg shots and I wanted the inside of the glass to be blue (including the water) and then the pop of the green olive. How could i have done this?





    Kim DiIuro

  • #38932

    Hi Alex,

    I feel like a kid saying “a dog ate my homework” but I had a huge problem…shot both white and black and then shot a job tethered…ended up deleteing the non used files taking the glass shots along with them.
    This was late last night so I began shooting again in the evening and got the white done. Attempting the black today…

    Tried a Mac recovery software but it recovered over 80gb of trash…no idea where it is!


  • #38936

    this is my first one

    im not so happy about it 

    i will try an other glass DSC_0881.jpg

  • #38937
    Debasish Halder

    Hi Alex –

    Hello to my fellow students too.

    Sorry for the delay in submitting the assignment. Oh boy !! it was tough and if this is beginners course then I wonder what an intermediate/advance course will look like .. WOW that was some session that I had.

    More than 6-7 hours(3 days)  of photo shoot down the drain thanks to some bad decision on my part to buy glass(lot of imperfection  from Goodwill stores. I know both me and Chris Anzai did the same… unfortunately both did at the same time . The session was worth gold as when the subjects are tough then you learn the most. BTW I got a great deal at the Goodwill stores for 6 pieces of artificial ice cubes for $2.99 (I used it in the shoot too) 

    Thanks to my beautiful wife for being so cooperative and patient with me that I did another round of shoot(another 3 days). Even one of my 3 year old twin boy helped me by clicking shots for me while I adjust the lights (you certainly do need assistants..more so for the black background shots as those are very tricky). At the end of all of this it is really worth. I really learned a lot (I know its beginners class, but ..I am a beginner). If you have not tried “DCam Capture” then just give it a shot it will make your life lot simpler. It provides live view on laptop. I used it for setting up lights (it works on Nikon D7000 for sure not sure on other models) if your strobes have modelling lights.

    Thanks to Alex for guiding us through this journey and inspiring all of us and sharing his knowledge and tricks.


    Now on to my assignment . .. This time I have attached the lighting setup  for the shots (sorry my room is pretty short..kids play room is my makeshift studio) so the setup may not look that clear as it is taken from a close distance.

    The lighting setup for creative shot and for the white background is nearly the same except.. that in the Martini creative shot the background light (softbox was replaced with a bare light with 7inch reflector with a hone comb grid and blue gel. Fitted with a barn door for creating a gradient in the background. The background light was thrown at an angle from top left on to the diffuser(forgot to take this lighting setup picture). One additional speedlight was used to put light directly on the martini glass to get the texture of the lime skin… rest of the lighting setups are attached. For the shooter I also used a bounced diffused light from the front(from 2-3 feet from subject at an angle from top) . Please note that the Apollo softbox used for background lighting was primarily used as a strip box (by putting black foam board to reduce the window size to around 8-10 inches width.

    It was fun doing the shoot and certainly challenging hope to get more challenging topics in the days to come.


    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.


    Best Rgds



  • #38938
    Debasish Halder

    Hi Kim ,


    First of all let me tell you that your glass shots are very nice (others have posted nice shots of theirs too).


    To your question on the lint… thats a menace for me as I am in a carpeted room. Whenever you clean the glass or the table top the static charge will attract new items. So only use old cotton fabric to clean the surface. Keep it covered till you start the shoot. During shoot I started keeping the lens cleaning air blower in my pocket and every now and then I go and blow some air on the table , the subject, and the lens of my camera too. Post production helps the most but it is time taking and I am sure no one likes to do that but I am trying to change my thought process on that :-) …thanks to Alex. 


    For the other question about the blue water… here is my two cent (Please dont take my word for granted.. I am just sharing an idea …you need to try it out).   I think what can be done is add a 3-4 drop (using dropper) of milk and stir it so as the water becomes slightly translucent and then mix a little bit of blue food color ( dilute a drop of the food color as they are pretty concentrated) ..then add as desired. Based on degree of translucence you can either light it using background lighting or if it is nearly opaque then lighting can be done from front or side. If you add too much of milk you will loose the translucence property(it becomes semi-opaque) so better to start with a little and then add more as desired. so plan for rim light based on the angle of reflection needed for the camera position. BTW I have learnt this milk thing from  one of the post of Alex.

    In the shooter glass shot the lighting is done from front(diffused). In the Martini shot the light is from top of the glass (since milk is less in this shot this worked and I wanted some reflection from ice too). For the shooter I wanted a different feel so I put more milk(to decrease the degree of translucence)  and light was from front(used a white foam board and bounced speedlite) so as the diffused light will hit the shooter glass from front(at an angle from top).

    Just to share my experience … the timing of mixing of milk and food color i.e. the sequence timing gap w.r.t the click will give you various effects (i.e using liquids diffusion properties). I stirred the dye first and then mixed 3 drops of milk and stirred to get the translucence needed . Then just before the shot I added 2 more drops and using the diffusion gradient I got a nice effect. I also added couple of drops of fresh Ginger Ale before the click using a dropper to push it to the bottom to create bubbles at the bottom. 

    Hope this helps. If you have used any technique that you feel we all can use do please share the same too.




  • #38940
    Alex Koloskov

    Great job guys, I’ll record the review soon and we’ll set time for a discussion over a hangout.
    Thank you all!

    The Lighting magician

  • #38990
    Kimberli DiIuro

    Hi Deb,


    Thank you for your post, I’m sorry I just saw it today. I’ll try those tips next time – they are intriguing! 





  • #39012
    Alex Koloskov

    Guys, here is my review:

     Please watch and.. lets talk somewhere around Friday?


    The Lighting magician

  • #39019
    Cris Anzai

    Hey Alex,


    Thanks for the critiques!

    If possible I would prefer to hangout at 10:00pm eastern time. I’m at work at 1pm and our internet is slow. 




  • #39021
    Bernd Markgraf

    Hi Alex,


    thanks for the review. Very helpful advice…

    Friday is fine. I think I can make even the late session (that would early saturday in europe, but I can set the alarm ;-) )



  • #39027
    Debasish Halder

    Hi Alex-


    Thanks for the critique. We do really value your comments. I am have a lot of learning. I am a rookie and these inputs are really helpful.  


    10 PM eastern works best for me too. Day time during office hours is very difficult to make. 



  • #39030
    Kimberli DiIuro

    Either time is fine for me. Thanks!



  • #39035

    Hi Alex!!!!!!! Thnx for your lessons and for review. It is friday and I’d love to know what time you came up with at last. :)

  • #39057
    Alex Koloskov

    Guys, couldn’t do it Friday.. What about Sunday (12/9) 12PM Eastern time?

    The Lighting magician

  • #39066

    hi Alex, which time is final 10pm or 12pm? :)  

  • #39073
    David Collins

    Hi Alex 

    sorry I could not make the hangout it was just too early in UK but thanks for the great critique and I am looking forward to the next lesson



    Dave Collins


  • #39095

    Thanks so much for the critique!  It was very helpful – I totally get now what you’re saying about the black paper.  I had just put black foam core board in spots underneath the translucent plastic, but covering the whole thing, making holes and putting the plastic over seems like it will be so much easier (the black foam core doesn’t always want to stay in place and isn’t flexible!).  I’ll also look into making a softbox.


    Sorry I was MIA for the hangouts – this is a crazy time of year!  I was out running my kids around to their activities.





  • #39096

    Bernd Markgraf said
    Wendy, I had the same difficulties with the white setup. I had a nasty hot spot too. I pulled the umbrella further out and increased the distance between the umbrella and the diffuser as well. This lets the light spread on a larger area but “steals” some power.

    For the black shot – would it help to have the lights more straight down instead of tilted inwards? I think the rim light on the upper part reflects to somewhere well below your camera position…

    Hi, Bernd – thanks for your feedback!  You’re right – I needed the light to be more spread out – this is where I wish I had more space to work in.  I have a 100mm macro lens, so I was backed up against one wall and my setup was backed against the other!  I’m looking into clearing out our basement storage room and setting up in there to get a little more room to move.


    As far as the black background – I tried the lights higher, lower, tilted in, tilted back – the only way I got a reflection on the rim was from putting a light over the top and behind a bit, which then spilled onto the background.  When I moved the light forward and above, it filled the bowl of the glass with light.  So I think I’ll have to use Alex’s suggestion of putting black paper over all of it, and making holes where I want the light.  But even then – my shutter speed is so long that there would probably still be some light spill onto the background, which brings me back to the fact that I need more space!  Then I could have the background farther away, which might solve the problem.


    Thanks again!

  • #39126
    Bernd Markgraf

    wendy_pembroke said 
    Hi, Bernd – thanks for your feedback!  You’re right – I needed the light to be more spread out – this is where I wish I had more space to work in.  I have a 100mm macro lens, so I was backed up against one wall and my setup was backed against the other!  I’m looking into clearing out our basement storage room and setting up in there to get a little more room to move.

    Lack  of space is a known problem :-( I operate on something like 7ftx7ft. Worst thing to happen is “dancing” around the setup adjusting some setting and trying not to tip things over and then step on a Lego block… There is always one that sneaks out of the bucket and hides under my gear… ;-)

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