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Examining shots of artwork with reflective surfaces

From: Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash

Video: Examining shots of artwork with reflective surfaces

While we were in the studio and we had our lights set up on stands, I did a nice little bonus tip. This isn't shooting a model. This is shooting artwork behind glass, because there are times when we need to do this, for insurance purposes, or maybe you want to submit something to a competition. I don't know if you've tired this. I have, before - where you put the flash on the camera, or if the camera has a built-in flash, you turn on the flash, you point it out the artwork, and this is what you get.

Examining shots of artwork with reflective surfaces

While we were in the studio and we had our lights set up on stands, I did a nice little bonus tip. This isn't shooting a model. This is shooting artwork behind glass, because there are times when we need to do this, for insurance purposes, or maybe you want to submit something to a competition. I don't know if you've tired this. I have, before - where you put the flash on the camera, or if the camera has a built-in flash, you turn on the flash, you point it out the artwork, and this is what you get.

It's just not very good. First of all, you've got this big, old reflection right here, from the flash, and then you get some kind of collateral damage here of things that are being lit up. Well, let's just zoom in on them. So, here's our flash, and then here's this other stuff that's being reflected, and then overall, it's kind of washed out, and yucky-looking, harsh shadows; just about everything that you don't want in the shot is there. So, what's the solution? Well, the solution is to take two flashes, put them at 45 degree angles, have equal output, aim them at your picture.

I actually cross them a little bit, so the flash from the side kind of aim it right here, flash from this side, aim it right here - have them both go off when you take the picture, and son of a gun, they cancel each other out, and you get a much cleaner rendering. You don't get the nasty reflection, like we have up here. You can't even tell, really, that there is glass here, right? I mean you wouldn't really know. Now, the one thing I probably would have done differently, after I examined the shot, as I always do, is I think I would have lowered the flashes a little bit.

I think I have just a little too high here, and I cast a little shadow right here, and that could be easily fixed by just lowering them a bit, and then I would have nice coverage, like I do right here. But you can tell that this picture is much different than this picture, so that two flash trick is a good one. Keep it in your bag of tricks.

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Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash

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Derrick Story
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