Lighting Highly Reflective Objects

In 1986 Gems and Minerals published an article I'd written on photographing jewelry. The intended audience was jewelers with little or no background in photography. Much of the article was devoted to cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, and film types. The core of the article, however, was concerned with controlling the reflections that occur with any highly polished object. The techniques I discussed were summed up in the sequence of photographs and drawings which appear here. (modified somewhat since first published)



Subject is lit by a single light placed at about 45 degrees to the subject.

Subject is lit by two lights placed at about 45 degrees to the subject. The lights are equidistant to the subject.

Subject is lit by two lights placed at about 45 degrees to the subject. One light has been moved closer to the subject

Subject is lit by a single light placed to the side of the subject. A piece of white cardboard provides reflected light on the other side.

Here the subject has been placed an a piece of transluscent glass and lit from behind. Light to the front of the subject is provided by a cone of white paper.

Here the subject has been placed an a dark card in the center of the transluscent glass and lit from behind. Light to the front of the subject is provided by a cone of white paper.

The subject is inside a cone of tracing paper which is lit from the outside by a single light.

Two sheet of tracing paper have been placed on opposite sides of the subject. Each is lit from behind.
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Dale Austin mrwizard@umich.edu

All images and text copyright 1999 Dale Austin-All Rights Reserved
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