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Jelveh Designs - Glass Beads Torched One-by-One

Beads of Courage


 

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The Dark Room -- Photo Editing and Picture Taking. Advice, tutorials, questions on all things photoshop, photo editing, and taking pictures of beads or glass.

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  #1  
Old 2015-04-06, 6:45pm
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AVTrout AVTrout is offline
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Default How do I get rid of the reflection?

Such a constant problem for me! I'm using 2 Baldwin lights on either side with a sheet of white poster paper draped over the top and a white wall behind. I don't use my flash and I keep my camera on auto. I have a Nikon D3300. My current background is a conglomeration of papers, clothespins and an old greeting card. That's gotta change!




I don't know if it'll help me at all with the reflection, but I'm purchasing either a MyStudio PS5 (it has it's own light bar),

OR a MyStudio MS20 that also comes with it's own light bar and 2 light bouncers
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Last edited by AVTrout; 2015-04-06 at 6:48pm.
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  #2  
Old 2015-04-07, 9:46pm
Doug Baldwin Doug Baldwin is offline
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If you switch the lighting over the bead instead of at the sides, you'll move the reflection as well. You can see this effect by shutting off one of your side light boxes and picking up the other one and hold it so the diffuser is parallel with the table and pointing down at the bead. See the reflection in the top of the bead? Add some fill cards on either side and take a shot. That's the effect you'll get with the other lighting system. Working with reflections is a matter of keeping the light boxes as close together as possible, filling in all the gaps with white reflector cards AND recognizing that glass is reflective. If you entirely remove all reflections from a glass surface it then looks matte or non-glossy.

Another solution would be to create a seamless tube out of frosted mylar or matte drafting film that the bead sits in and the light boxes are on the outside of. This will create a seamless (or as close as we're going to get) lighting around the bead. Think of the bead sitting in a soup can made of frosted material and you're looking in the end of the can at the bead. Tape the mylar/film together with scotch tape to create the tube. Try that before you buy another lighting system.
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  #3  
Old 2015-04-08, 5:08pm
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Thanks for the advice, Doug. I love making beads but I loathe the photography part. I'm the knucklehead who just bought a replacement piece of white nylon for the front of one of the lights I bought from you.

My thinking has been, that since I already have the 2 lights I bought from you and because they perform so well, why buy a setup with another light? After reading your post, I came up with this, which I think will work perfectly:

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Old 2015-04-08, 6:54pm
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The thing about lighting is fighting the shiny spots.

Shiny spots are "point sources of light".

In order to fight "point sourcing", you have to spread the "point" all over with diffusers between the point source of light and the subject. This works out to lots of light from lots of sources.

I have seen home made kits that used a large translucent tub, be it a 3 gallon Tupperware canister or a Christmas wrapping storage tank upside down. A hole is cut for the camera to see the subject through in either the side or in the bottom (now the top) and lights are placed out side the tub almost a foot away.
This makes for a huge "point of light source" on the inside of the tub and floods the subject from all sides.

Please bare in mind that I study subjects like this but I don't have actual experience at having taken pictures this way.

Also let us know what you come up with that works for you because someone else is going to ask this question again.
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  #5  
Old 2015-04-09, 12:13pm
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Thanks for the input, Phill. I'm purchasing the background / backdrop above and I'll post here with some before & after pics of my photography.

Ever Hopeful,
Alexis
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Old 2015-04-12, 9:29pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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I do a lot of glass photography. If the light sources are much larger then the object then these spectral artifacts can be minimized. Careful control of angles between the camera lens and light sources is critical as well. I use soft boxes. Other use curtains. Cubes can work as well. You will have to experiment and figure out what works in your environment. How are you lighting right now?
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Old 2015-04-15, 8:08am
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Just a quick interim update while I'm waiting on my backdrop to arrive.

I set-up my Doug Baldwin lights very close to the beads for these next few photos, plus I put a piece of rigid white poster board both behind and balanced on top (across the top) of the 2 lights. It seems to be much better, although there was still a significant amount of editing I had to do in Lightroom to lighten up the pics. It's a work in progress...



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Old 2015-04-15, 11:36am
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Yes. By moving the lights closer you are increasing their size relative to the subject. These look good.
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  #9  
Old 2015-05-11, 6:42pm
Doug Baldwin Doug Baldwin is offline
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From your comment that the photos needed significant lightening in Lightroom, it sounds as if the photos were quite underexposed, leading me to think they were shot using some type of automatic exposure setting on your camera. These settings would include Full Program, Auto Exposure, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority. All these exposure methods rely on the camera making decisions on what's right for the subject. Unfortunately, cameras are not vey smart when it comes to that. Most camera's built-in light meters are designed to set an auto exposure to equal an 18% gray card. When a photo containing a predominance of white is photographed on auto exposure, the camera wants to underexpose the image to darken it down to 18% gray. Then we have to manually lighten it in the computer. Instead, let's use manual exposure, pick an arbitrary exposure of 1/30 at f8 with an ISO 100 setting. If the photo is too light, change only the shutter speed to a lower speed or fraction to let more light into the camera to lighten the photo. If the photo is too dark, raise the shutter speed to let less light into the camera. Keep making adjustments with the shutter speed settings until you get a photo in the camera that looks good. At a certain point if a photo is too underexposed, Photoshop or Lightroom is unable to correctly lighten the photo without significant degradation. Better to get a good exposure in the camera and make very small change in LR or PS.

It also appears the aperture (f-stop) setting used in your photos is to the lower end of the scale, namely f4, f5.6 or maybe f8. These yield shallower depth-of-field (DOF), meaning which parts of the image are in focus. The focus on the marble is towards the front. The shallow DOF results in the back of the marble going softly out of focus. If you want more of the marble to be in focus, move the focus slighty back from the front of the marble and increase the DOF by using a higher aperture number, such as f11, f16, or f22. Using a higher aperture or f-number results in less light coming in the camera because the aperture is getting much smaller. To offset the lower amounts of light from using higher apertures, manually change the shutter speed to a lower number to let more light into the camera.

Also, try shooting some pieces on a middle gray background. You'll get less "light wrap" reflecting around the edge of the object. That's the glow that results in shooting an object on a white background. You'll start to see the edges of the horizontal bead in the second photo show up more clearly by using a surface darker than white. Going all the way to putting the item on a black surface though won't work in most cases. There won't be any light wrap or reflection back into the piece and you'll lose much of the lower edges of items where they blend in with the black background. The only time black works is when the piece is significantly away from the background. I use this a lot with hanging pieces and edge light the piece to provide drama, bright edges and good edge separation from the background.
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  #10  
Old 2015-05-30, 3:13pm
Mike Jordan Mike Jordan is offline
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If you have your camera on a tripod, you can extend your exposure to compensate for the weak light source. This way you can stop down the aperture to at least f11. You may have to shoot for 10, 15 or even 30 seconds to get a full exposure.

If you have a histogram graph on your camera, this will tell you when your exposure is correct (at least it can get you very close). You want the graph to peak in the middle of the graph.

Something else you can try (and glass like this can really benefit from it) is to put your light tent on a sheet of clear glass or plexiglass and then shine a light up from underneath. If you mask around the beads (use cardboard or thick paper with holes cut out) so that the light only shines through the bead and not around it, it will bring out the design and color of the inside of the bead.

Another thing that would work that I've done in the past is use a flashlight (one of the big Mag Lights that takes 4 D cells or one of the new halogen type flashlights) and paint your bead with light while you are taking the picture. If the light can focus, make it the same size as the bead or create a miniature snoot out of aluminum foil or rolled up paper. Don't hold the light steady but move it around a bit to feather the edges of the light.

In any case, it's hard to beat a decent pair of studio lights or several flashes to create the light you need. For what the kit costs that you bought, you could get a number of small to medium size flashes that would give you a lot more usable light. They do have their learning curve as well though and are not a magic bullet... just a more effective one.

Mike
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  #11  
Old 2015-06-03, 7:27am
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Hey thanks for the advice everyone! I took it some of it and my photos have DRASTICALLY improved. One thing that really helped was pushing everything almost together so that I could just slide my camera lens in and take a pic. It really cut down on the light glare on the beads. Oh..... and I bought a rock tumbler, so now many of my beads are matte finished, but you can see in the ones below that are shiny how well the "pushing together" of lights and backdrop worked.


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  #12  
Old 2015-06-03, 7:33am
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I'd also like to add that I did buy this and use it now for my bead photos along with my 2 Doug Baldwin lights. The backdrop thingy is REALLY MUCH BIGGER than I thought it would be and I'm having trouble storing it. There was another one on Amazon, and if I had it to do all over again, I'd get that one instead, which looks much more manageable. We ended up storing it on it's side under a table in the dining room. I'm not totally thrilled with the storage situation, since it was expensive, but it's the best option I have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTrout View Post
Thanks for the advice, Doug. I love making beads but I loathe the photography part. I'm the knucklehead who just bought a replacement piece of white nylon for the front of one of the lights I bought from you.

My thinking has been, that since I already have the 2 lights I bought from you and because they perform so well, why buy a setup with another light? After reading your post, I came up with this, which I think will work perfectly:

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  #13  
Old 2015-06-03, 8:43am
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the last set of photos look slightly out of focus to me? and completely flat
except of the last bead
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  #14  
Old 2015-06-07, 8:12am
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Much improved. Getting the lighting in as close as possible is really key to reducing or eliminating those super bright flares. The white reflections along the sides are considered by most to be desireable because they accentuate the curvature and shape of the object and give it depth. Great job.
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Old 2015-06-07, 12:42pm
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I am learning about the photography from your posts Alexis but I have to say that the beads themselves are stunning.

Very nice work.
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